Dream Brother, My Killer, My Lover

There are, as I see it, two obstacles to a theatrical adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange: the first, and most important, is to make sure that Nadsat, the Joycean, English/Russian hybrid slang he invented for his teenaged characters, is clearly understood.  All those viddies and warbles can be confusing for an audience when the context does not make the meaning clear.  The second obstacle is to subvert expectations.  I have no interest in reliving the most famous episodes from Burgess’ novel or Stanley Kubrick’s film.  So recognizable, A Clockwork Orange must be made new. Continue reading “Dream Brother, My Killer, My Lover”

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We’re Getting Too Old to Fly?

Five siblings gather at their father’s (Ron Crawford) deathbed.  This is a Catholic family with typically catholic politics.  Ann (Kathleen Chalfant) is the resident liberal atheist, and while she enjoys railing against the Church, she still takes the communion “to be sociable.”  Jim (David Chandler) and Michael (Keith Reddin), both physicians, are conservatives of the pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps variety, though Michael is cosmopolitan enough to read Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times.  John (Daniel Jenkins), a college teacher, aligns himself with his brothers, while Wendy (Lisa Emery) just wants everybody to get along. Continue reading “We’re Getting Too Old to Fly?”

Bloody Aprons and Yellow Dresses

In Fucking A, flesh is inseparable from its economic value, often bearing wounds that remind its owners of past transactions: the First Lady (Elizabeth Stanley) of this unnamed town is desperate to conceive as her family’s money is no longer enough to keep her husband, the Mayor (Marc Kudisch), in her bed, but her “pussy is all dried out.”  The Mayor spends more time with Canary Mary (Joaquina Kalukango), a prostitute he showers with fancy clothes and gold coins in return for “exclusive rights” to her body.  Occasionally, she will pass one of these coins on to her friend, Hester Smith (Christine Lahti), the local abortionist whose profession requires her to be branded with a living, oozing A on her collarbone.  Hester has turned “babykiller” so she can raise the money to free her own son, Boy Smith, whose decades of misconduct have increased his prison sentence despite the petty nature of his original crime: food theft sometime around age nine.  In order to be sure she would recognize him again, Hester marked Boy with her teeth and gave herself a matching scar. Continue reading “Bloody Aprons and Yellow Dresses”