Let's Talk Off Broadway

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

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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).

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Questioning the Past at Rojas' The Theater of Disappearance. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Roof Garden. All photos Robert Ruben and Yvonne Korshak.

Art Review | The Theater of Disappearance by Adrián Villar Rojas | Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden

… the party’s over …

A. Villar Rojas, The Theater of Disappearance, Metropolitan Museum Roof Garden, Summer 2017

It looks like a party — all those banquet tables (my heart lifted as I thought we’d be served refreshments!)   But don’t try to take a seat.  Only one figure is seated at a table, and his plate is empty (left).

As you move through this world of white, you see the tables are cluttered with elegant but toppled empty goblets, plates and platters with ancient imagery, askew, moldy rolls, chicken bones and scavenger crabs.  On others tables are recumbent figures, alive and dead, writhing humans entwined with tomb effigies. Black sculptures, with chalky white dust drifted onto them, surround and punctuate the “banquet.”

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A. Villar Rojas, The Theater of Disappearance, Metropolitan Museum Roof Garden, Summer 2017

Art Review | First Look and The NY Times got it all wrong | The Theater of Disappearance | Adrian Villar Rojas | Metropolitan Museum Roof Garden

  • The New York Times got it All WRONG.  
  • I kid you not.

* Friday, April 14, 2017, Weekend Arts II, “A Mini-Met Mashup on the Roof” by Jason Farago

It’s no mashup.  My own review will follow as quickly as I can write it.  Meanwhile, have a look …

For my full review, go up one or click here.

The Theater of Disappearance, Rojas' rooftop installation for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, Summer 2017

A Musical DEcomposition   (my title)

A Musical Decomposition. Rojas' The Theater of Disappearance, Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Installation Summer 2017

A Musical DEcomposition — detail

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.

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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.

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Strongman, Qindynasty (221-206 B.C.), Terracotta, H. 61 3/4 in. (156.8 cm), Lent by Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum.

Art Review | Age Of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin & Han Dynasties (221 B.C.-A.D.220) | Metropolitan Museum of Art

… when China became China …

Here is an opportunity to see some of the most remarkable objects of art and archaeology excavated in China.  Because some are so lavish, and in some cases unique, a number have been featured in Western publications including newspapers and magazines, but most have never been seen outside of China.The Qin and Han dynasties together make up the classical period of Chinese art and culture, when the basic forms of political organization and intellectual and artistic paradigms were formed.   The key theme of this period, and of this exhibition, is unification of the vast territory of China under the powerful Qin emperor, Qinshihuang, and its maintenance and expansion in the Han dynasty.

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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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The 17th Century Actor Edward Kynaston

Review | Prince of Players | Opera by Carlisle Floyd | New York Premier | Little Opera Theatre of NY

… what a difference a king makes …

In Prince of Players, a private, personal and intimate story – that of an actor thrown out of work by a King’s decree — plays out against a canvas of broad historical meaning.  Although I’ve seen thoughts to the contrary, I found it monumental, and Carlisle Floyd’s swelling, varied music, performed by a cast of fine singer-actors supported by a full orchestra fulfills and amplifies the strong emotions and large resonances.

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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.

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