RSSArchive for April, 2009

“Apple”: 80% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET I have to admit, but for the contrived coincidences in this play, I thought it was well-written and well-directed by Rachel Goldberg I didn’t particularly care for Evelyn’s excessive crudeness in the early scenes, but for the most part, the dialogue went well and the story brought into focus the importance of early detection […]

“Eurydice”: 50% Bitter

BITTERSWEET Ruhl’s offbeat comedy keeps the play from becoming too syrupy, but it also keeps audiences at an emotional distance from the themes she explores. The stones (played by Leonard Zanders, Luaren Birriel, and Raymond Lee) all serve as a greek chorus strictly for comedic relief but only interact with the characters as echoes of […]

“It is clear, therefore, that the choice of object must emanate from a corresponding vibration in the human soul.” – Wassily Kandinsky

Ever since I heard those words uttered in John Guare’s masterpiece “Six Degrees of Separation” they have haunted my every attempt at writing something new. I was in the original Broadway production of the play at the Lincoln Center many moons ago and that production was my Theatre University. The Best Writing, Best Directing, Best […]

“Doomsday Kiss”: 71% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET Doomsday Kiss at Bootleg Theater The end of the world. Endlessly fascinating, isn’t it? Or rather, pondering possibilities about how and when and if. In Doomsday Kiss, an evening of short plays exploring civilization’s last hurrah, the if and the when (that is, now) are a given. It’s the stuff surrounding how that provides […]

“The Girl, the Grouch, and the Goat”: 100% Sweet

SWEET A musical about a drought feels appropriate as we enter the parched months of summer. Chance Theater’s production of “The Girl, the Grouch and the Goat” tells the story of an ancient Greek town where the lack of rain has turned the inhabitants against each other in a comic war for water. This piece […]

The LA Standard

No, not the poseur palace night spot that resides downtown. I’m talking about the Los Angeles Theatre Standard. Do we have one? How does the theatre community at large look upon us from the outside? That’s right, I’m gonna keep harping on this until I get some satisfaction. So here’s what I’m going to to […]

The Monday Moment

The Monday Moment

The Susan Boyle phenomenon from another perspective. Sometimes what the mind imagines and what the heart yearns for intersect and become reality. This is what happens to us when it does. Enjoy.

Critique of the Week

“I guess our successes are less sexy than our failings.”

Todd Olson Artistic Director of the Tampa Bay Equity House, The American Stage Theatre Company, offers a rebuttal to Mike Daisy’s challenge which was a rebuttal to Todd’s challenge in the American Theatre Magazine. Gasp. I mentioned it in this earlier post. I’m posting Todd’s response in its entirety here. He actually posted in the […]

“The Seafarer”: 50% Bittersweet – UPDATED

SWEET Randall Arney first directed The Seafarer at Steppenwolf in Chicago with some of the cast members seen here, including the brilliant John Mahoney. Arney catches the rhythm, humor and humanity of McPherson’s writing and the eerie terror emanating from Mr. Lockhart. That gentleman is played here by Tom Irwin, who makes him a suave […]

“<3″ : 0% Bitter

BITTER Unfortunately, due to the lack of through-line and character depth, the play ends up as episodes, as though from a teen reality show. Director Jenny Byrd employs creative blocking and gets a good effort from the cast, but even their best can’t compensate for the dearth of substance in the text. The extensive use […]

“Dead, Therefore I Am”: 60% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET Intense and visceral, “Dead, Therefore I Am” views the horrors and sufferings of depression through a Goth perspective. Visually creative and thoughtfully put together, the show surges with emotion. Mary Mallory – Tolucan Times SWEET For those who bounce around giddily thinking that all is OK, this is the perfect play. It will definitely […]

“The Caterer”: 40% Bitter – UPDATED

BITTER The additional information that the play, which deals with themes of untimely death, was written a year after he survived a car wreck that killed his mother, his brother and his best friend excites our sympathy and our interest, right up front. Sincere condolences to Mr. Lane, whose impressively extensive list of credits, from […]

“No Way To Treat A Lady”: 100% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET Eouglas J. Cohen’s musical comedy-thriller “No Way to Treat a Lady” (based on the novel by William Goldman) prefers jokes to jolts, but it’s amusing enough that this is a small complaint. The frequently witty lyrics largely make up for the unfortunately somewhat generic score. The entertaining new L.A. premiere production at the Colony […]

The Playwright’s Dilemma

“It is clear…that the choice of object…must be decided only by a corresponding vibration in the human soul.” Wassily Kandinsky About to start a new project and this quote has been ringing in my ears non-stop. More on this later.

