Let's Talk Off Broadway

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

Tag: Flea Theater Page 2 of 3

Watch  out for that that telescope! ...  Allison Buck as Amanda, Seth Moore as Worthy. Photo Aaron Zebrock

Review | Restoration Comedy by Amy Freed | Directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar | Featuring The Bats | Flea Theater

Winter doldrums? … Let Restoration Comedy completely restore you!

Magic unfolds in the relatively small performing space of the Flea Theater flanked by a few rows of audience seats.  That central space comes alive with color, wit, music, dance, energy.  In fact the energy spills from the stage throughout the theater — at the entrance actors costumed in the flounce and style of the 17th Century greet you with drinks and mill everywhere to talk with you, get to know you in the way of director Iskandar’s immersive theater — seen last season in the Flea’s masterful production of These Seven Sicknesses

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L-R Danny Rivera as Pedro, Ariel Woodiwiss as Lena, Kathy Najima as Phyllis, Reg E Cathey as Pontius. Photo Hunter Canning

Review | Heresy by A. R. Gurney | Directed by Jim Simpson | Flea Theater

Heresy is topical, very funny, and totally enjoyable modern parable filled with references to today’s politics and based, roughly, on the life of Christ.  Some of the characters have Biblical names, like Mary for the mother of Chris, her idealistic, purist son currently in jail.  But Gurney’s a wonderfully surprising playwright so you can’t guess from that what to expect.

Gurney's Heresy at the Flea Theater

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Review | Job by Thomas Bradshaw | Directed by Benjamin H. Kamine | Featuring The Bats | Flea Theater

… why do the righteous playgoers suffer? …

The story of Job reinterpreted by a contemporary playwright:  what an intriguing idea.  Exotic times and places — here the ancient Near East — are appealing.  And a play that takes you to supernatural venues, like Heaven, as this play does, and to actually “see” God, at home, so to speak, always have an extra magnetism. 

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Satomi Blair as Jocasta, photo Laura June Kirsch, courtesy Flea Theater

Review | These Seven Sicknesses by Sean Graney | Directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar | Flea Theater | Featuring The Bats

 

Allison Buck as Tekmessa and Grant Harrison as Ajax, photo Laura June Kirsch, courtesy Flea Theater

Allison Buck as Tekmessa and Grant Harrison as Ajax, photo Laura June Kirsch, courtesy Flea Theater

If you’re lucky enough to see These Seven Sicknesses, you’re in for a rich adventure.  It’s like setting sail.  First of all, you’ll walk in to a party — there’s a buzz, the actors, in costume, are there to talk with you, offering to bring you water or wine.  This is transformative, opening you to whatever’s going to happen soon on the stage, that is, the wood floor between the facing banks of the audience.   

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Review | Looking at Christmas by Steven Banks | Directed by Jim Simpson | Flea Theater | World Premiere

News Flash 12/15/2011:  The Flea’s Romantic Holiday Comedy
Looking at Christmas Comes to TV
December 21 – 25 on Thirteen WNET

Thirteen WNET will air The Flea Theater’s acclaimed 2010 production of Looking at Christmas by Steven Banks (head writer of SpongeBob SquarePants) beginning December 21. Filmed live at The Flea last year, this romantic comedy set in front of New York’s famed holiday window displays is directed by Jim Simpson and features The Bats, The Flea’s resident company of actors. Broadcasts on Thirteen WNET are slated for Dec. 21 at 10pm; Dec. 23rd at 3am, and Dec. 25 at 11pm. Check your local listing for airdates in other markets.  Here’s the review (Dec. 2010 )

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Future Anxiety | Raul Sigmund Julia as Malcolm sets down his heavy bucket for a moment as Holly Chou as Comrade Li profers a creation. Photo: Richarde Termine

Review | Future Anxiety by Laurel Haines | Directed by Jim Simpson | Flea Theater

                … normalcy meets end of world …

Future Anxiety is a vast, crisp ensemble play that brings you to the future by following through on everything that’s undermining our earth as we know and love it.  “Vast” even though it all takes place in The Flea’s rather small Off-Off-Broadway theater but when this talented group gets through with it — it seems positively epic! 

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Review | Looking at Christmas by Steven Banks | Directed by Jim Simpson | Flea Theater | World Premiere

The Flea’s Romantic Holiday Comedy
Looking at Christmas Comes to TV
December 21 – 25 on Thirteen WNET

Thirteen WNET will air The Flea Theater’s acclaimed 2010 production of Looking at Christmas by Steven Banks (head writer of SpongeBob SquarePants) beginning December 21. Filmed live at The Flea last year, this romantic comedy set in front of New York’s famed holiday window displays is directed by Jim Simpson and features The Bats, The Flea’s resident company of actors. Broadcasts on Thirteen WNET are slated for Dec. 21 at 10pm; Dec. 23rd at 3am, and Dec. 25 at 11pm. Check your local listing for air dates in other markets.  Here’s the review.

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Office Hours by A. R. Gurney | Directed by Jim Simpson | Featuring The Bats | Flea Theater

… twilight of the Great Books …

Office Hours is a tender and passionate love story about — the love Humanities professors hold for the great books of the western tradition just when the core focus (aka “privileging”) of these books is on the way out.  It’s also a fine comedy.

We’re in the late 1960’s, and in a flexible, amusing setting of young professors’ offices.  The profs are all teaching sections of the required two-semester Western Tradition core course but they’re worried.  Rumor has it that this course is to be eliminated.  No more core.  Good-bye dead white males.  The young teachers, concerned individually about their futures, share an overriding concern: for Homer, Aeschylus, Virgil, Dante and Shakespeare.

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Review | Little Gem by Elaine Murphy | Presented by Guna Nua/Civic Theatre, Ireland and Flea Theater

… the three ages of woman …

In Little Gem, three women — brilliant actors all — face the audience to recount their characters’ personal stories.  In this the play reminds me of Journeys, produced in New York a little over a year ago (reviewed by me here), though in Journeys the seven stories are united only by the theme of the women’s struggles for human rights in seven countries.  In Little Gem the uniting factor is that they are of one, modest Dublin family, though you don’t know that right away.  As they take turns speaking, the spotlight shifting from one to another, we learn that they are daughter, mother, grandmother, their individual dramatic monologs blending like streams into a river into one narrative.

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Review | The Great Recession | Plays by Thomas Bradshaw, Sheila Callaghan, Erin Courtney, Will Eno, Itamar Moses and Adam Rapp | Flea Theater

The Flea is presenting six plays by six authors, each with some reference to the recession.  The actors are drawn from The Flea’s “Bats,” the young, capable and energetic actors of their resident company — you find yourself hoping for a good show at least as much for them as for yourself, but it doesn’t happen.  For most of the plays, the link to the recession is so synthetic it doesn’t matter.  The plays don’t matter much either, which is too bad for what must have seemed like a good idea.

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