HIR by Taylor Mac at Playwrights Horizons

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.

Thru Dec. 20

Here here for Taylor Mac’s HIR at Playwrights Horizons

Taylor Mac is having a mainstream moment. The New York artist’s new play HIR opened last night at Playwrights Horizons to an industrial strength NYT rave. I’m seeing the show Sunday.  Glad I got tickets a while back before the sell out whoosh kicked in.

When you’re done with the NYT piece, roll over to this New Yorker review by Hilton Als.

The morning after a NYT rave.  SOLD OUT!
The morning after a NYT rave. SOLD OUT!

The show before (and after) the show is also excellent | Playwrights Horizons is a digital superstar

If you’ve been to a show at New York’s legendary new play super highway Playwrights Horizons, then you probably know just how important this place is to the American theatre.

Over and over and over again (and then again just because they can), PH delivers the goods that global theatregoers hunger after. Like right now – you’d be insane to miss the NYC premiere of the latest anti-complacency grenade from Brooklynite Bruce Norris, #TheQualms.

How do the folks at PH do it? Well, we’d tell you – but then we’d have to kill you. And killing people is wrong. PLUS – trade secrets like that are closely guarded. Suffice it to say, they just do it. And you better get down to PH ASAP if it’s been a while. Because you may have forgotten how good a night in the theatre can be. It is life itself.

But just as important as the quality of what you’ll see on stage at PH is the beauty, finesse, and yes drama of their digital presence – the show before the show. And after. When it comes to digital engagement with the audience, the quality of which is what determines whether an actual physical audience will show up to the show, the lil’ old theatre that could down on W. 42nd is an extraordinary, visionary leader. Which is just what you’d expect based on the shows they put on.

Prepare for the extraordinary - both on stage and in the digital realms.  A touch of the artist is everywhere at Playwrights Horizons.
Prepare for the extraordinary – both on stage and in the digital realms. A touch of the artist is everywhere at Playwrights Horizons.

Continue reading “The show before (and after) the show is also excellent | Playwrights Horizons is a digital superstar”

In the kitchen with all necessary ingredients – except drama | GRAND CONCOURSE by Heidi Schreck at Playwrights Horizons

In a straight ahead urban New York setting, most of the ingredients for a story are there in a worn and weary Bronx soup kitchen. Yet it’s never clear why we are being told this specific tale, and the events portrayed do not rise to a sufficient level of consequence.

Thru Nov 30

In the absence of compelling narrative, a scattering of small, starry moments | FLY BY NIGHT by Will Connolly, Michael Mitnick and Kim Rosenstock at Playwrights Horizons

A serious miss, despite several good songs. Huge amount of polish applied to paper-thin concept, but nothing below the surface. Dozens of random 2 minute long twee mini moments, with winks. Narrative twists, turns and back flips – that serve no purpose and do not emerge from material. Industrial strength cuteness.

Thru June 29

6.5.2014 NYT Profile

The actor turned playwright is most certainly NOT retiring | Bruce Norris interview from 2010 at Playwrights Horizons

Good interviews, like plays, don’t have an expiration date.

Here’s an interesting discussion between Tim Sanford from Playwrights Horizons and Bruce Norris, back around 2010 when PH was preparing the world premiere of CLYBOURNE PARK.

Little could they have known the impact that play would have on Norris’s career.

Isherwood fires back in “Baker-gate” flap

The theatre world doesn’t necessarily get to have its fair share of intergalactic shit storms. So we have to work with what’s available. The Playwrights Horizons drama around Annie Baker’s new play is providing some good entertainment though.

Honestly, how this gentle and probing play, which admittedly is not perfect (come ON, Annie, would you make it PERFECT next time!), somehow raises the ire of the same New York theatregoers who routinely let scores of horrendous specimens off the hook each season, when they should be out on the street in protest burning tires (BENGAL TIGER anyone? MoFo WITH A HAT???), is a mystery.

Charles Isherwood had to jump in.

They're watching us watching them watching...  Relax it's only three hours.
They’re watching us watching them watching us… Relax, it only goes on for three hours.

Playwrights Horizons sends email to subscribers explaining decision to produce THE FLICK by Annie Baker

Annie Baker has a new play at Playwrights Horizons in New York.

While the critical response has been good (50 words from pts), apparently the show is not for everyone. Audience members have been walking out and threatening to cancel their subscriptions.

The problem?

Nothing happens.

For three hours.

Of course, that’s not true. A lot happens.

And in drama even if something fails to happen – well, that is something happening.

But enough people have voiced their displeasure that AD Tim Sanford, in a highly unusual step, has sent an email to PH subscribers explaining why he chose to produce the play.

See the NYT story.

If there is any contemporary play that will rankle the “blue hair divide” (formerly known more politically as the generation gap), this one is it. Ironically, at issue is not sex or violence or other offensive material – but rather the absence of action. And. The. Long. Silences.

I would suspect this style does not work well for many older theatre goers.

The sign of a good play?  The audience revolts.
The sign of a good play? The audience revolts.