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January

Yen
http://www.mcctheater.org/shows/16-17_season/yen/index.html
3+
The plus is for superb acting. First, there was a 20-year-old Lucas Hedges, who made his theater debut right after being nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor in “Manchester by the Sea”. He was ok. And then there was a 21-year-old Mr. Smith (of “The Get Down” on Netflix), who gave a firecracker of a performance as Mr. Hedges younger, 14-year-old brother, Bobbie. Two female actresses were quite efficient as well. The play by Anna Jordan, however, was so didactic, predictable and obvious, that even a great director Tripp Cullman could not do much with that. The dialog was trite and the play could do much better without its constant blabbering: it was a pure joy to watch the physical aspect of it though: Bobbie mimicking domestic rituals of maniacal grooming and tidying not using any props. Or his tender clumsiness as he climbs into his mom’s lap, like an overgrown dog that thinks it’s still a puppy, or his defiant cuddling-up to the contact-averse Hench.
But then you can't see it anyway, so it's not important.

Evening at the talk House
http://www.thenewgroup.org/evening-at-the-talk-house.html
4+
Reviews for this dystopia that creeps out of a quiet and comfortable play just as you are about to snooze, were mixed, bordering on bad. I suppose, people still consider theatergoing as mild entertainment as opposed to a source of profound material. I liked that uneven play that left me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. As it planned to do. The bomb that Wallace Shawn drops on unsuspecting audience is evil, macabre and funny. He creates 1930s Bulgakovian intellectual Moscow gathering in a near NYC future. Everyone in this story is aware that horrible, violent things are happening outside the upholstered confines of the Talk House, but a mild rhetorical opposition is all they seem willing to muster. We may judge them for their lack of courage, but considering American foreign policy since the turn of the century as well as our current internal affairs, Evening at the Talk House isn't really a disturbing look at our possible near future, but our very real present.
But then you can't see it anyway, so it's not important.

If I forget
http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/Shows-Events/If-I-Forget.aspx
5-
Look, ma, I can write about shit that's still going on!
off-Broadway of the year. Go see it. Steven Levenson's new drama about the personal politics of family, heritage, and history may serve a tad more melodrama than I've ordered, but directing is smooth and effortless, and traducers that are calling the characters neurotic, bitchy and cruel have never met a typical Jewish family to appreciate a true-to-life performances from an extraordinary cast.

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Voloshin's 2016 Laurels

I know you can't start on that champagne without reading Voloshin's 2016 Laurels.
Do not despair, here they come:
Best Director - Heiner Goebbels for De Materie at Armory: http://uniqum.livejournal.com/292621.html
Best Actor - Frank Langella in the Father: http://uniqum.livejournal.com/292937.html
Best Actress - Marin Ireland in Ironbound: http://uniqum.livejournal.com/292447.html
Best Broadway play a tie between The Encounter http://uniqum.livejournal.com/294298.html and the Crucible http://uniqum.livejournal.com/293960.html
Best Off Broadway Bedlam's Sense and Sensibility: http://uniqum.livejournal.com/294298.html
With a node to the Wolves: http://uniqum.livejournal.com/294770.html
Off Off Broadway 1599 at Irondale: http://uniqum.livejournal.com/293218.html
Musical performance - human requiem at St.John The Divine. https://www.facebook.com/tatyana.voloshin1/posts/10154395888149733?pnref=story
Nothing in Ballet category. Nothing at all. Unbelievably so.
Overall it's been another good year at Armory, another horrible year at BAM, another empty year at Lincoln Center, and a decent year for both Broadway and off-Broadway.
I am hopeful for stronger cross-genres, for more urgent themes, for fresher approach, for constructive dialogs and young talents. Both in theater and life.
And that was my first toast. Happy New Year!

the remains of '16

This day forward
http://www.vineyardtheatre.org/this-day-forward
Stiff and one-dimensional brooding play that can be summarized by "Mom never loved Dad, and 46 years later, everyone’s sad". Dig it? No, you shouldn't have. Too bad for Nicky Silver fans: the script is flat and unresolved, acting disconnected, the whole affair unnecessary.

