It is 1942 and in Poland, Jews are marching into the gas chambers. But in Yonkers, they are ostensibly dealing with family problems. When Eddie (Dominic Comperatore) finds himself terribly in debt after the death of his wife, he drops his two sons Arty (Russell Posner) and Jay (Matthew Gumley) off with their uncompromising German grandmother (Cynthia Harris). They are joined by Aunt Bella (Finnerty Steeves), a thirty-five-year-old child and Uncle Louie (Alec Beard), a low-level gangster who acts like he heads Murder, Inc.
Declan Donnellan has directed theater, opera, ballet, and film, all of which come into play in his dynamic revival of John Ford’s ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, a wonderful production that has been choreographed and timed down to the last second. By making the appropriate cuts to the original text, he has streamlined the play so that it focuses only on its central relationship, the love affair between Giovanni (Jack Gordon) and his sister Annabella (Lydia Wilson); it is a Romeo and Juliet in which “the problem is no longer that the lovers are from different families, the problem is now that they’re from the same one.”
“Colbert’s co-conspirator in those days was the director and playwright Dexter Bullard, who would call him up and say, ‘Do you want to get in trouble?’ Getting in trouble meant hiring a hall, inviting some critics and then picking a play—something by Havel, say, whom they had barely heard of—and learning it and putting it on in a week or so.” – “How Many Stephen Colberts Are There?”
Early in A Moon for the Misbegotten, Josie Hogan (Kim Marten-Cotten) describes the love of her life, Jim Tyrone (Andrew May), as “like a dead man walking slow behind his own coffin.” This march towards the inevitable seems to make up the entire play, which follows characters who are obsessed with helping each other and end up helping no one. Jim, the Hogans’ landlord and an old Broadway ham, slowly drinks himself to death instead of wedding Josie, while her wily father Phil (Dan Daily) tries to play puppet master and orchestrate the marriage that would benefit all three. As Eugene O’Neill’s swan song, A Moon for the Misbegotten unifies the writer’s most important artistic concerns while also incorporating some of his bad habits—at nearly three and a half hours, we wish this whiskey-soaked night could be a little more succinct.
Beyond the Horizon must be one of Eugene O’Neill’s worst plays—it is humorless, overlong, and maudlin, with language that is almost insultingly obvious; only minutes after curtain, Robert Mayo (Lucas Hall), a dreamer about to leave his life on his father’s farm, announces, “It’s just Beauty that’s calling me … in quest of the secret which is hidden there, beyond the horizon.” He hardly gets in another line before letting the title slip again: “I got to know all the different kinds of sunsets by heart. And all those sunsets took place over there—beyond the horizon.” If one were to closely examine the text, one might be lead to believe this horizon is some sort of metaphor.
Despite its popularity, Richard III is far from being one of Shakespeare’s great plays—it is too long (in this production, three and a half hours) and the only meaty role is the eponymous one; I always sympathize with the actress playing Lady Anne, who must begin a scene berating Richard for the murder of her husband and end it his fiancé. Still, it is fun to watch the hunchback, to see him seduce and manipulate and then gleefully take us into his confidence. Like Marlowe’s Barabas, he is one of the few great villains of the theater who admits his immorality, apparently with few misgivings about those he hurts. Instead, he provides us with delightful insight into the ways in which he will exploit others to reach the crown.
Erika Sheffer’s Russian Transport doesn’t quite know what kind of play it wants to be. It begins by straddling the line between comedy and tragedy, setting up jokes that aren’t especially funny and scenarios that are dramatically ambiguous. But the ambiguity feels as if it comes from an unsure or incomplete script, not one that has deliberately employed this technique to great effect.