You original theatre artists. You inspiring makers. You smart, witty subversives. FUCK OFF!! Please crawl back in your hole. You’re making everyone else look bad. Liminal smacks Portlanders upside the head with a wholly unique live experience. Impressive audience turnout of non theatre people. This is why we go. EXCELLENT!
There are compelling dramatic threads and several strong performances here. But the central scaffolding does not always hold up. Perhaps too much direct address to audience, and not enough interaction between the characters. One thing that’s prescient though: One day Powell’s will go under. You heard it here first. Poof.
NIGHT IS A ROOM by Naomi Wallace at Signature Theatre
Directed by Bill Rauch
Stunning piece of modern art. Like a glittering shard of glass. But as soon as you stop to pick up this jagged jewel you’re going to get cut. One of the best plays I’ve seen in a long time. With a dark, unmentioned Irish back story careful viewers will see.
ECLIPSED by Danai Gurira at the Public Theater
Immaculately crafted and accurately rendered. But what is missing is theatre magic – something to take the story into another level of resonance, impact, meaning. The gaze of the offstage men is chilling. After we get the setup, there’s little significant development or change. Inevitably a comparison to RUINED comes up.
Then headed to Broadway.
HIR by Taylor Mac at Playwrights Horizons
Taylor Mac’s disruptive and often gripping play is 3/4 of the way to being something great. But problems of physical pacing, plot and setting hold it back. Laundry lists of acronyms serve as unintentional parody of our own self-obsessed present. Mother’s bright demeanor does not ring true. Still quite an achievement.
A fairly serious miss. Major disappointment. After string of exciting new works, Lesser America picks a 65 minute skit that is not ready or sufficient for prime time. This is definitely not how three guys talk, behave. High flown, awkward poetic monologues and inexplicable context and setting. Not much makes sense.
In most American cities, you can wait and wait for a show to come along that you’re really excited about seeing. Maybe once or twice a year you get lucky. But in America’s theatre capital, you’ve got the opposite problem.
In New York, there are always more good shows on than you have time to see. Being an avid theatregoer on “The Main Stem”, as Erie Smith in Eugene O’Neill’s HUGHIE called Broadway, involves no small amount of white knuckle drama. And that’s before the curtain even rises. The art of play selection is fraught. If you select a dud, not only do you have to absorb the body blow of that experience, you also squander a slot you could have used to see something good. So pick carefully, people.
I’m on a #NYCtheatreBlitz right now. So far every single pick has been dead on. Note that seeing theatre in New York does not have to be expensive. In fact, if you know how to work all the various specials, email lists and that juggernaut of theatre discounts, TDF, you can see theatre here for far LESS than in the hinterlands. Which really makes no sense when you think about it. But so it goes.
Full reviews to come once the dust settles.
Tuesday 11.10.2015 8:00P Soho Rep – FUTURITY $55
Wednesday 11.11.2015 2P Broadway – KING CHARLES III by Mike Bartlett $37
Wednesday 11.11.2015 7:30P Signature Theatre – NIGHT IS A ROOM by Naomi Wallace $31.50
Thursday 11.12.2015 8:00P MCC Theater – LOST GIRLS by John Pollono COMP
Friday 11.13.2015 7:00P LCT3 – KILL FLOOR by Abe Koogler $34
Saturday 11.14.2015 1:30P Roundabout Theatre – UGLY LIES THE BONE by Lindsey Ferrentino COMP
Saturday 11.14.2015 8:00P Lesser America – THE BACHELORS by Caroline V. McGraw $22
Sunday 11.15.2015 2P Public Theater – ECLIPSED by Danai Gurira $97
Sunday 11.15.2015 7:00P Playwrights Horizons – HIR by Taylor Mac $75