Reviews

Valanced Faces

STRATFORD, ON—Apparently Jonathan Goad takes Hamlet at his word when he says he will “put an antic disposition on.”  His performance is full of hopping and howling; he walks backwards like a crab and suckles at Claudius’ (Geraint Wyn Davies) breast like a feeding baby.  It certainly isn’t the way I read Hamlet—and yet, it works better than […]

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Reviews

A Rash and Bloody Deed

Peter Sarsgaard is a very good actor, and he shouldn’t be ashamed of his unfortunate and dreadful performance in Hamlet, since the role has swallowed up greater performers than he.  Still, the production currently running at the Classic Stage Company amounts to an embarrassing three hours, full of mistakes both slight and glaring.

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Reviews

The Secret Sits in the Middle and Knows

About halfway through Craig Wright’s Grace, Sam (Michael Shannon) explains his job to Steve (Paul Rudd).  He works for NASA, helping to purify the information they are receiving through probes in the solar system—“radio waves, X-rays, gamma rays, all kinds of energy” interfere with the information, so it is often corrupted by the time it […]

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Reviews

Mediocrity Always Trumps Genius

James Joyce loved Henrik Ibsen; he considered his work superior to Shakespeare’s.  In fact, an early, lost play of his—A Brilliant Career—was partially modeled on An Enemy of the People, which is currently being revived by the Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.  In a puerile attempt to emulate the Master, I […]

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Reviews

It’s Past Now

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 […]

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Reviews

Richard II at the Pearl Theatre

Walter Pater once wrote, “Shakespeare’s kings are not, nor are meant to be, great men,” something that is deeply understood by director J.R. Sullivan in his new production of Richard II at the Pearl Theatre.  Sean McNall, playing the title role, presents both a physically and politically diminutive figure: slim, pale, and sickly looking—a kind of deflated […]

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Reviews

I’m Not Racist, But…

There is a moment in James Agee and Walker Evans’ Let Us Now Praise Famous Men—possibly the pinnacle of white liberal guilt—in which Agee accidentally startles a young Black couple: “I was trying in some fool way to keep it somehow relatively light, because I could not bear that they should receive from me any added […]

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