Let's Talk Off Broadway

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

Tag: Flea Theater (Page 1 of 3)

TEACHER AND STUDENT L-R Dan Amboyer as Dan Proctor and Rodney Richardson and Gerald Caskey. Photo Joan Marcus.

Review | Two Class Acts | Two Premieres by A. R. Gurney | Directed by Stafford Arima | Flea Theater

… when the syllabus is better than the class … 

Two one-act plays by A. R. Gurney are presented in tandem, Ajax, as in the ancient Greek hero, and Squash, as in the game.  Having enjoyed many Gurney plays, I was keen to see these but Ajax and Squash are not Gurney at his best.

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Hecuba and the women of Troy confront Helen in Euripides' The Trojan Women at the Flea Theater, September 2016,

Review | Euripides’ The Trojan Women | Adapted by Ellen McLaughlin | Directed by Anne Cecelia Haney | Flea Theater

“Another war has ended.  When will the next begin?”  Poseidon    

The Trojan Women is a daring and astonishing a play — it sails against the waves of the expected on  all counts.

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Adam Rapp's Wolf In The River at The Flea Theater. Kate Thulin, Jack Ellis and Michael Swift ... and audience looking on. Photo Hunter-Canning

Review | Wolf In The River | Written and Directed by Adam Rapp | Featuring the Bats | Flea Theater

… why we go to the theater …

This is great theater.  It’s hard to separate the play itself from the creative staging and perfect acting but it all adds up to as stunning a theatrical experience as anyone ever needs to have.

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Tony Shalhoub as Willie and Brooke Adams as Winnie in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days at the Flea Theater

Review | Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days | Starring Brooke Adams and Tony Shalhoub | Flea Theater

   … for the ages …

Brooke Adams as Winnie in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days

Making the best of it … Brooke Adams as Winnie. Photo Joan Marcus.

Brooke Adams’ Winnie is as great a tour de force as I’ve ever seen in theater.  As she speaks, what’s everyday for most of us becomes, for this poetically, physically, allegorically limited woman, heroic.   Adams is “on” most of the play, it’s a near monolog, but Tony Shalhoub as Willie balances her greatness, reduced in old age to strain against his set of physical limitations to save her.  Brooke Adams and Tony Shalhoub in Happy Days are breathtaking.

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Review | The Nomad | World Premiere | Book and Lyrics by Elizabeth Swados and Erin Courtney | Composed and Directed by Elizabeth Swados | Choreographer Ani Taj | Flea Theater

… nothing missed …

Teri Madonna and Friend Photo: Isaiah Tanenbaum

Teri Madonna and Friend Photo: Isaiah Tanenbaum

The opening afternoon of The Nomad was a cold winter Sunday: we made it from the subway to The Flea as falling snow cloaked everything in all-over veils of white to gray … and then the show began.  What a burst of color, brightness, and music, what delicious vibrance, as the play carries you to North Africa and its hot deserts.

With insistent percussive music saturated with North African overtones, theatrical effects to delight and astonish, and the superb performance of Teri Madonna in the lead role, it tells the story of Isabelle Eberhardt (1877-1904), a well-educated Swiss woman who left Europe to immerse herself in North Africa culture and the Sahara desert.  She dressed as a man for the freedom it afforded her, converted to Islam, married an Algerian, wrote about North Africa, and died in a flash flood and died at the age of 27.

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Danielle Slavick and Stephen Barker Turner. Photo Hunter Canning.

Review | I See You by Kate Robin | Directed by Jim Simpson | Flea Theater

Danielle Slavick and Stephen Barker Turner. Photo Hunter Canning.
Danielle Slavick and Stephen Barker Turner. Photo Hunter Canning.

This play is a compendium of current topical concerns about the environment, junk food and junk in our food, etc., built around a romance between a man and a woman, each with children and each married to someone else.

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Colin Waitt as Jesus and the cast. Photo Jonathan Hollingsworth

Review | The Mysteries, 52 Episodes From the Bible Written by 48 Playwrights | World Premier | Conceived and Directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar | Dramaturg Jill Rafson | Featuring The Bats | Flea Theater

The Mysteries is one whopper of a project!

It’s an epic telling of the Old and New Testaments, referring to Medieval and later “mystery plays” of the life of Christ, 52 episodes more or less in sequence divided into three parts:  The Fall, The Sacrifice, The Kingdom.  Written by 48 playwrights, it’s performed by 54 actors who act, sing and

Sarah Keyes of the Angel Chorus. Photo Hunter Canning

Sarah Keyes of the Angel Chorus. Photo Hunter Canning

dance 78 parts or so in 5 ½ hours, all taking place on the relatively small performance space of the Flea, with the audience in touching distance of the actors, and not only that, it includes dinner! .

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Carolyn McCormick and Peter Scolari. Photo Joan Marcus

Review | Family Furniture by A. R. Gurney | Directed by Thomas Kail | Flea Theater

“My ancestors fought the Indians along the Mohawk River before they signed up with George Washington,” says Russell, father of the family. “Your mother’s great great grandfather helped plan and design the Erie Canal.” This is an amusing, beautifully observed and perfectly acted play about an upper class “WASP” family — Gurney’s favorite territory — on the cusp of social change in the aftermath of World War II.  It’s set in 1954 at a summer lake house near Buffalo, NY. 

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L-R John Paul Harkins, Whitney Conkling and Matthew Cox.  Photo Hunter Canning

Review | Sarah Flood In Salem Mass by Adriano Shaplin | Directed by Rebecca Wright | Featuring The Bats | Flea Theatre

Costumed actors take your tickets, will for a modest amount pour you a glass of wine, and engage in gorgeous and intriguing dance-like interactions in front of a stunning backdrop of silky delicately-toned hangings.   It makes you sure you’re in for great theater.  Once Sarah Flood in Salem Mass starts, though, the fun dissipates.   With its reference to the Salem Witch Trials, the play takes on the trappings of seriousness but flings itself into making a jumble of the actual events and persons;  that could be OK, except that it offers no thoughts or ideas in return for its use of this tragic historical episode and the multitudes who suffered hideously because of it.

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Review | The Vandal by Hamish Linklater | Directed by Jim Simpson | Flea Theater (returning March 22-31, another chance to see it!)

ak bleak bleak — a bold way to start a play, but it works wonderfully.  Strangers, a woman and a boy, on a cold, road at night, next to a cemetery, waiting for a bus, but the vivid characters bring it to warm, pulsating life — which is exactly the point. 

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