Master Harold and the boys
https://www.signaturetheatre.org/shows-and-events/Productions/2016-2017/Master-Harold.aspx
No matter how important apartheid theme is, the play does little except providing more cliches on the subject. Whiny, annoying kid complains for most of the show and then goes all white and privileged. Since race plays heavily into the "story" (was there a story?), I assume the playwright expected the audience to learn some kind of lesson from this. What that lesson is, I have no idea. There are far better and more engaging works of theatre with similar themes. This one never takes off.

A life.
https://www.playwrightshorizons.org/shows/plays/a-life/
An attempt of theatrical existentialism. A failed one. Watching it isn’t particularly rewarding. While it's inventive and Ann Kauffman as always works wonders with a tiny set, its overriding philosophy might be summed up by that slacker-era cliché: Life’s a bitch, and you know the rest.

The Wolves
https://dukeon42.org/Shows/2017/Wolves
This was good. In fact, this was very good. Too bad, it ended 2 days ago, and I'm as slow as ever with the review. But since it was so good, I'm sure it'll be made into a Broadway play in a couple of months. I hope they will bring the same actresses as it is some of the most exciting and affecting ensemble work on a New York stage. DeLappe's ear for dialogs is amazing, every character's line is pitch perfect, fresh and sincere. The ending could be less dramatic, and more realistic, but it's a small thing, as the play is absorbing, funny, coming of age and mature at the same time.

The Winter's Tale.
http://www.bam.org/theater/2016/the-winters-tale
Goodbye, Declan Donnelan, you old fart. I loved you so, but we are done. You've been getting progressively dull over the past 3 years, and this latest endeavor is the dullest yet. I had to escape in the intermission not to cringe at the same 90-s Shakespeare staging tropes: suits for men, cubes for stage, video projections, etc Grrrrh.

Musicians from Marlboro
http://www.carnegiehall.org/m/event.aspx?view=full&id=4295020502
One of major revelations of this year concerns a role of classical music in my life. It is being evaluated. The first thing that goes out is in-doors recitals. So outdated, so unimaginative and uninspired. In the company of snoring centennials and pimply Chinese students. No mas.

part II - October

Circle Map at Armory
http://www.armoryonpark.org/programs_even…/detail/circle_map
“To journey into Saariaho’s music is to be confronted with the darkest and most dazzling dimensions of your subconscious,” - tells us The Guardian. I'd rather appreciate is at least 10 minutes out of those 2 hours were devoted to my conscious. The work may be soulful but it's completely thoughtless, and brilliant rendition by New York Philharmonic notwithstanding under Esa-Pekka Salonen exposed that rather then concealed. But then thoughtlessness is quite difficult to be concealed. The projected pseudo-sagacious images of Saariaho's husband worsened the matter even further. Overall, it felt like I was drowning in a bland 70-s experimental nightmare.

Vortex Temporum at BAM http://www.bam.org/dance/2016/vortex-temporum…
I remember Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker's almost 4 hour long Cesena and En atendant by the scene. Snippets of those medieval melodies, rays of that lightning, footwork and deliciously gnarly bodies of those dancers. That was three years ago - http://uniqum.livejournal.com/2013/12/15/
Last year Partita was quiet and intimate, if not revelatory - http://uniqum.livejournal.com/290270.html
I've seen Vortex less then a month ago. I remember it a bit boring and repetitive but adequate. Its music, it's dance and dancers, it's idea and emotion - I completely forgot them. Falling out of love with a choreographer is sad.

Ajax and Squash by the Flea theater.
Utterly douchealarious bullshit.

human requiem at St.John The Divine.
That was dutifully and timely reported already: https://www.facebook.com/tatyana.voloshin1/posts/10154395888149733?pnref=story

Leonidas Kavakos plays Bach and conducts Schumann at LC
Possibly due to the profound effect of the human requiem a night before, Kavokos fell flat on my ears. The weird synchronicity with orchestra and overall timing of Bach's violin concerto in D minor was rather disheartening, and the his conducting debut... Kayakos led orchestra without having a score, and I suspect he thought he was conducing Beethoven. And again, what was that tempo?

American Classical Orchestra "Vivaldi and others" at LC
The most memorable concert of the year. Impossible to forget those out of tune violins, those off-pitched musicians, those weak and downright wrong renditions of the simplest works.

JACK quartet at Armory http://www.armoryonpark.org/…/…/recital_series_jack_quartet/
Same as the Circle Map above: great performers are involved into a turgid staging of quotes and images about space exploration with John Reynald's score.

