Reviews

Is He Up Yet? Strindberg’s Playing with Fire at the New School

August Strindberg’s “cynical life” one-act Playing with Fire is a powder keg of emotional repression: Newt (Nathan James), a rich but unsuccessful painter, has never cared more than passingly for his wife Kerstin (Toccarra Cash).  They remain cordial to each other but turn elsewhere for love and lust.  Knut satisfies himself with cousin Adele (Jaleesa […]

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Reviews

Throwing Away the Peel

When Philip Seymour Hoffman walks onstage, he sits down and takes a long beat before exhaling his first line: “Oh boy, oh boy.”  He says it so quietly, so privately that we would probably miss it if we didn’t know it was coming.  He says it like it’s not meant to be heard by over […]

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Reviews

Wrestling with Reality

Eldwood P. Dowd (Jim Parsons) must be the nicest character in American theater.  Within a minute of being onstage, he has enthusiastically accepted two subscriptions to Lady’s Home Journal and Good Housekeeping and invited the telemarketer over to his home.  Later, an elderly lady (Carol Kane), tells him that a Dr. McClure is having a […]

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Reviews

I’m Ready For My Closeup

Tracie Bennett dominates the stage in End of the Rainbow, Peter Quilter’s play about the final days of Judy Garland.  Her performance is wonderfully athletic—she bounds across the stage, striking poses, belting out songs, smoking cigarettes, laughing uproariously one minute and bawling uncontrollably the next.  She is not just playing Garland—she is playing Garland playing […]

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Reviews

Take My Whole Life Too

It’s the early ‘sixties and the counterculture movement has not quite caught up to the small Midwestern town that provides the setting for David Rabe’s An Early History of Fire.  In fact, they are still not ready to let go of the ‘fifties: Jake (Dennis Staroselsky) insists that Elvis will live forever while Terry (Jonny […]

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Reviews

You Sure You’re Jewish?

Four executives from an unnamed corporation sit around a table and discuss the various items on their agenda.  The first: should airport security devices be allowed to take pictures of your genitals?  The second: should pizza be banned in public school cafeterias?  The third: should we kill the Jews?

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Reviews

Goodbye, Cruel World

The script for Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis contains no stage directions and does not assign its lines to any characters.  Words, numbers, and snippets of dialogue are littered across the page, and we only slowly become aware that the action concerns a psychiatrist and his or her suicidal patient.  This offers directors, designers, and actors […]

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