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Showing posts from September, 2019

Review: "Thoughts & Prayers" Strikes a Note of Hope for Our Troubled Times

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Thoughts & Prayers Created and directed by Lauren Hlubny Dialogue by Alexis Roblan Music by Thomas Giles Presented by Danse Theatre Surreality at TADA! Youth Theater 15 W 28th St., Manhattan, NYC September 19-29, 2019 In our current political landscape, the phrase "thoughts and prayers" has come to serve as sarcastic shorthand for deliberate governmental inaction. While Thoughts & Prayers, the new work of dance-theater from bi-national company Danse Theatre Surreality, depicts the effects of and critiques of this craven maintenance of the status quo, it also offers a more earnest optimism in doing so than the pessimistic associations of its title phrase might suggest. As creator and director Lauren Hlubny puts it in her director's statement, "Thoughts & Prayers is a work that acknowledges the world it is made in, the world it came from, and the world that will be beyond those doors when the show is over. A work that tackles injustice and seeks hope and d…

News: Free World Premiere Staged Reading of New York Shakespeare Exchange's "The Card Play" on September 24

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The New York Shakespeare Exchange has announced the world premiere staged reading of The Card Play, a "new theatrical experiment" by NYSX's Resident Dramaturg Shane Breaux and Resident Playwright Kevin Brewer, in partnership with the 53rd Street Library (18 W. 53rd Street, NYC). The reading will take place on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 from 7-9pm (doors open to audience at 6:30pm). This event is free.

NYSX describes the play:

"The Card Play, co-written by Shane Breaux and Kevin Brewer, explores the power and fallibility of memory by following Mark, a painter, through the twists and turns of his life. At each performance, the order of his memories is randomly arranged by the shuffle of a deck of cards, creating for a unique experience for each and every audience. The randomized style of the performance allows for more than 469 million versions of the play and invites the audience to experience, alongside the actors, a palpable sense of how memories appear and disappea…

Review: The Boys of Summer Have Gone in the Poignant "Decky Does a Bronco"

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Decky Does a Bronco Written by Douglas Maxwell Directed by Ethan Nienaber Presented by Starting Five Productions at The Royal Family Performing Arts Space 145 West 46th St., Manhattan, NYC September 6-21, 2019Decky Does a Bronco plays out on a beautifully designed and lighted minimalist set dominated by an old-school metal swing set standing on a patch of grass and surrounded by chalk art on the walls depicting its environs. This multi-award-winning play from Scottish playwright Douglas Maxwell is making its U.S. debut The Royal Family Performing Arts Space, and the swing set, perched on a small hill in a council estate in Scotland, acts as the center of the world for the five young boys whom the play follows over one pivotal summer. Magnificently acted, Decky Does a Bronco both feelingly captures the insular intensity typical of groups of children bonded by roving unsupervised through long summer days and poignantly reflects on its end.

Our narrator for Maxwell's meditation on fr…

Review: "Maker of Worlds" Challenges Us to Remake the World

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Maker of Worlds Written by Wendy A. Schmidt Directed by Jeri Frederickson Presented by Theater for the New City at the Cabaret Theater 155 First Avenue, Manhattan, NYC September 2-7, 2019 "Be the weapon; be the love" sings Sleater-Kinney on "Bad Dance," a track on the band's new album that contemplates how to react to the sense these days that the world is ending. That phrase could also act as a distillation of Chicago-based playwright Wendy A. Schmidt's Maker of Worlds, currently playing as a part of Theater for the New City's Dream Up Festival. Schmidt has explained that the mission of this absurdist, one-woman play is to "to change the narrative about women, class, and cultural differences by reclaiming religious language for the good" and "to help audiences see their own myths in a new way that better reflects their experiences." With its mix of living, deceased, and divine characters, Maker of Worlds reappropriates and reimagine…

Review: "Sincerity Forever" is Sharp and (Still) Timely Satire

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Sincerity Forever Written by Mac Wellman Directed by Dina Vovsi Presented by The Flea Theater 20 Thomas St., Manhattan, NYC August 24-October 7, 2019 [extended through October 13, 2019] The scene is of a familiar sort: two young people with crushes on one another sit together in a parked vehicle and discuss why God allows terrible things to happen and whether there is a divine purpose for everything. Less expectedly, they are wearing the robes and hoods of the Ku Klux Klan. Almost all of the young people who populate the town of Hillsbottom in Mac Wellman's satiric Sincerity Forever are so appareled, a visual signifier that forces to the surface what American society prefers to keep sublimated and unacknowledged. Sincerity Forever, along with the outstanding Bad Penny (reviewed by us here), makes up part of the Flea Theater's Mac Wellman: Perfect Catastrophes, A Festival of Plays, which celebrates the work of Wellman, award-winning playwright, novelist, professor, and co-found…