Let's Talk Off Broadway

Yvonne Korshak reviews Off-Broadway, Broadway, Film and Art

Tag: political theater

Review | Les Bonnes/The Maids | By Jean Genet | Directed by Oliver Henzler | La Mama

… oppression  …

Enter the weird world of Claire and Solange – the world of what oppression does to the human spirit.

The language is brilliant and stunningly expressed by two great actresses in this production, the psychological twists and freehand switches on role playing are the products of a stupendous dramatic imagination. But unlike the actual notorious murder that inspired the play, the Papin case, the maids, not the mistress, are the ultimate victims.  The author’s profound reversal of the expected ending raises this play from a shocking oddity of kinky love-hate relationships (which it is!) to the level of a true classic.  To have seen this great, passionate production is a life treasure.

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Review | Sweat | By Lynn Nottage | Directed by Kate Whoriskey | Studio 54

… losers and losers …

Sweat is not a perfect play but it’s important and by the end has great impact. As this drama unfolds, we witness through the lives of engaging individuals how competition for jobs poisons relationships between ethnic and racial groups and, most poignantly, between friends.  The backdrop is the total disregard of industry and “Wall Street” for the individuals who support them.

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Review | The Threepenny Opera | Book and Lyrics by Bertolt Brecht | Music by Kurt Weill | English Adaptation by Mark Blitzstein | Directed and Choreographed by Martha Clarke | Atlantic Theater Company

Mack the Soupspoon (… couldn’t resist …)

From the first moments of the overture, discordant and musical, played by superb musicians from the back of the stage, you know you’re experiencing something great.  The Threepenny Opera is one of the greatest pieces of musical theatre of the 20th Century — it’s up there with Porgy and Bess — and happily this production fulfills it.

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Review | The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht | Translated by Eric Bentley | Directed by Anya Saffir | Music by Cormac Bluestone | Pipeline Theatre Company

Pipeline Theatre Company’s Caucasian Chalk Circle is one of the best productions I’ve seen all season, if not the best.  It’s a complicated and fascinating play within a play, fired by Brecht’s moral passion, in which a visiting bard, The Singer, spins his tale to two work groups in Communist Russia contesting over control of a fertile valley.  A solution to the conflict — a moral — emerges from The Singer’s dramatized story.

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Review | Ruined by Lynn Nottage | Directed by Kate Whoriskey | Manhattan Theatre Club

… This house is a home …

Ruined brings us to a cafe-bar-whorehouse in the Congo, an oasis in the midst of war between “government” and “rebels”.  As in Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage, on which this play is loosely based, it doesn’t matter who’s fighting — the effect on the little people struggling to survive is the same no matter which violent-prone combatants they encounter and will be the same no matter who wins.

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