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Showing posts from 2019

Review: Marionette "A Christmas Carol" Pulls All the Right Strings

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A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, Happy Ramadan Adapted and directed by Vít Hořejš Presented by Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre at Theater for the New City 155 1st Avenue, Manhattan, NYC December 19-January 5, 2020 By the late nineteenth century, Charles Dickens' 1843 novella A Christmas Carol had already been adapted for the stage, and it has remained perennially popular and frequently adapted ever since, most recently for the screen by Steven Knight in a dour reimagining for FX. Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre's version, A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, Happy Ramadan, now playing at Theater for the New City, is something like its opposite, a genial, humorous, inclusive production created by founding company member Vít Hořejš. Hořejš stages this Carol using an array of marionettes, most of which hail from Prague and which include some new puppets, some 200 years old, some discovered on the Upper East Side by Hořejš, and even some…

Review: "ray gun say0nara" Is a Blast

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ray gun say0nara Written by Steven Mark Tenney Directed by Janet Bentley Presented by Nylon Fusion Theatre Company at New Ohio Theatre 154 Christopher Street, Manhattan, NYC December 4-22, 2019ray gun say0nara, Steven Mark Tenney's new "sci-fi play with songs" has evil twins, interstellar portals, immortal beings, and alien princesses, as well as rampant in-universe cosplay, cosmically significant proms, and, yes, ray guns. What we're saying is, ray gun is a lot of fun. But its pulp sci-fi adventure trappings are also a conduit for themes about storytelling, mythologizing, and existential duality. Playing in repertory with The Listening Room (reviewed by us here) at New Ohio Theatre, ray gun say0nara takes audiences on a retro-futurist journey to the stars in which dreams are as important as spacecraft and connection as important as conflict.

In the universe (or Metaverse) of ray gun say0nara, aliens called Nadirians first came to Earth in the 1950s (a boom-time for…

Review: "Everything is Super Great" is, in Fact, Super Great

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Everything is Super Great Written by Stephen Brown Directed by Sarah Norris Presented by New Light Theater Project in association with Stable Cable Lab Co. at 59E59 Theaters 59 E. 59th St., Manhattan, NYC November 22-December 14, 2019 Celebration of the self-reliant individualist remains deeply rooted in American culture, such that a need for mental or emotional support can be regarded as weakness or inadequacy. This dynamic is on clear display in Stephen Brown's Everything is Super Great, a play in which 19 year-old protagonist Tommy (Will Sarratt) denies that he has any "problems," "[j]ust like, anger and depression" and his co-worker Alice (Lisa Jill Anderson) insists, "I'm fine" even as she cannot locate the neurologically deteriorating mother for whom she acts as sole caretaker. Everything is Super Great explores the role of these kinds of isolating self-protective mechanisms in the face of loss as it treats audiences to a finely drawn and co…

It’s Wet, It’s Violent, It’s Queer, and It’s Worth Seeing: "Virgo Star" Takes Us Back to the Wild West

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Virgo Star Written by Daniel Diaz, Annabella Lenzu, Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte,  Agosto Machado, and Philip Treviño Directed by Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte Presented by Pioneers Go East Collective at La MaMa's Downstairs Lounge 66 E 4 St., Manhattan, NYC November 14-December 1, 2019 Queer cowgirls and boys. What could be more exciting than an experimental romp through a Manhattan basement with guns “firing,” men licking other men’s boots, getting blindfolded and made to listen to others’ sexual fantasies, and the cackling of a crazed Spanish-speaking madam resonating over the whole thing? Well, that’s exactly what you will get at Virgo Star, an experimental, interactive performance piece performed by Pioneers Go East Collective and running at La MaMa in the East Village through Dec 1.

From the beginning, the performance frustrates definition and convention. The audience is asked to remain in the lobby until someone comes and ushers us into the basement-level performance space.…

Review: "Unsex Me Here" Offers "Macbeth" via "Mad Max" and Non-Normative Casting

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Unsex Me Here: The Tragedy of Macbeth Written by William Shakespeare Directed by Maggie Cino Presented by Obvious Volcano at The Brick Theater 579 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NYC November 8-23, 2019 William Shakespeare's Macbeth is no stranger to productions that experiment with gender. Fab Marquee Productions' 2015 Macbeth (of the Oppressed) (reviewed by us here), which gave Macbeth a husband and cast several of the other lead characters as women, and Red Bull Theater's 2019 Mac Beth, in which all the roles were played by a small cast of young women, come to mind as recent examples. No doubt the play's strong gender-oriented throughlines invite such reimaginings: from the start, for instance, Lady Macbeth—never identified other than by her title and her husband's last name—leverages constructions of masculinity against her husband and famously wishes to renounce the expectations of her sex. It is from this request, Lady Macbeth's invocation of spirits to repla…

News: Storytelling Master Classes with Story Studio Instructor Cyndi Freeman

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As part of the Gotham Storytelling Festival, FRIGID New York and The Story Studio are presenting two storytelling master classes with Story Studio Instructor Cyndi Freeman. Freeman has over 20 years of experience as a storyteller and 10 years of experience as a storytelling instructor, leading classes in storytelling for business, performance, and personal growth.
An expert teacher of storytelling for business, she has presented storytelling workshops for a range of organizations including Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and nonprofit groups around the world. Past clients include GE, ZenDesk, Janssen: Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, UNICEF – USA, The 9/11 Tribute Museum, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and The New York Public Library.

