Let's Talk Off Broadway

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

Tag: Austin Pendleton

Jean Lichty at the early feminist NORA, and Todd Gearhart as her husband, Torvald in Bergman's NORA after Ibsen's A Doll's House

Review | Nora | by Ingmar Bergman | After Ibsen’s A Doll’s House | Directed by Austin Pendleton

… a doll’s household … 

Jean Lichty at the early feminist NORA, and Todd Gearhart as her husband, Torvald in Bergman's NORA after Ibsen's A Doll's House

Todd Gearhart as Torvald and Jean Lichty as Nora. Photo Carol Rosegg

In the name of “crystallization,” Bergman’s paring down of Ibsen’s compelling play with its early feminist theme sticks to the plot but gives us fewer ways to know the characters.  It puts major, inner change on fast forward — making for an unconvincing drama.

Read More

L-R Sean Walsh and Austin Pendleton. Photo Bobby Caputo

Review | Chinese Coffee | By Ira Lewis | Directed by Louise Lasser | With Sean Walsh and Austin Pendleton | On The Wind Productions | Roy Arias Stage II Theater

This is a suspenseful play of psychological gamesmanship between an older mentor and a younger, less educated but talented writer.  The psychological unfolding is filled with suspense.  Jake (Pendleton), a 50-year old photographer and bookish older guy is weary and, as the play begins, tensely avoiding Harry (Walsh), 44 years old, who, just having lost a make-do job as a doorman, penniless, pushes in to Jake’s stifling apartment looking for some money Jake owes him. 

Read More

Review | Gidion’s Knot by Johnna Adams | Directed by Austin Pendleton | With Karen Leiner and Dara O’Brien | 59E59 Theaters

… truth …

Gidion’s Knot is an intense gem.  Two persons, a mother, Caryn (Leiner) and a grade school teacher, Heather (O’Brien) are engaged, during a parent-teacher conference in a taut  offensive-defensive search for truth.

L-R Karen Leiner and Dara O'Brien.  Photo by Carol Rosegg

L-R Karen Leiner and Dara O’Brien.  Photo by Carol Rosegg

Read More

Review | Ivanov by Anton Chekhov | Translated by Carol Rocamora | Directed by Austin Pendleton | With Ethan Hawke as Ivanov | Classic Stage Company

Ivanov is not as perfect a play as Chekhov’s Three Sisters (at Classic Stage) or The Cherry Orchard, which came later,  but I enjoyed it even more — filled with fascinating and amusing characters, it spills over into a rambunctious panorama of life.  That’s all the more amazing because — characteristically Chekhov — the characters like to proclaim that they’re  “bored ” but the play is vital and engaging — how does he do it?  One thing:  the writing is marvelous.  And in this Classic Stage production, the acting is superb, and Austin Pendleton’s naturalistic, soft-voiced direction highly effective in drawing you in and making you believe.

Read More

Review | A Minister’s Wife | A Musical Theater Version of George Bernard Shaw’s Candida | Book by Austin Pendleton | Music by Joshua Schmidt | Lyrics by Jan Levy Tranen | Conceived and Directed by Michael Halberstam | Lincoln Center

A big problem for A Minister’s Wife is that, unlike most of Shaw’s plays, Candida is in my view — though others disagree — dated.  It has to do with a woman determining her own fate but the ideas circulating about relationships between men and women, marriage and love, are archaic — and there’s barely a spoonful of Shavian wit.  These problems were evident in the recent production of Candida  by the Irish Repertory Theater , and setting some speeches to music, as in A Minister’s Wife, doesn’t make them go away.

Read More

Review | Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov | Translated by Paul Schmidt | Directed by Austin Pendleton | Classic Stage Company

… three ages of women …

Chekhov wrote Three Sisters for production on a proscenium stage but I think he would have been thrilled to see this expansion of his work in Classic Stage’s magnificent large and high performance space.  The potential breadth of Three Sisters is fulfilled in a way I’ve never seen before: the philosophical vision, the psychology and the drama enlarge as if here they’ve found a space to unfold their wings.

Read More

Review | Vieux Carre by Tennessee Williams | Directed by Austin Pendleton | Pearl Theatre Company

… streetcar named memory …

The setting is a run-down boarding house in New Orleans’ French Quarter in the 1930’s and you know you’re in good hands from the first moment.  The house is empty now, The Writer comments at the start, remembering when he lived there, but clearly it isn’t — Mrs. Wire, the landlady is on stage even before the play begins.  With that brilliant contradiction, Williams conveys the paradox of memory.

Read More

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén