March 22nd, 2017

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.