Reviews

The Whole Place Is Changing

Sometimes death takes years.  Gladys Green (Elaine May) is a former lawyer and Greenwich Village socialite who now spends her days in an art gallery she runs down the street from her apartment.  Once a week she has dinner with her daughter (Joan Allen) and her daughter’s husband (David Cromer), and her grandson, Daniel (Lucas […]

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Reviews

Skinning a Cat

Glenda Jackson is brilliant.  Throughout Three Tall Women, her craggy face—one Beckett would have loved—alternately radiates wisdom, confusion, knowing cynicism, and puckish amusement, all with a firmly-pursed upper lip.  The primary difference, I think, between stage and film acting is the requirement for stage actors to use all of their body.  Too frequently, this means a series […]

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Reviews

The Name Your Mother and Father Gave You

In 2003, at the end of the Second Liberian Civil War, three women wearing American hand-me-downs live in a shanty as the wives of a commanding officer for the rebel group Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy.  For most of Danai Gurira’s Eclipsed, they are referred to by their titles rather than their given names: Number […]

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Reviews

On a Dark, Dark Road in a Dark, Dark State

John Grisham’s South is an ethically uncomplicated place.  Racist hicks rape ten-year-old Black girls.  Idealistic lawyers, with rolled up sleeves and toothpicks planted firmly in their mouths, mosey into empty courtrooms—perhaps to spend a private moment with the smell of justice.  And fathers whose daughters have been harmed know the meaning of Ecclesiastes 3:1: “To […]

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Reviews

They Should Have Left Vanya and Sonia and Masha to Chekhov

Parody has roughly the same staying power as the latest YouTube video or a song written by a thirty-year-old about life in middle school.  Highbrow parody, I suppose, can last longer—indeed, Kevin Brewer’s Island; or, to Be Or Not to Be, a recent, wonderful sendup of Shakespearean comedy, could easily sustain decades of revivals.  Vanya […]

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Reviews

Who Killed David Mamet? It Was You and Me.

Critics are having a blast beating David Mamet’s newest play, The Anarchist, to a pulp, but something about this strikes me as culturally self-mutilating.  Of course, we have a history of snubbing our greatest playwrights.  How often do we see a Broadway revival of Williams that is not Streetcar or Cat on a Hot Tin […]

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Reviews

Seminar, Redux

When I first saw Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar five months ago, I thought it was a wonderful piece of fluff that was ruined by several failed attempts at profundity.  The second time around, the fluff feels more accented and the failed profundity falls into the background.

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