Oh, Reality, It’s Not for Me

It seems relatively uncontroversial to say that one shouldn’t have sex with a nine-year-old girl.  But what about the image of a nine-year-old girl?  What are the ethical questions raised by a hypothetical virtual simulation in which a man can sleep with (and murder, if he should so please), a preteen? Continue reading “Oh, Reality, It’s Not for Me”


Things Dying and Newborn

When Peter Francis James, who plays Leontes in the Pearl’s current revival of The Winter’s Tale, says the word “issue,” he pronounces it as if the first syllable rhymed with with piss instead of dish.  Or, perhaps more appropriately, as if it rhymed with hiss.  Thus, he virtually spits at Antigonus (Dominic Cuskern) of the child he presumes to be a bastard, “No, I’ll not rear another’s issue.”  It may be a slightly affected choice, but it works, and in an otherwise helpless production, Mr. James is consistently brilliant—tall, slim, often wearing a frumpy jacket and turtleneck, he looks more like Fred Rogers than that stupor mundi Frederick the Great.  But his apoplectic fits are exhilarating; and even when he is forced into silence, listening to an officer read the charges of adultery leveled against his faithful wife Hermione (Jolly Abraham), he mouths the words, not relishing their meaning so much as their validation of his anger.

Continue reading “Things Dying and Newborn”

The Last-Resort Variety

“The people in that saloon were the best I’ve ever known,” Eugene O’Neill wrote about the motley crew that occupied Jimmy-the-Priest’s, the dive bar which provided the inspiration for The Iceman Cometh and the one in which the playwright attempted suicide in 1912.  This conflict—good company, bad circumstances—dominates Iceman, a drama about a makeshift (and most homosocial) family of drunks nursing their pipe dreams and encouraging those of their brothers and sisters. Continue reading “The Last-Resort Variety”

Take a Piece

Among its many charms, Everybody Gets Cake! begins well before the audience enters the theatre. It starts at E:BAR, a standard pre-show hovering ground for regular 59E59 Theaters attendees. A pair of improbably dressed tourists arrive, decked out in identical bright yellow slickers. They talk to at least one couple about rushing tickets for a different production playing upstairs. The audience is admitted and greeted with the sight of a bouncer guarding a cake behind a velvet rope. In come the tourists, snapping photos and buzzing irritatingly about the bouncer until they are forcibly ushered out. Continue reading “Take a Piece”