The Fickle Finger of Fate

I don’t envy anyone who follows Giulietta Masina, the moon-eyed clown who played the lead in Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria with such masterful balance of comedy and pathos. Continue reading “The Fickle Finger of Fate”

Commedia Che?

Theatre for a New Audience has on its hands its best production in years with The Servant of Two Masters, a much-welcomed commedia salve for the trauma of November 8.  Carlo Goldoni’s madcap play has Truffaldino (Steven Epp) attempting to surreptitiously earn two salaries, the first from Beatrice (Liz Wisan), disguised as her slain brother Rasponi, the second from Florindo (Orlando Pabotoy), Beatrice’s lover and the murderer of Rasponi.  Needless to say, the action soon becomes pandemonium, and much is made of mistaken identities, misdelivered letters, and matching luggage.  In a moment characteristic of The Servant of Two Masters as a whole, Truffaldino turns to the audience after a series of backstage crashes and says, “You know, there’s a whole bunch of pots and pans back there that everyone keeps tripping over.” Continue reading “Commedia Che?”

Somebody Planted This on Me

The title says it all: The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World aka The Negro Book of the Dead is about the death and burial of a character named only Black Man with Watermelon (Daniel J. Watts).  His wife, Black Woman with Fried Drumstick (Roslyn Ruff), remains haunted by this death and the two parse through their shared history while surrounded by a chorus of other Black stereotypes, ranging from the demeaning Lots of Grease and Lots of Pork (Jamar Williams) to the more empowering Before Columbus (David Ryan Smith). Continue reading “Somebody Planted This on Me”

Brown Bomber, World Title

In taking the reigns and directing this one-hundred-minute production of Master Harold … and the Boys, Athol Fugard reminds audiences why this play is considered his masterpiece. Mr. Fugard paints a picture that is sharp enough to penetrate life far outside the small shop’s rain-splattered windows. Mr. Fugard’s portrait of a white boy and two black men in a South African tearoom has enough depth to latch onto the institutionalized worldviews that persist beneath both that drowsy 1950s afternoon and a cool November evening in New York City. Continue reading “Brown Bomber, World Title”

He Was a Kind of Nothing

Election seasons are common times to stage Coriolanus, Shakespeare’s play about a Roman war hero (Dion Johnstone) who runs for consul despite his contempt for the common people.  Unversed in political matters, Coriolanus is undone by his rivals Brutus (Merritt Janson) and Sicinius (Stephen Spinella) and decides to ally himself with his former enemy, the Volscian commander Tullus Aufidius (Matthew Amendt). Continue reading “He Was a Kind of Nothing”