August/September

Chronologically, rather then systematically. For future references rather then recommendations.

August
Bedlam's Sense and Sensibility. http://bedlam.org/whats-on/sense-sensibility/
The first Bedlam's show I actually enjoyed. It's a deliciously inventive whirlwind of great staging, mischievous ready-for-anything actors and overall the most joyful ride of the year. Still on, hop on it while you can.

September
Phaedra(s) w/Isabelle Huppert. http://www.bam.org/theater/2016/phaedras
Hysterical overhyped overplayed and underthought most annoying play of the year.

An Occupation of Loss. Taryn Simon. http://www.armoryonpark.org/programs_events/detail/taryn_simon
Terrific sculptures at Armory with an interesting concept of real-life mourners from all over the world (read, the third world) but too short and too unfinished. Good raw material that needs development, work in progress rather.

The Encounter. http://theencounterbroadway.com
Broadway of the year. It's an ideal podcast rather then a full-on play but oh-so-much-better then anything you can see on today's Broadway. Simon McBurney has always been my hero, he doesn't produce plays as often as I like but maybe because of that each one is a revelation.

Love, Love, Love http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/Shows-Events/Love-Love-Love.aspx
Meaningless rant on the 60-s generation. It's spot on and really about my parents but soon boring and acted out in bad decorations so so badly.

Small Mouth Sounds http://smallmouthsounds.com
Cute and unnecessary play. Decent actors but the text and staging could use improvements. A lot of improvements.

Songs of Lear http://www.bam.org/theater/2016/songs-of-lear
Teatr Piesn Kozła is my favorite underdog now. This is essence of Lear, pure and simple and ecstatic.

tbc
The Сrucible.
http://www.thecrucibleonbroadway.com/?gclid=CMHg2L7gy80CFckehgodWyAACA
Прекрасная жесткая постановка, пронизанная массой референций, своевременная, неудобная и пронзительная. Под конец несколько пережата, но это претензии скорее к Миллеру, нежели к Ван Хове. Замечательный дизайн всего: сцены, света и видео. Чудесная игра любимых Ван Ховенских монстров, Тины Бенко и Билла Кэмпа. Девочки же и вовсе необыкновенные, особенно Сирша Ронан и Тави Гевинсон. Последняя стремительно становится серьезной актрисой.
Все молодцы, хорошо подготовились, спешите видеть, осталось 3 недели.

Театр наций "Истории Шукшина"
http://www.nycitycenter.org/tickets/productionNew.aspx?performanceNumber=9569#.V3L5tFf3odh
Это было очень убого. Миронов - гений невозможный, но спасти эту лживую развесистую клюкву он был не в состоянии. Наивная истеричность Чулпан Хаматовой никогда мне не была симпатична, и тут раздражала неимоверно.
Двухмерная кичевая постановка более всего походила на детскую картонную книжку "Где обедал воробей". Все эти родные и любимые Шукшиным люди превратились в обитателей небольшого затхлого зверинца, убогих и озлобленных. Чувствовалось влияние фильма "Небесные жёны луговых мари", но тот был сказочным, а спектакль вышел обыкновенным чернушным злопыхательством. Неудивительно, что набитый местным цветом русофобии зал был в восторге.

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http://www.bam.org/theater/2016/the-judas-kiss
Начнем с отвратительно написанной, сплошь из ходульных сентенций, подмахивающих Оскару Уайльду как подтявкивающая слону Моська, пьесы Дэвида Хера (так). Если вам понравился текст - мои соболезнования. Попробуйте почитать Задорнова - это будет уже следующим уровнем.
Постановка Нила Армфилда под стать унылому дидактизму м-ра Хера: надутый Уайльд свадебным генералом сидит то на одном стуле, то на другом. Много и жадно ест. Остальные стоят вокруг и торжественно бубнят никчемное. Для оживления этого убогого пейзажа время от времени показывают пиписьки: поочередно мужские и женские. Я сидела в первом ряду, потому с анатомической точки зрения было занимательно как когда-то в детском саду. Сидящим дальше третьего ряда - мои соболезнования: пиписьки были некрупные.
Актерская игра была из рук вон без единого исключения. Если вы не испытали чувства неловкости при виде явно талантливых актеров, которые были не в состоянии спасти идиотскую пьесу о том, что друг познается в биде - мои соболезнования, попробуйте Максима Галкина для уточнения тезиса о единстве формы и содержания.