In addition to her work with The Story Studio, an organization that teaches the art of storytelling with help from some of the most accomplished storytellers across the country, Freeman has won numerous grants, which h…

News: Linda Simpson in Conversation with Alan Cumming, 10/27

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the wild project presents
Linda Simpson in Conversation with Alan Cumming Proceeds from this intimate and frank conversation benefit wild project’s mission and programming
This weekend, wild project will host Linda Simpson in Conversation with Alan Cumming, one of the absolute favorites of this site's editors. The event takes place on Sunday, October 27 at 7:30 PM at the wild project (195 E. 3rd Street, between Avenues A & B). Tickets are $20 - $50 and will benefit the Wild Project’s mission and programming. Advance tickets can be purchased online at http://www.thewildproject.com.
The event promises a "frank and intimate conversation between two of downtown’s iconic performers, Alan Cumming and Linda Simpson. These two legends of New York City nightlife dish on the creativity, grit, and spirit that keeps the East Village a vital creative incubator."
Cumming is a Tony Award winner, has hosted the Tonys and been nominated for an Emmy for doing so; he has a soap called …

News: Site-Specific Post-Apocalyptic "The Catastrophe Club" Runs 10/18-11/22

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What:The Catastrophe Club, a site-specific world-premiere production set 500 years into the future
Where: An undisclosed location in the East Village
When: October 18 – November 22 Sea Dog Theater follows up its award-winning 2018 season with the World Premiere of Devin Burnam’s site-specific play The Catastrophe Club. The recently opened production runs October 18 – November 22 and is directed by longtime Sea Dog collaborator Shaun Bennet Fauntleroy.

The company’s 2018 season received seven New York Innovative Theater Awards (NYIT) Nominations and received the NYIT Award for Outstanding Revival and Outstanding Director for their production of Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, by John Patrick Shanley.

In The Catastrophe Club, "The world as we know it has ended. Public gatherings in the future are illegal because of the risk of diseases (or so they say). 500 years in the future, after the floods have receded, the unforeseen super-viruses that released from the Arctic tundra have claimed t…

News: 1 Night Only: "Blindspot," an Immersive Dance and Multimedia Performance Based on "1984," Oct. 25

BLINDSPOT from Carmen Caceres on Vimeo.

When: Friday October 25 at 7:30 pm
Where: Mark Morris Dance Center, James and Martha Duffy Performance Space (3 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 111217)
Cost: General Admission: $35
Artists/Students (with ID): $30
DanceAction will present BLINDSPOT, an immersive dance and multimedia performance based on George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, at the Mark Morris Dance Center, James and Martha Duffy Performance Space (3 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217) on October 25th, 2019 at 7:30 pm.  It will feature DanceAction’s company dancers, live music, and media arts.

In this work, making its premiere, the slogan of the party, “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength,” is translated into a movement narrative that includes live music and media projections to create an immersive multimedia experience for the audience.

For tickets, visit https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4326365

Website: https://www.carmencaceres.com/news

Facebook Event: https:/…

News: Storytelling Podcast RISK!, Hosted by Kevin Allison, at Caveat, NYC on October 24

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RISK! Live

Where:Caveat (21 A Clinton Street, New York NY) (212) 228-2100
When: Thursday, October 24, 2019  Doors @ 9pm, Show @ 9:30pm
Price: $15
Link for tickets

This may not technically be theater, but as long-time fans of The State, how could we not post about it?

RISK!, the popular weekly true storytelling podcast and award-winning live show hosted by writer and actor Kevin Allison (from MTV’s The State), is coming live to Caveat (21 A Clinton Street, New York NY) on Thursday, October 24 at 9:30pm.

On the show, people from all walks of life tell true stories that they never thought they'd dare to share in public. The podcast just celebrated its 10th Anniversary and has released a retrospective.

This month’s show will feature jaw-dropping stories from Molly Cameron, Michael C. Bryan, Julia Whitehouse, and Anita Flores. 

Tickets are on sale now.



