Reviews

I Was Improvising, Which Everybody Just Loves

Over the course of three plays—Asuncion, The Revisionist, and The Spoils—Jesse Eisenberg has established himself as the premier satirist of guilt-ridden, ineffectual American liberalism.  His work is littered with a gaggle of narcissistic, white idiots, and Happy Talk, his latest, is no exception.  This is the first of his plays in which Eisenberg does not […]

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Reviews

I Will Be Your Preacher Teacher

There is an unmistakable hunger to their first encounter. Andre (Alan Cumming) is old and rich and white, Franklin (Ronald Peet) young and Black.  Dubbing him “Naomi,” after the supermodel, Andre buries his face in Franklin’s legs, purring, “Smooth.  Like the sweetest chocolate.”  But Franklin is distracted by Andre’s wealth, by his infinity pool and […]

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Reviews

Bad Chemistry

With his debut play, Hamish Linklater has written a generous work, one that offers substantial roles to all eight of its actors.  Like its title, the stage of The Whirligig spins round and round, unfolding a series of scenes in the lives of those who are in one way or another connected to Julie (Grace Van Patten), a drug […]

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Reviews

The Fickle Finger of Fate

I don’t envy anyone who follows Giulietta Masina, the moon-eyed clown who played the lead in Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria with such masterful balance of comedy and pathos.

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Reviews

Recognizing the Bones Underneath

Dodge (Ed Harris) sits in his living room, smoking cigarettes, sneaking whiskey, and violently emptying his lungs into a handkerchief.  From upstairs, his wife Halie (Amy Madigan) shouts down to him: about the rain, the religious implications of taking medication (“There’s some things the ministers can’t even answer”), and whether they ever raced thoroughbreds on Sunday.  She […]

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Reviews

How Do You Not Like Me?

Jesse Eisenberg has gotten angrier.  His first play, Asuncion, was a merciless takedown of white, liberal politics, but at its center was a genuinely warm if dysfunctional love story.  His follow-up, The Revisionist, was admittedly colder, pitting a self-absorbed, pretentious writer against a savvy, Polish Holocaust survivor.  But The Spoils, now being produced by The New Group at […]

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Reviews

All the Other Hers

Jaclyn (Tonya Pinkins) is kind of a pill.  An assistant in a surgeon’s office, she is condescending to patients, cruel to the mild-mannered office manager, Ileen (Dianne Wiest), insensitive to her Mexican neighbors (who she thinks should be deported), and constantly making suspicious claims about “toxins” in the air.

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