Let's Talk Off Broadway

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

Category: Broadway Theater Page 3 of 4

Review | Red by John Logan | With Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne | Directed by Michael Grandage | Golden Theater

… the red and the black …

RED is an intimate play about a profound painter in whose soul a Manichaean battle between life and death is played out on his canvases by a struggle between red and black.  The subject is the painter Mark Rothko and the playwright focuses on a key period in his life, when he’s designing a complete, coordinated group of large paintings for the expensive, high-rollers’ Four Seasons Restaurant, under construction in NYC.  On the one hand, he’s glad to be making the big bucks and creating his first total environment.  On the other, he’s uneasy that his work, quasi religious and inspiring of meditation, as he sees it, is headed for a restaurant filled with earthbound, self-interested, fashionable people.  Hardly the right atmosphere.

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A funeral ritual in a garden. Wall painting in the Theban tomb of Nakhtmin, early 18th Dynasty, ca. 1450. Facsimile painting by Charles K. Wilkinson, 1921. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1930. Photo: Museum.

Art Review | Exhibition: Tutankhamun’s Funeral | Metropolitan Museum of Art

… mighty warrior or frail human? …

Meet Pharaoh Tutankhamun…

Head of Tutankhamun with the hand of the god Amun behind. Limestone, H 15.2 cm (6 in). 18th Dynasty, reigned ca. 1336-1327 B.C. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund 1950. Photo: Museum

Head of Tutankhamun with the hand of the god Amun behind. Limestone, H 15.2 cm (6 in). 18th Dynasty, reigned ca. 1336-1327 B.C. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund 1950. Photo: Museum

A “blockbuster” exhibition of treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamum, “King Tut NYC Return of the King” will be opening in near Times Square in NYC April 23, 2010.  It will be filled with lavish and stunningly beautiful works in gold and other precious materials, and the art will show the pharaoh Tutankhamun as a mighty conqueror of Egypt’s enemies, a great hunter of wild animals, and a victor over death itself.  It will be a great event — see it, if you can get tickets.

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Art Review | Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage | Metropolitan Museum of Art

Georgina Berkeley, from the Berkeley Album, 1867-71, Watercolor and albumen silver prints, Musee d'Orsay, Paris. Photo: Reunion des Musees Nationaux/Art Resource, NY

Georgina Berkeley, from the Berkeley Album, 1867-71, Watercolor and albumen silver prints, Musee d’Orsay, Paris. Photo: Reunion des Musees Nationaux/Art Resource, NY

Photography was invented in 1839, and in no time small photographic portraits – cartes de visites– became popular as calling cards and souvenirs. In the 1860’s and ‘70’s aristocratic British women who, this exhibition indicates, led very busy lives, managed to find time to create photocollages using pieces they cut from the cartes de visites, usually the heads, and pasting them on their own watercolors and drawings to create witty, sarcastic, commemorative, and often wildly surrealistic images. They gathered their work into albums.   Not all who did this work were aristocratic British women but it was particularly their domain. The exhibit is a bounty of their images and albums.

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Broadway Review | Oleanna by David Mamet | Directed by Doug Hughes | With Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles

  … he said, she said …

Oleanna is a parable of social revolution along the lines of Bonfire of the Vanities or Animal Farm.  It doesn’t have the internal consistency that’s made those a kind of starting point for thinking, but still, it resonates.

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Review | Shakespeare’s Hamlet | Starring Jude Law | Directed by Michael Grandage | Broadhurst Theater

… a two man show …

Sometimes theater goers will say of classic plays, “I saw The Seagull — or A Doll’s House — or Hamlet — recently, I’m just not ready to see another one”. Fair enough, but Jude Law puts such a distinctive mark on Hamlet that, believe me, you haven’t seen this, ever.

His Hamlet is a younger man than most seem to be (regardless of the actor’s age).  His performance is athletic, unquestionably charismatic (the audience applauds after every great scene like after an aria in an opera), and openly vulnerable.  He listens to others intensely, and his words, thoughts and actions come as genuine responses flowing from within — the script falls away and Shakespeare’s character emerges as a real, conflicted, engaged man.  He’s all over the stage.  He gives himself completely, with a great actor’s generosity, to the performance.

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Broadway Review | Exit The King by Eugene Ionesco | Starring Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon | Ethel Barrymore Theater

… everything theater …

Exit the King is a hilarious parable, transported to the other worldly by marvelous music, dazzlingly written, with profundity hidden behind the comic mask.  It’s everything theater should be — including outstanding performers and a brilliantly intelligent production.  You could not have a better time than at Exit the King.

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Broadway Review | Schiller’s Mary Stuart | A New Version by Peter Oswald | Starring Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter

whose history?

The situation of Mary Stuart is that Elizabeth I, the Protestant daughter of Henry VIII (see this post for reference), is Queen of England and Mary, formerly Queen of the Scots, a devout Catholic, is in prison in London for murdering her husband and plotting against the English throne.  Egged on by various plotters and courtly connivers, the two engage in contest of wills:  Mary seeks to be freed, while Elizabeth hesitates to execute her for ethical reasons and to avoid turning her into a martyr for the Catholic cause.  Mary is finally executed, Elizabeth claiming it was done without her specific bidding.

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Broadway Review | New Thoughts on A Man For All Seasons | on Broadway and in film

We are happy and grateful — and fascinated — to have received a guest post with new information on A Man For All Seasons.  For the review of the production this blog is responding to, see my review here.  It helps me understand why the production seemed somewhat flat to me … how about you? YK

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Review | Dividing the Estate by Horton Foote | Directed by Michael Wilson | Booth Theatre

Dividing the Estate is a tv sitcom elevated to Broadway.  A south Texas family gathers at the family manse to tussle over the large farming estate pinched by encroaching urbanism, a bow to Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.  No one in this family is rich any more, some are nearly destitute, and all at one time or another are pushing for Mother to divide the estate so they can get theirs.  The Matriarch dominates the dining table and the children, servants, and significant others take their places in equally expectable ways.  Even the deaths that occur are totally predictable, as are the jokes.

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Review | American Buffalo by David Mamet | Cedric the Entertainer, John Leguizamo and Haley Josel Osment | Belasco Theatre

… Creative Transformation …

Van Gogh, in his painting The Night Cafe turns a down and outers’ bar into a church, recreating its denizens in the process.  In David Mamet’s American Buffalo, we come to see a low-life junk shop as a home and its loser occupants gain a big win — a family.

This play is in many ways the opposite of A Man for All Seasons, recently reviewed here on Let’s Talk Off Broadway.  Instead of men in high positions loftily debating issues of Universal Importance, it’s about three at the bottom of the ladder planning a heist with profanity peppered language.  These men have vast failings but genuine feelings they don’t themselves know until the hot circumstances and cause and effect of the failed heist bring them deeper understanding.

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