Review: Awaiting the Singularity with "Nothing Human"

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Nothing Human Written by Duncan Pflaster Directed by Aiza Shane Presented by Cross-Eyed Bear Productions at The Chain Theatre 312 W 36th St., 4th floor, Manhattan, NYC October 15-26, 2019 The trope of artificial intelligences turning against humanity upon achieving sentience is long-established (suggesting, perhaps, that the capacity for evil is inseparable from consciousness); and one need look no farther than the advertising for Dark Fate, the sixth (!) film in the Terminator franchise, for its continued prominence. Although Duncan Pflaster's Nothing Human, making its world premiere as one of the New York International Fringe Festival's BYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) productions, features an evolving AI as a character, it subverts the trope of the malevolent AI, relegating it to a movie written by another character about a time-traveling alien computer. Much good science fiction is at its core about the human its core, and Nothing Human might be seen to fit into this tradition…

Review: Hunger & Thirst Theatre Asks You to Trust "Strangers in the Night"

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Strangers in the Night Frank's monologues, written by Philip Estrera;Screwed, written by Patricia Lynn, directed by Caitlin Davies;Bottling Dreams of the Tearful Don't-Knower, written by Emily Kitchens, directed by Paul Kite Presented by Hunger & Thirst Theatre at The West End Theatre 263 W 86th St., Manhattan, NYC October 11-26, 2019 Much as we say that everyone is the hero of their own story, we might say that no one is the stranger. Each stranger, points out Frank (Jordan Kaplan), whose monologues frame and transition between the two short plays that make up Hunger & Thirst Theatre's new production, Strangers in the Night, has their own story. A person's story, though, he specifies, includes both what and who has happened to that person, and it will inevitably include changes wrought by strangers. These and related ideas loosely link Patricia Lynn's fantastic Screwed, inspired by Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, with Emily Kitchens's absurdis…

News: Theater for the New City Holds Its 43rd Annual Halloween Costume Ball October 31

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WHERE AND WHEN:
October 31, 2019 at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue (at E. 10th St.) and the block of E. 10th St. between 1st and 2nd Avenues

Outdoor entertainment 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm; doors open 7:30 pm Outdoors: free; no dress requirement.Indoors: $20; costume or formal wear required.Info/tickets: (212) 254-1109, www.theaterforthenewcity.net From Theater for the New City (TNC): "Nonstop theater, a costume competition, and ballroom dancing will bewitch the East Village October 31 in the Village Halloween Costume Ball, which is presented annually by Theater for the New City. This unique festival continues as a grand coming-together for real witches, everyday New Yorkers, and artists alike. An explosive fall tradition, it is always held on the actual night of Halloween and celebrates artistic creation and fertilization.

The one-night fiesta takes over all four of TNC's theater spaces, plus its lobby and the block of East Tenth Street between First and Second Avenu…

Review: A Gothic-Tinged "Glass Menagerie"

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The Glass Menagerie Written by Tennessee Williams Directed by Austin Pendleton and Peter Bloch Presented by Ruth Stage at the wild project 195 E. 3rd St., Manhattan, NYC October 3-20, 2019 Although Tennessee Williams's heavily autobiographical The Glass Menagerie is set in St. Louis, its concern with memory, the past, and inherited familial dysfunction arguably align with the Southern Gothic tradition. In a new production of Williams's story of a fractured family of Southern transplants, directors Austin Pendleton and Peter Bloch highlight such generic affinities by lending the play a tinge of the Gothic, rendering, for example, the Wingfield family's lodgings in a manner that evokes genteel decay and including the occasional spooky-sounding musical cue. In conjunction with fine performances by the cast, these decisions highlight the various ways that the Wingfield family members are haunted and accord them a tragic stature.
At the head of the impoverished Wingfield clan …

News: Free NYSX Event: Shakespeare and Immigrant Voices in Conversation, October 22

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New York Shakespeare Exchange (NYSX) - internationally known for its The Sonnet Project (in which more than 1,500 volunteer filmmakers from around the world have joined the discussion by creating short films in New York locations based on all 154 Shakespeare sonnets), as well as its mainstage productions and ShakesBEER pub crawls - has announced its next Freestyle Lab, title "To Undreamed Shores: Shakespeare and Immigrant Voices in Conversation," which will take place on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at 7pm at the 53rd Street Library Theater (18 W. 53rd Street, NYC). This event is free, but reservations are requested at www.NYSX.org.

"To Undreamed Shores" features an ensemble of immigrant and first-generation actors presenting excerpts from Shakespeare and contemporary poets, playwrights, essayists, and politicians - all with the focus on themes of immigration. The performance will be followed by a town hall conversation during which will expand on topics like family …

Review: "Round Table" is a Knight at the Theater of the Highest Order

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Round Table Written by Liba Vaynberg Directed by Geordie Broadwater Presented by Fault Line Theatre and Anna & Kitty, Inc. at 59E59 Theaters 59 E 59th St., Manhattan, NYC September 27-October 20, 2019 How do you picture King Arthur, wielder of Excalibur and Knight of the Round Table? If you are Zach (Craig Wesley Divino) of Liba Vaynberg's Round Table, you eschew Disney's blond moppet and T. H. White's post-war reimagining for something involving a little more Middle Welsh and a little less dental hygiene. Centered on Zach, a part-time medieval literature scholar with a PhD from Harvard, Vaynberg's play, artfully directed by Geordie Broadwater and impeccably acted, interlaces multiple levels of fantasy and reality with funny, engrossing, and emotionally honest results.

After an opening monologue by Zach and a scene in which Arthurian knight Tristan (also Divino) dies in the arms of Morgan (Sharina Martin), Zach meets Laura (playwright Vaynberg) for his first exper…