Reviews

Life of a Salesman

Will Kidder (Aidan Quinn), the subject of quite a few plays by Horton Foote, is a classic American loser, the kind of naïve and disappointed optimist who has populated mid-century works by the likes of Arthur Miller, Eugene O’Neill, and Lorraine Hansberry. Will, however, has seen quite a bit of success in his life—he has […]

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Reviews

The Bloody Sequel

Like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard’s adaptation of Hamlet that stages the action of the play from the perspective of the prince’s childhood friends, Taylor Mac’s Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus locates the drama in supporting characters.  The eponymous Gary (Nathan Lane) is a clown who has been promoted to maid and dreams of one day becoming […]

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Reviews

I’m Always Acting

When Kevin Kline walks onstage, he uses his bathrobe to swat at nothing before histrionically grabbing the bannister of his staircase like a walker.  In fact, he spends much of Present Laughter moving from pose to pose; his fingers, like tentacles, have a life of their own, often revolving in various directions, as if restlessly […]

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Reviews

You May Grow Up to Be a Fish

A.R. Gurney has a knack for writing formally inventive plays that are, ultimately, rather conservative.  Love Letters, which recently had a run on Broadway, is entirely epistolary, but the story it tells—about nostalgia, about the passage of time—is affecting but conventional.  Now the Signature is reviving What I Did Last Summer, in which many of the […]

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Reviews

There Was Laughter at the Back of the Theater

The home of Martin Vanderhof (James Earl Jones), which is populated by a band of amiable loons, resembles more a hippie commune than a typical ‘thirties household.  Martin’s daughter, Penelope Sycamore (Kristine Nielsen), is a prolific playwright who began her career because a typewriter was accidentally delivered to her doorstep eight years ago.  Her husband, Paul (Mark […]

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Reviews

It’s Just Decor

Berenger (Michael Shannon), the everyman who stars in Eugène Ionesco’s later plays Rhinoceros, Exit the King, and A Stroll in the Air, made his first and perhaps most devastating appearance in The Killer, one of the purest expressions of the Theatre of the Absurd.  In the first act (during which the set is almost always bare, the white scratches on […]

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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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