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

Category: Off-Broadway Theater Page 2 of 30

Yvonne Korshak writes Let’s Talk Off-Broadway fired by the sense that the best theater in New York City is off-Broadway and she wants to spread the word. She conveys the essence of the show – what’s this play about? What would it be like to see it? How is it wonderful? And where might it be stronger?

A. A. Milne and Christopher Robin Milne. Photo Howard Coster, half-plate film negative, 1926. rightsandimages@npg.org.uk

Review | The Lucky One | By A. A. Milne | Mint Theater Company | Directed by Jesse Marchese

… not so lucky … 

Set in a well-to-do English environment of the early twentieth century, The Lucky One is a story of two brothers:  Gerald (Robert David Grant), the younger, the parents’ favorite, is blithely successful at everything, from sports, to girl friends, to his big job in the foreign office.  Bob (Ari Brand), farmed out to a barrister’s office where he never should have been (but then, where should he be?), seethes with jealousy and bitterness.

And now the primal insult: Gerald has stolen Bob’s girl, Pamela (Paton Ashbrook).

Gary McNair in A Gambler's Guide to Dying. Photo: Benjamin Cowie

Review | A Gambler’s Guide to Dying | Written and Performed by Gary McNair | Directed by Gareth Nicholls | 59E59 Theaters

storytelling

Actor-author Gary McNair recounts his granddad’s excitement at winning a big bet on the 1966 World Cup, and a lifelong quest to recreate the thrill.

Review | Oslo | By J. T. Rogers | Directed by Bartlett Sher | Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center

… at the gates of war … 

No conflicts seem more stubbornly unsolvable in modern politics and history than the hostilities between Israelis and Arabs.   How fascinating that there were, in fact, secret negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, enabled by idealistic,  peace-seeking Norwegians, that resulted in a signed agreement in 1993, the first of the Oslo accords.   Oslo tells the that story in such a way that the audience is caught up in the suspense of high stakes history.

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.

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.

The playwright ponders ... Pierre Corneille by an unknown 17th century artist. Bibliotheque Nationale de France.

Review | The Liar | By David Ives | Adapted from Corneille’s play Le Menteur | Directed by Michael Kahn | Classic Stage Company

… bold brilliance …

This play is for everybody who loves words, word play, unexpected puns and rhymes of an unbound imagination.  It’s hilarious –and expands one’s sense of the English language.

“I-don’t-know-what-I-can-save-you-from”-By-Neil-LaBute-with-Richard-Kind-Gia-Crovatin.j

Review | AdA (Author directing Author) | Power | La MaMa

Written and Directed by Neil LaBute, Marco Calvani, Marta Buchaca

Each playwright wrote one of these short plays, directed by another of the authors, and the acting is for the most part stellar.   It’s a brisk and engrossing evening of theater.

Benjamin Eett as the Mariner. Photo Carol Goldfarb

Review | Albatross | By Matthew Spangler and Benjamin Evett | Starring Benjamin Evett | Inspired by “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge | 59E59 Theaters

“Sometimes there is no why … ” The Mariner

In Albatross, Benjamin Evett gives us a surpassing performance in a magnificent play.

Alone on the stage, Benjamin Evett contends with the wind and waves, the details of his ship’s rigging, loneliness, madness, thirst, hunger, loss, memories, yearnings, cruelty, and the guilt of having caused the arbitrary death of an innocent, friendly creature.  His is an ultimate human voyage.  We are lucky to have so compelling an actor as Evett to take us on this journey:  he keeps us tight beside him all the way.

Austin Pendleton as Paul and Eric Joshua Davis as David

Review | Consider the Lilies | Written and Directed by Stuart Fail | House Red Theatre Company

… Socrates and Alcibiades? …

I wanted to see Consider the Lilies because Austin Pendleton is such a fascinating actor to watch:  he didn’t disappoint here, but he’s the main element of interest. (Pendleton is also a fine director, though he didn’t direct this play.)

Review | The Band’s Visit | Music & Lyrics by David Yazbek | Book by Itamar Moses | Atlantic Theater Company

…. cultural ambassadors …

A travel weary Egyptian ceremonial police band on their way to play a concert in the Israeli city of Petah Tikva get off the bus by mistake at the small town of Bet Hatikva (you can see how that mistake can be made). There won’t be another bus until morning.  Thank heavens for the mistake – or we wouldn’t have this wonderful musical!

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