Reviews

I’ll Play My Father

Henry IV (an appropriately weary Jasper Britton), who had planned to alleviate his guilt over the death of Richard II with a voyage to Jerusalem (“I’ll make a voyage to the Holy Land, / To wash this blood off from my guilty hand”), soon finds his kingdom internally divided: unrest in Scotland and Wales, rebellion from […]

Read more
Reviews

The Landlord of England

A coffin rests center stage.  In Shakespeare’s text, Richard II begins with the eponymous king (David Tennant) sitting upon his throne and arbitrating a dispute between Henry Bolingbroke (Jasper Britton) and Thomas Mowbray (Christopher Middleton), the former accusing the latter of participating in the successful assassination of the Duke of Gloucester, the king’s uncle.  However, in […]

Read more
Reviews

God and the Law

Who knew all Ibsen needed was a bit of menace?  A little over a year ago, BAM presented the Young Vic’s stellar production of A Doll’s House, which tore off the play’s moralizing veneer and exposed a domestic thriller more akin to Hitchcock than Shaw.  Now we have Ghosts, which begins in much the same manner, with Jacob Engstrand […]

Read more
Reviews

The Last-Resort Variety

“The people in that saloon were the best I’ve ever known,” Eugene O’Neill wrote about the motley crew that occupied Jimmy-the-Priest’s, the dive bar which provided the inspiration for The Iceman Cometh and the one in which the playwright attempted suicide in 1912.  This conflict—good company, bad circumstances—dominates Iceman, a drama about a makeshift (and most homosocial) family of […]

Read more
Reviews

Time for Rehearsal

Before Beckett or Ionesco there was Luigi Pirandello, whose Six Characters in Search of an Author was allegedly so shocking to its original audience that people could be heard crying out, “Madhouse!” in response to what they were seeing.  Now, unfortunately, its impact has dulled, and we are left with a play that feels very much like […]

Read more
Reviews

The Monolith Is Missing

Last weekend, the American masterpiece Angels in America was revived in a Dutch translation at the BAM Harvey Theater in Brooklyn.  Belgian director Ivo van Hove has pared down Tony Kushner’s play—which one character, commenting on the spectacle of it, calls “Very Steven Spielberg”—so that all that remains are the characters and their conversations.  There […]

Read more
Reviews

Will You Never Have Done?

At first, there is only darkness.  Then, we see a small light on the left side of the stage—but even for those sitting up close, it takes a moment to realize that it is a mouth suspended in the air.  The mouth delivers a breakneck monologue, a torrent of language punctuated by gasps that sound like jet engines.  For […]

Read more
Reviews

We Might Touch

Radio was the ideal medium for Samuel Beckett, the novelist and playwright most interested in paring down his work until he was left with the minimum number of words possible on the page.  By getting rid of sets and only employing the voices of his actors, he would further purify his art, allowing us to […]

Read more
Reviews

Only One Is a Wanderer

The story goes that when A Doll’s House premiered in 1879, it was so controversial that party invitations in Stockholm requested that guests not mention the play.  In fact, the ending was shocking enough that Henrik Ibsen’s German agent forced him to rewrite the final scene before it could play in German theaters.  Unsurprisingly, the polemical […]

Read more