Reviews

I Was Improvising, Which Everybody Just Loves

Over the course of three plays—Asuncion, The Revisionist, and The Spoils—Jesse Eisenberg has established himself as the premier satirist of guilt-ridden, ineffectual American liberalism.  His work is littered with a gaggle of narcissistic, white idiots, and Happy Talk, his latest, is no exception.  This is the first of his plays in which Eisenberg does not […]

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Reviews

Bad Chemistry

With his debut play, Hamish Linklater has written a generous work, one that offers substantial roles to all eight of its actors.  Like its title, the stage of The Whirligig spins round and round, unfolding a series of scenes in the lives of those who are in one way or another connected to Julie (Grace Van Patten), a drug […]

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Reviews

Can There Be a Smoke Machine?

Early on in Wakey Wakey, Guy (Michael Emerson) tells us, “however you think of it right now is probably how you’ll think of it when it’s over.” He’s probably right. For the most part, Wakey Wakey is a discursive existential monologue addressed directly to the audience. It is a multimedia presentation with a calculated feeling […]

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Reviews

Somebody Planted This on Me

The title says it all: The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World aka The Negro Book of the Dead is about the death and burial of a character named only Black Man with Watermelon (Daniel J. Watts).  His wife, Black Woman with Fried Drumstick (Roslyn Ruff), remains haunted by this death and […]

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Reviews

Recognizing the Bones Underneath

Dodge (Ed Harris) sits in his living room, smoking cigarettes, sneaking whiskey, and violently emptying his lungs into a handkerchief.  From upstairs, his wife Halie (Amy Madigan) shouts down to him: about the rain, the religious implications of taking medication (“There’s some things the ministers can’t even answer”), and whether they ever raced thoroughbreds on Sunday.  She […]

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Reviews

The Facts

Contemporary American drama is a brittle affair, stuck in the shadow of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? for over fifty years now.  The number of works that begin with a stable upper-middle-class families and end in drunken dinners and secrets revealed, with witty and high-brow one-liners peppered throughout, has reached an agonizing level of self-parody.  These […]

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