Human Head Body Like a Goat

In The Flick, Annie Baker rejected virtually every rule of theatrical storytelling to find the drama in the minutiae of everyday life.  Now, those rules are the subject of her new play, The Antipodes, which puts eight writers around a conference table trying to find inspiration for their new project.  They know it will deal with a monster—or something monstrous—and only have one guideline: “No dwarves or elves or trolls.” Continue reading “Human Head Body Like a Goat”

Advertisements

A Jew and an Arab Walk Into Norway…

Clinton, Rabin, and Arafat may have copped the photo-op, but the 1993 Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, or “Oslo I,” was largely due to the work of behind-the-scenes actors.  In a period of only nine months, Terje Rød-Larsen (Jefferson Mays) and his wife, Mona Juul (Jennifer Ehle), took advantage of Norwegian neutrality to broker the first official talks between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization.  Beginning with the nebbish economics professor Yair Hirschfeld (Daniel Oreskes) and PLO Finance Minister Ahmed Qurie (Anthony Azizi), the pair facilitated a seemingly-miraculous agreement between two peoples who viewed the other as latter-day Nazis. Continue reading “A Jew and an Arab Walk Into Norway…”

I’m Always Acting

When Kevin Kline walks onstage, he uses his bathrobe to swat at nothing before histrionically grabbing the bannister of his staircase like a walker.  In fact, he spends much of Present Laughter moving from pose to pose; his fingers, like tentacles, have a life of their own, often revolving in various directions, as if restlessly waiting to saw the air for emphasis.  Indeed, Noël Coward is such a seamless fit for Mr. Kline’s talents that it is a wonder this is the first time he is playing the author on a Broadway stage. Continue reading “I’m Always Acting”

The Show Must Limp On

There’s been a mix-up, and the Cornley Drama Society has landed on Broadway.  Though student interest is usually low—the Society is mostly known for its productions of Two SistersThe Lion and the Wardrobe, and Cat—this time around the number of parts matches the number of actors.  But the optimism behind The Murder at Haversham Manor is misguided; in fact, the staging could very well prove the crowning example of Murphy’s law. Continue reading “The Show Must Limp On”

Ask Not for Whom the Drum Beats

One of Eugene O’Neill’s earliest successes, The Emperor Jones finds its title character ruling an unnamed island in the Caribbean.  Having fled American justice, Brutus Jones (Obi Abili) exploits the superstitions of the local population to squeeze them dry, convincing them he can only be killed by a silver bullet.  When the Cockney trader Henry Smithers (Andy Murray) warns Jones that his reign has come to a premature end, he flees into the forest; at this point, the play turns to expressionism, depicting his failed, phantasmagorical escape. Continue reading “Ask Not for Whom the Drum Beats”