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не сортируя

Читатели газет сообщают, что второй, почитай, месяц каждое утро не успев надеть трусы, отжаться и опохмелиться, хватают негнущимися пальцами первый попавшийся девайс, и несколько раз недоуменно обновляют страницу. Но нет! Нет на ней очередной театральной рецензии. Который день нет.
А теперь есть. Ну и что, что все кончилось. Во-первых, не все, а в-третьих так быстрее. Во-вторых, все это в сущности неважно. Еще читатели эти (какие ребята? кто их видел?) интересуются, отчего это то по-русски, то наоборот. Отвечаем: потому что все напрасно.

Ideation at 59E.59
Очень неровный и опасный театр, больше провалов, чем успехов, но тут повезло. Хорошая (хоть и неотредактированная как следует) пьеса Аарона Лоеба, чуть статичная, но приемлемая режиссура Джоша Костелло, приличные неизвестные актеры. Про абсурд корпоративного ареала, ежеминутную возможность провала в полицейское государство и общую гадость человеков - все, как мы любим.

Emerson String Quartet at LC
Поздний Гайдн и ранний Бетховен в одном флаконе. Квартеты написаны в одно время, но между ними - пропасть. Публика привычно билась в экстазе по поводу Бетховенских разливов, но Гайдн был прозрачен, свеж и чист; классицизм, все же, является для нас важнейшим из искусств, все остальное - наносное.
Emersons чуть-чуть сдали по сравнению с прошлым годом, ветераны все ж, но не стареют этим вот, за что им это вот.

Stupid Fucking Bird at the Pearl
Stupid fucking play at the stupid fucking theater. One of the most annoying plays I've ever attended: self-congratulating, pseudo-reflecting, gimmicky and plain rude. I've made an exception for Pearl this year for no good reason. No mas.

Musicians from Marlboro at Carnegie Hall
Always amazing synergy combined with formidable technique, never let me down for the past 10 years. Again, a perfect Haydn quartet + an interesting piece by Kaija Saariaho (watch for her work this October at Armory) + prettiest piano trio by Schumann. Sometimes life's too kind to me.

tbc

1599

http://irondale.org/onstage/current-season/1599-project/
I've a list of the good, the bad and the ugly shows I have to write about first but for this one I'll make an exception since they are closing in a couple of weeks and if you are in NYC, you have to go see it.
It's probably the most heroic theatrical endeavor I've ever witnessed. They stage all four 1599 WS plays: Henry V, Julius Caesar, As you like it and Hamlet, in one sprawling yet intimate, immersive production, where 4 hours seem shorter then an hour at a Broadway Shakespeare play.
6 actors. Amazing space. 20-24 viewers. It's imaginative, unabashed, fresh, bordering of naive, energetic and very touching. When Ophelia was listing her flowers, the girl in the audience cried together with her. When mob was killing the wrong Cinna, it was actually brutal, and when Henry was kissing Katherine (both played by girls) it was both politically and erotically skillful.
You can bring a picnic style dinner with you or buy their very tasty veggie dinner. The only faux pas was cheap wine, no wonder Gertrude is no longer with us. But then you can always stick to beer.

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The Father

The Father
http://thefatherbroadway.com
Frank Langella take Dylan Thomas' plea to heart and, boy, does he rage against the dying of the light!
Mr. Langella gives an amazing performance as Andre, an older gentleman gripped by Alzheimer's who is in turn difficult, cheerful, charming, and always sadly confused. Most definitely a performance of the year. Doug Hughes' direction is superb as it disorients the viewer as well as play's main subject in a perfect union of form and content. I'm not sure whether it's the writer Florian Zeller or a director's decision to start the play with a comfortably furnished set and gradually rid it of all the pieces, as well as disrobe play's elegant protagonist, shredding his world and tearing his dignity to pieces. The structure is tight and effective, but it’s not just cerebral. The play is empathetic. If you had it in your family (who didn't?), it would be a difficult watch.
I would prefer a different supporting cast but other then that, the play was contrary to its theme - quite unforgettable.

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