Reviews

Friends, Romans, Fellow Grocers

Over the next few years, I imagine there will be a revival of interest in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Brecht’s roman à clef about a Chicago gangster who represents Hitler during his rise to power.  We’ll probably see more productions of An Enemy of the People, too, as well as The Crucible and Julius Caesar.  Trump, unfortunately, […]

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Reviews

On the Tip of Your Tongue

There is a crack running down the dining room wall.  Deborah (De’Adre Aziza) tries to hide it, to cover it up with—of all things—Ellis Wilson’s Funeral Procession.  Some of the floorboards are rotting, too, so she moves the table over those.  You see, Deborah lives the politics of respectability; all flaws must be covered up.  […]

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Reviews

Woman and Simian Alike

Anyone complaining about the music in King Kong is missing the point.  Sure, there aren’t all that many songs, traditionally considered a handicap for a musical, and those that we do hear are all forgettable.  Sometimes they are even incomprehensible.  Why, for example, is Ann Darrow (Christiani Pitts), the beauty to Kong’s beast, asking us if […]

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Reviews

I Started with the Facts

“All this is fact,” Marilynne Robinson writes late in her novel Housekeeping.  “Fact explains nothing.”  In other words, facts are just naked data waiting for interpretation.  It is in that interpretation, in that carving out of a story from the facts, that one reaches truth.  If the facts have to be massaged to reach a greater truth, so […]

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Reviews

At Least Father Horrigan Is Going to Hell

In his condition-of-England play, Jerusalem, Jez Butterworth drew in broad strokes: not only does he set the action on St. George’s Day, but he begins with a dreamy, mostly-accurate recitation from the Blake, courtesy of a fifteen-year-old girl, dressed as Phaedra and interrupted after two stanzas.  Still, Jerusalem worked, and phenomenally so, because Butterworth largely earned his […]

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Reviews

Further Disclosure: I Am a Clown

Bill Irwin—who reminds us several times throughout On Beckett that he is in his “dotage”—is a member of a fading profession.  In the ‘seventies, he trained at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, a defunct school named after a company that closed after over a century just last year.  The vaudeville tradition he adores […]

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Reviews

Fix Me

Transformation has been the only constant of Bob Dylan’s career.  Yet there are clear strains of American mythology throughout his body of work, from his early idolization of Woody Guthrie to peak-year releases like John Wesley Harding.  It can even be found in his born again years and embrace of gospel.  In “Gotta Serve Somebody,” his […]

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