The phrase “horror comedy” has become anathema to me. It almost always constitutes the cynical rehashing of genre tropes for the purpose of attracting fans—besides, any horror movie worth its salt knows that there is no horror without comedy, and these products are rarely crafted with any love for genre clichés; it is the same kind of appropriation of nerd culture that has become ubiquitous on television, in fashion, and at the movies. Continue reading “The Forces That Go Bump in the Night”
In Soul Doctor, the word heart is used with as much reckless frequency as is the word cunt in any work by Henry Miller. There are hearts for love and hearts for hate. Two hearts beat as one. And the rhythm of music does not come from the percussion but from (you guessed it) the heart. Shlomo Carlebach (Eric Anderson) must be the happiest Jew in the history of the race. His journey from yeshiva bochur in Nazi Germany to rock star rabbi in sexually liberated San Francisco has supplied him with the mantras “We don’t get high on drugs, we get high on Shabbos!” and “May every tear of sorrow turn into a tear of joy.” This latter thought is in direct contradiction to his childhood teacher (Ron Orbach) who, in the musical’s only truthful moment, tells him, “Being a Jew is about pain and suffering. Joy is for the Gentiles.” Perhaps he should have listened—normally his brand of asinine self-help is cute if painfully naïve. But in the shadow of Dachau it is downright offensive. Continue reading “I’d Rather Dance the Hora in Sodom and Gomorrah”
In his 1973 “Dispensable Foreword” to Out Cry, Tennessee Williams claims to have “the necessary arrogance to assume that a failed production of a play is not necessarily a failed play” and confesses to his “depression over the failed production.“ Williams had fair cause to feel this way—Out Cry, which took him ten years to write, ran on Broadway for only thirteen performances before being cancelled amid poor critical and audience reactions. Thankfully, Williams was right in his assumption, which becomes clear as one discovers The Two-Character Play (an alternate version of Out Cry) currently running at New World Stages—a kind of post-Beckettian riff on themes that occupied Williams throughout his entire creative life, the play is a wonderful discovery, a remarkable work that seems to have been misplaced for three decades.