Reviews

The Cain and Abel Story of the Week

Writing about New York during the summer of 1943, James Baldwin recalled that Black soldiers received their military training in the south: thus, “the people I knew felt, mainly, a peculiar kind of relief when they knew their boys were being shipped out of the south, to do battle overseas.” Death at the hands of […]

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Reviews

We Are Not Cold-Blooded

On the night she conceives, Serafina Delle Rose (Marisa Tomei) wakes up with a burning sensation on her breast. It was a “pain like a needle,” she tells a friend, “quick, quick, hot little stitches.” When she undresses, Serafina sees her husband’s rose tattoo on her own chest: a sign that they are going to […]

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Reviews

Divisible by Three

With her slight form, her raspy voice, and her bouncy movements, April Matthis owns the stage. Playing the title character in Lydia R. Diamond’s Toni Stone, Matthis weaves effortlessly through space and time to reconstruct the story of the first woman to play professional baseball. The transitions are simple—”I’m a little girl,” Matthis will say […]

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Reviews

Seldom Forward

When Merrily We Roll Along opened in 1981, Frank Rich wrote, “to be a Stephen Sondheim fan is to have one’s heart broken at regular intervals.”  However, this time around, it was not simpy the songs that led to the heartbreak.  “Mr. Sondheim has given this evening a half-dozen songs that are crushing and beautiful—that soar […]

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Reviews

I Wondered What Robert Newton Would Think of This

Clive Owen drapes both hands over the arms of his chair. With a taut stillness that could be mistaken for calm, he looks exactly like a lion in the moments before it will pounce. One gets the feeling he could rape or murder without mussing up his suit or disheveling his thickly gelled hair. His movements […]

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Reviews

The Reference Is Obscure

“I began with a desire to speak with the dead,” Stephen Greenblatt writes at the beginning of Shakespearean Negotiations.  “Literature professors are salaried, middle-class shamans.”  For a few years in the ‘nineties, Tom Stoppard also desired to speak with the dead.  His plays Arcadia and Indian Ink (the latter is currently being revived by Roundabout) both concern people in […]

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Reviews

It’s Time for Me to Scare You

Just because Dinner with Friends is much like every other domestic play written in the past eighty years—John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger comes especially to mind—doesn’t mean it is a bad one.  In fact, it is excellent.  Donald Margulies’ script is witty, unassuming, and quietly perceptive.  It opens at the end of a dinner party hosted by […]

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