Reviews

Who’s on Forty-Second?

My grandparents spoke Yiddish, especially when they didn’t want their children to understand what they were saying.  My dad speaks some, though his German is better, and I know the same handful of words that a gentile might learn after five years of living in New York City.  There’s no question the language has been […]

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Reviews

Just by Looking

Doug Wright has clearly done his research.  His new play Posterity, about the meeting of Henrik Ibsen (John Noble) and Gustav Vigeland (Hamish Linklater), is full of assurance about its subjects.  Based on a true story, the young Vigeland, considered one of Norway’s greatest sculptors (he designed the Nobel Peace Prize medal), is offered an assignment: […]

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Reviews

Plumbing the Depths

Matt (Ivan Dolido) is not the type to freely admit that anything in his life is going poorly. He thinks secrets are a sign of adulthood and performing is an important part of life. So if you were to ask him how he’s doing, chances are he would rave about the quality of his painting […]

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Reviews

Brush Clearing

When Louise (Carrie Coon) finds out her mother may be dying, she lies and tells her that she’s marrying her boyfriend Jonathan (William Jackson Harper).  That is, she offers fake information in order to please.  As “I shall please” is the literal meaning of the word “placebo,” Louise has given her mother a placebo wedding.  “Placebo,” as we […]

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Reviews

Lover and Banker, Enchanter and Provider

“Isn’t life disappointing?”  The line comes near the end of Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story, but it could just as well prove the mantra of every character in Clifford Odets’ Rocket to the Moon, a drama about mid-life compromises and settling for mediocrity.  Ben Stark (Ned Eisenberg), a dentist who once showed more promise than those who have since surpassed […]

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Reviews

Telling Tales

Kafka, of course, is a genre now, just as “experimental” refers to a very specific style instead of an attempt at creating something new.  David Lynch has become an adjective as well, so that his aesthetic of sugary pop music and violent imagery can now be mass produced, like Hello Kitty.  Judgment on a Gray Beach, then, is best […]

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Reviews

I’ve Made All That’s Formed You

In 1791, a woman on a slave ship was diagnosed with smallpox.  In order to isolate the disease, she was tied to a chair and thrown overboard.  Of the 142 slaves on the ship, 121 were delivered on arrival.  In economic terms, then, the solution to the potential outbreak was a success, with one minor exception: the captain, the […]

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