Qualification of Douglas Evans

First You Take a Drink…

Derek Ahonen writes terrific first acts.  His newest work, The Qualification of Douglas Evans, follows its eponymous protagonist (Mr. Ahonen) for thirty years, from the child of an alcoholic father to the bright-eyed acting student fresh off the bus to New York City and finally to the bitter alcoholic himself, destroying relationships with a series of women while…

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The Long Shrift

The Word “Rape” Dropped About Carelessly

Richard (Scott Haze) is yanked out of high school and sent to a violent prison when he’s accused of rape by a rich, pretty, popular classmate. Five years into his nine-year sentence, Richard is released after the girl recants. He returns home to attend a high school reunion, drawn by an invitation from a woman…

Enter at Forest Lawn

The Island of Misfit Sociopaths

“My love to Tovah,” producer Jack Story (Mark Roberts) barks into the phone at the end of the conversation that opens Enter at Forest Lawn.  The “conversation” is more of a monologue, an extended tirade into a hands-free telephone about Jack’s “hateful cunt” of a wife, a “maniacal bush-pig” who has left his asshole “drippin’ black blood.”…

Arrivals & Departures

Private Fears in Private Places

Towards the end of Arrivals & Departures, Alan Ayckbourn’s seventy-seventh play (the author is seventy-five), the military handler Ez (Elizabeth Boag) tells Barry (Kim Wall), the man she is handling, that they have nothing in common.  “We’ll never know now, will we?” Barry asks, a line that epitomizes Mr. Ayckbourn’s central concern.  In the main action of Arrivals…

Holler If Ya Hear Me

California Love on Broadway

In recent years, jukebox musicals have been some of Broadway’s most durable and successful productions. Mamma Mia! repurposed ABBA’s Swedish pop and Jersey Boys has been running for nine years on the strength of 60s rock ’n’ roll nostalgia. However, there hasn’t been a great hip hop musical yet—how could there be? With hip hop’s vulgarity and counter-cultural…

Shakespeare in the Park

Everything You Need to Know About Shakespeare in the Park 2014

“Like one swallow,” wrote John Simon when reviewing the premiere of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, “one Shakespeare does not make a summer.”  Fortunately, for the first time since 2011, Shakespeare in the Park is eschewing musicals for two revivals from the Bard.  This year, they are presenting Much Ado About Nothing (June 3 – July 6) and King Lear (July 22 –…

The Killer

It’s Just Decor

Berenger (Michael Shannon), the everyman who stars in Eugène Ionesco’s later plays Rhinoceros, Exit the King, and A Stroll in the Air, made his first and perhaps most devastating appearance in The Killer, one of the purest expressions of the Theatre of the Absurd.  In the first act (during which the set is almost always bare, the white scratches on…