Shakespeare Unmasked

Leave it to one of them Damn Liberal Judges. I thought it was common knowledge that the person who wrote Shakespeare’s works was Joe Fiennes?

“This compartamentalization is the currency of the corporatization that has infected most American theater.”

A tasty arm wrestling match going on between the ever irascible Mike Daisey and Todd Olson the Producing Artistic Director of Tampa Bay’s American Stage Theatre Company. I’m enjoying it as much for the entertainment value as for the fact that Mr. Olson has chosen to lock horns with a supposedly “inspiring” artist of “vision” […]

The Monday Moment

The Monday Moment

Pictures of me at the Florida Film Festival with director Ken Russell. Hey, it’s all I got today. My short film Memphis Calling continues to make the Film Fest rounds. Currently playing at the Nashville Film Festival and soon the San Joaquin International Film Festival.

“Lydia”: 78% Sweet – UPDATED

BITTERSWEET Magical realism meets telenovela in Octavio Solis’ “Lydia,” an anguish-drenched domestic elegy that’s as haunting and lyrical as it is rambling and overwrought. What begins with the delicate sense of ghostly footsteps takes on an increasingly melodramatic tread as the story of family members still reeling from a tragic accident that incapacitated their lovely […]

A Real Dialogue

Check out F. Kathleen Foley’s Review of The Caterer and the comments in response. We need more of this, folks. In person would be even more fun.

Critique of the Week

LUMINOUS BIRCH by Dany Margolies – Backstage A black-and-white film and a black-and-white stage set (notwithstanding a mound of green grass) are connected with a long scarlet ribbon — a bloodline between life and imagination, between cinema and theatre. Writer-performer Randy Sean Schulman certainly creates awe-inspiring metaphor in this “silent” play with music. A shipwreck […]

Critique of the Week – Runner Up

LUMINOUS BIRCH Terry Morgan – Variety As part of the now-defunct group called the Collective, Randy Sean Schulman created “Infinity” and “La Gioconda,” two of the more critically acclaimed shows in recent L.A. theater history. “Infinity” was a dazzling demonstration of style and creativity, while the more specific “La Gioconda” created a live, silent black-and-white […]

Critique of the Week – Runner Runner Up

THE CATERER by F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times In his program note, Brian Alan Lane relates that “The Caterer,” his “dark comedy” now premiering at the Whitefire Theatre, was written some decades ago for his MFA thesis. The additional information that the play, which deals with themes of untimely death, was written a year […]

“Gothmas”: 100% Bittersweet

BITTERSWEET The entire cast, flailing gamely through Joel Rieck’s choreography, is vocally variable yet uniformly determined, with narrators Sandra Purporo and Levi Packer perhaps most energetic at selling musical director George “Drew” DeRieux’s guitar-driven tunes. These range from inchoate to agreeable, but the predominant drawback is Lordygan and Behr’s libretto. Hovering choppily between parody and […]

Dueling Reviews

Go over to the LA Theatre Review site and check out the review of The Letters by Geoff Hoff and the Response Review of the same play by Joel Elkins. An interesting joust of perspectives, if I do say so myself. More of this people!

Avast Ye Landlubbers

I just loved this graph. That’s all. Nothing to do with theatre. I get a pass.

“Stick Fly”: 100% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET Diamond’s play combines complex characters, provocative situations, and literate, funny dialog in this delicious comedy of contemporary manners. Director Shirley Joe Finney reveals a sharp eye for social nuance, and melds her dream cast into a brilliantly seamless ensemble. They are all terrific. Neal Weaver – LA Weekly SWEET Under Finney’s assured direction, there’s […]

“New Works by Murray Mednick”: 100% Sweet

SWEET By contrast, “Clown Show for Bruno” initially plays like pure burlesque. In the play, three mime/clowns, Emilio (Daniel A. Stein), Jacko (Bill Celentano) and Cleo (Kali Quinn, alternating with Dana Wieluns), reenact the true story of Bruno Schulz, a Polish writer and artist killed by the Nazis. In Guy Zimmerman’s perfectly syncopated staging, the […]

“Voice Lessons”: 88% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET For all its petulant ambitions, the evening is wildly entertaining thanks to the irrepressible talents of the cast. It’s hard to see how this play would survive without these actors. With a deep and slightly nasal voice, and deadpan responses that should be copyrighted for the mountain of silent thoughts they reveal, Stewart provides […]

“Luminous Birch”: 25% Bitter – UPDATED

SWEET Luminous is told to open his heart with a key, metaphoric or otherwise. But his heart is opened for him, when he thinks he has lost Tangerine — or did we miss something else among the imagery that includes an oar marked tummler to prod him along? He stops shilly-shallying and reaches back into […]