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?”

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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”

The Puffs Don’t Exactly Have the Best Reputation Here…

In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard shifted the focus at Elsinore Castle from the melancholy Dane to his two school chums, hapless pawns in the battle over the crown whose deaths are so unremarkable that they are relegated to one throw-away line in a play of nearly four thousand.  In Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic, Matt Cox offers the same treatment for the residents of Hufflepuff—here, for copyright reasons, “Puff”—misfits from the Harry Potter universe who are so bottom barrel that they can be lead into an enthusiastic cheer over the notion of coming in third place. Continue reading “The Puffs Don’t Exactly Have the Best Reputation Here…”

Laughing and Choking Looked the Same

In his introductory note on Marvin’s Room, playwright Scott McPherson distinguishes between death and dying: as a child, his father wrapped his car around a telephone pole—this was death.  Also as a child, his grandmother gave way to her cancer as he watched Ed Sullivan on the television at the foot of her bed—that was dying.  Marvin’s Room, then, is a play not about death but about dying. Continue reading “Laughing and Choking Looked the Same”

What’s Yours Is Mine

With the closing of the Pearl, the stakes have been raised for Theatre for a New Audience, our last, best hope for classical revival in New York City.  Their new production of Measure for Measure is a fairly good sign.  As we enter the theater, we are encouraged to stroll through Mistress Overdone’s brothel: through glass, we watch actors engage in light BDSM, while the walls are lined, museum-style, with sex toys, including a particularly heinous dildo featuring the face of Donald Trump. Continue reading “What’s Yours Is Mine”

You Want to Live Like Common People?

Emily (Emily Bowker) is a derivative abstract impressionist painter who is defined by contempt: contempt for banks, for supermarkets, for corporations in general.  Contempt for football, marriage, inherited wealth, private property, private education, and New Labour.  Perhaps the only thing she holds in contempt more than this “hideous capitalistic gangbang” are its victims, people who, … Continue reading You Want to Live Like Common People?