Theater antireviews

The importance of being important

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” So goes an oft-cited Oscar Wilde quote. Except it’s unlikely he said it. At least, he didn’t write it. And if he did, it’s 50/50 that he’d have ...

Love can't exist without goofy jokes

Obviously, my child brain didn’t think in terms of production values

Though I’d never attended a live performance of Barefoot in the Park before this week, in a way, Neil Simon’s 1963 comedy provided my first-ever theatrical experience. I viewed it as a small child, sitting ...

Escape from Plato’s cave

Freedom from the constraints of perception is necessary in the pursuit of knowledge and truth

According to Greek mythology, humankind can credit the knowledge and inspiration behind any artful act of creation to the nine muses. These daughters of Zeus represented tragedy, comedy, epic poetry, music, and other media available ...

Something about vulnerability

No second takes, no do-overs.

When I saw A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, I was reminded me how much I prefer anything live to anything recorded. As in, I might really enjoy a live music ...

Vienna Sausages don't get that kind of love

Putting the SPAM in Spamalot

As the story goes, pork shoulder was a tough sell in 1920s America, so a scion of the Hormel Foods empire devised a way to blend the cheap meat with ham and preservatives, and in ...

If only you had a brain

Queens focuses on the personal and the visceral

I saw Queens on the eve of Independence Day, so I was particularly struck by the fact that not a single positive thing was said about the United States in the entire show. How can ...

I'd like to buy the world a stout

...or send you to Once

Drink a few pints in a Dublin pub, and there’s a better than even chance you’ll be asked to sing. Drink a fourth and you’ll probably comply. As if there weren’t enough of a musical ...

That’s romance

Romances elevated the life of the pauper to that of the king

“That was a weird comedy,” he said, as we left the Old Globe after seeing The Tempest. “Indeed,” I replied, “it’s not usually classified as a comedy anymore, but a romance.” “Romance? The love story ...

Hair gone gray

Half a century ago, the very staging of Hair read like a political act

To paraphrase Abbie Hoffman, don’t trust any play over 30. The yippie author of Steal This Book popularized guerrilla theater more than half a century ago, staging performative countercultural protests to subvert the establishment, such ...

Embarrassed by tragedy

The actors indeed had to soldier on through the titters and giggles of the audience

“The most certain sign of decadence in a nation is the fact that it cannot witness the performance of tragedy but must ever be titillated by comic entertainments.” –St. John G. Ervine, author of John ...

Fight the empathy shortage

A Thousand Splendid Suns and the plight of The Afghan Girl

Afghanistan’s most famous face belongs to a name few have ever heard: Sharbat Gula. Mainly, she’s famous for enduring a very, very difficult life. As a child, she trekked fifty mountainous miles to escape the ...

Bless your little heart

Southern women shine in Steel Magnolias

I went to college in Dallas, which is not really in the South, but is a sort of first cousin. We had our share of Southern Belles on campus, including one of my roommates. One ...

Creation vs. consumption

Rothko believes his paintings are living, pulsing, communicating beings

“I wonder if they will forgive me?” painter Mark Rothko asks towards the end of Red. “They” are his paintings, and what he needs forgiveness for is hanging them in the posh Four Seasons restaurant ...

Sixth-level drama geek

With its back to us, the set conjures a mirror universe.

Stage backdrops exist in the same way Newton’s Laws exist. They establish which direction is up, and remind us two solid objects cannot occupy the same space. However, once we understand the basic framework, they’re ...

The tragedy of Peter Pan

Wendy chose the better part

Peter and the Starcatcher! was inspired by Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, a narrative that has inspired 25 fiction books, 22 plays, 16 movies, 11 television shows, 9 comics, 7 video games, and a radio ...

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