Night Is a Room

The Facts

Contemporary American drama is a brittle affair, stuck in the shadow of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? for over fifty years now.  The number of works that begin with a stable upper-middle-class families and end in drunken dinners and secrets revealed, with witty and high-brow one-liners peppered throughout, has reached an agonizing level of self-parody.  These…

Sylvia

She Excels Each Mortal Thing

For those of us who have made that greatest of life decisions—that is, for those of us who have a dog—A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia will prove amiably familiar: there are the invariably tangled leashes, the boundless and unconditional affection, and, of course, the projections of humanity onto an animal that usually cannot speak.  In upper-class Manhattan, the eponymous puppy…

Incident at Vichy

The Way to the Future

During the mid-sixties, the Holocaust was very much on American minds. This wasn’t always the case. At the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, Germany (or West Germany) flipped from foe to friend faster than you could say Zyklon B. American Jews, hesitant to criticize this now-ally and be…

King Charles III

The Conscience of the King

This year, Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning monarch in British history, but on Broadway, her eldest son has already taken the crown in Mike Bartlett’s “future history play” King Charles III.  “I am better thoughtful prince than king,” Charles (Tim Pigott-Smith) soliloquizes after telling Camilla (Margot Leicester), “The love, with us, it’s all my life, but never…

Cloud Nine

Nothing Says You Have to Like Yourself

The first act of Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine takes place in 1879, as colonial administrator Clive (Clarke Thorell) attempts to control a mild uprising by the indigenous population.  His wife Betty (Chris Perfetti) struggles with her attraction to the explorer Harry Bagley (John Sanders), who is himself harboring conflicted feelings about his homosexuality, though this does not prevent…

Fool for Love

None of the Horses Are Loose

You didn’t have to see Sam Shepard’s last play, A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations), to know his theatrical roots stretch back to the Greeks.  Fool for Love, which first opened in 1983, unfolds as two half-siblings, Eddie (Sam Rockwell) and May (Nina Arianda), spend seventy-five minutes in a motel trying to break an attraction that has plagued them…

Old Times

I Wondered What Robert Newton Would Think of This

Clive Owen drapes both hands over the arms of his chair. With a taut stillness that could be mistaken for calm, he looks exactly like a lion in the moments before it will pounce. One gets the feeling he could rape or murder without mussing up his suit or disheveling his thickly gelled hair. His movements…