Author Archive

A New American Buffalo

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

American Buffalo By David Mamet American Buffalo, David Mamet’s first two-act play, received mostly lukewarm reviews when it appeared in 1975. Within a decade–after several high-profile productions and a film starring Dustin Hoffman–it helped establish his international reputation. This play and Glengarry Glen Ross (written in 1983) were the works that ultimately changed many people’s [&hellip
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True West Returns

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

True West By Sam Shepard What we expect of Sam Shepard, erstwhile bad boy rock ’n’ roll wordsmith, has changed in fascinating ways since his first play, Cowboys, was produced by Theatre Genesis in 1963. For many years he was an exclusively downtown phenomenon, with a genius for plays that didn’t recall any his fans [&hellip
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Nicky Silver’s New One’s No Good; Reverend Billy’s Is

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

The Altruists By Nicky Silver Nicky Silver, who became an Off-Broadway sensation in the mid-1990s with such stylishly perverse plays as The Food Chain, Pterodactyls and Raised in Captivity, is turning out to be the textbook case of arrested adolescence in American playwriting. Two years ago, I was inclined to overlook the clumsy contrivances in [&hellip
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Letters from Cuba

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Letters From Cuba By Maria Irene Fornes Maria Irene Fornes’ Letters from Cuba is an unprepossessing jewel. Directed by the author, this quietly beautiful, last production of the Signature Theater’s all-Fornes season comes as something of a relief, since the rest of the season has been, to varying degrees, a letdown. Mud, one of this [&hellip
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Poor Early Sondheim; Dull Arthur Laurents

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Saturday Night By Stephen Sondheim and Julius J. Epstein When future historians look back in search of pithy snapshots of the particular self-satisfaction, obliviousness and amnesia of this bloated moment in time, they could do worse than choose the past week of openings in the New York theater. These included: an innocuous, 48-year-old Arthur Laurents [&hellip
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Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

The Alchemist By Ben Jonson For theater directors, Ben Jonson is the toughest nut to crack in the English Renaissance. Of all the major dramatists, he poses the severest tests of imagination and reimagination–particularly in America, where Volpone is the only one of his great satiric comedies to be performed with any frequency (probably because [&hellip
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Richard Foreman Meets Nietzsche

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Bad Boy Nietzsche! By Richard Foreman Consider the case of a remarkable man: awkwardly shy, a bit saturnine, with a glum mustache and a pronounced philosophical bent–whose inner life is so fertile, so turbulent with rich activity, that the routine continuum of ordinary life often depresses him, sending him retreating into himself. A polite, even [&hellip
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A Good King John; Two Solo Shows

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

King John by William Shakespeare Although it is rarely produced and deals with Shakespeare’s earliest historical material (the ruler of England from 1199-1216), King John is, in a crude sense, the Shakespeare history play most directly applicable to the modern world. A story about the conflict between honor and what Shakespeare calls “Commodity” (Machiavellian self-interest) [&hellip
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Sexual Perversity in Chicago; The Duck Variations

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Sexual Perversity In Chicago & The Duck Variations By David Mamet Now, many people who know his 1974 play Sexual Perversity in Chicago–the work that first earned him wide attention, and the second production (along with The Duck Variations) of the Atlantic Theater Co.’s all-Mamet season–might well hear such a story and say, "It figures." [&hellip
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