Let's Talk Off Broadway

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

Tag: Wooster Group

Review | Cry, Trojans (Troilus & Cressida) | Text by William Shakespeare | Directed by Elizabeth LeCompte | Performing Garage | Wooster Group

… not nice guys …

Diving into disjunction, deconstructing anything and everything, and squeezing ambiguities out of certainties, The Wooster Group has always stayed theatrically steps ahead.  In staging this play they seem to have taken on their ultimate challenge because Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida is already a work of deconstruction … a few centuries avant la lettre.  So what’s left for The Wooster Group to do?  Exuberantly, they add their own disjunctions and ambiguities to Troilus and Cressida for a stimulating take on Shakespeare’s play based on Homer’s epic about that war between the Greeks and Trojans.

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Review | Early Plays, Based on Eugene O’Neill’s Glencairn Plays | Adapted and Directed by Richard Maxwell | Wooster Group / New York City Players

The three early one-act plays by O’Neill are moving and naturalistic, not melodramatic as I’ve seen them called elsewhere.  In order to find this out, though, one has to look through this production’s useless, arbitrary stylization which has the characters speaking with emotional emphasis but deadpan rhythms.  Still, if one sticks it out, one gets a good sense of the atmosphere and feeling of being part of a crew for a merchant ship in the early 20th Century.

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Comparison Review | The Wooster Group’s Version of Tennessee Williams’ Vieux Carre | Directed by Elizabeth LeCompte vs Pearl Theatre’s Vieux Carre

… two great productions … (lucky playwright!)

In the Wooster Group’s visceral production of Williams’ Vieux Carre, a writer/narrator allows his memory to transport him to the past, and to a run-down boarding house in New Orleans’ French Quarter in the 1930’s.  Why this place at this time?  Because it’s the site of his coming of age recognition of his homosexual nature.  But he’s not alone here:  the place is crowded with other tenants who, in their different ways, take part in the drama of his self-recognition.  His memory brings to life their passions and agonies as well as his own.  There are two proud, old southern ladies who scavenge garbage pails to stay alive, the “rapacious”, tubercular old artist coughing into his handkerchief, the young woman from the north whose particular pain we learn of late in the play, her stud man, the landlady, the maid, and the young drifter who becomes the writer’s ticket to a free life.

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Review | La Didone | Music by Francisco Cavalli | Libretto by Giovan Francesco Busenello | Directed by Elizabeth LeCompte | Wooster Group

… 17th century opera meets Planet of the Vampires …

First of all I have to say that La Didone is a tremendous lot of fun.  It’s exciting and spectacular — many things are happening all the time though not too much to keep track of.  What a lot of smiles!  How refreshing!

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