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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Reviews

Tender Mercies

About a year ago, the Pan Pan Theatre Company staged Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall at BAM.  There were no visible actors and audience members sat in foldout chairs while listening to the dialogue and watching a series of light effects.  It didn’t quite work, but it was an interesting attempt to bring a radio […]

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Reviews

Locked Doors

In his 1973 “Dispensable Foreword” to Out Cry, Tennessee Williams claims to have “the necessary arrogance to assume that a failed production of a play is not necessarily a failed play” and confesses to his “depression over the failed production.“ Williams had fair cause to feel this way—Out Cry, which took him ten years to […]

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Reviews

In What Land of Dreams I Am Living I Know Not

August Strindberg, who isn’t known for his cheerfulness, was especially depressed while composing what he called the “child of my greatest pain” and considered suicide two months before completing it: “The impulse to die by my own hand grows stronger,” he wrote in his diary.  The finished work, A Dream Play, reads a bit like […]

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Reviews

Beckett: The Musical?

When he was asked why he made a shot-for-shot remake of Psycho, Gus Van Sant replied, “So that no one else would have to.”  The same could be said of Sounding Beckett, a bizarre failure of an experiment that nevertheless justifies its existence.  Six composers, working with three short plays from Samuel Beckett’s “ghost period,” […]

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Reviews

Quite Personal and Quite Loud

Harold Pinter said, “There are two silences.  One when no word is spoken.  The other when … a torrent of language is being employed.  This speech is speaking of a language locked beneath it.”  Nina Raine has taken this sentiment to heart in her new play Tribes, which centers on the ferocious, suffocating love between […]

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Reviews

Beckettian Mash-Up at the Baryshnikov Arts Center

Peter Brook, the theater legend who directed the original run of Fragments in London, writes, “Today, with the passage of time, we can see how false were the labels stuck on Beckett—despairing, negative, pessimistic.  Indeed, he peers into the filthy abyss of human existence.  His humor saves him and us from falling in.  He rejects theories, dogmas, […]

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