Let's Talk Off Broadway

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

Tag: Signature Theatre

Review | The Antipodes | By Annie Baker | Signature Theatre

… bored room …

The Antipodes is a distasteful play.

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Review | Master Harold and the Boys | Written and Directed by Athol Fugard | Signature Theatre

… careless triumph …

Master Harold and the Boys moves with this compelling force of a Greek tragedy.  It’s classic and iconic, and must be seen.  It is profound in character and social vision.

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Review | Angel Reapers | By Martha Clarke and Alfred Uhry | Signature Theatre

Directed and Choreographed by Martha Clarke

Here again Martha Clarke has given us a lovely new creation of her unique vision, a theatrical union of dance, music and narrative.  Although Angel Reapers, about repression and ecstasy among the Shakers, is a smaller, less commanding theater piece than Clarke’s Garden of Earthly Delights and her staging of  Threepenny Opera, it has her mark.

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Review | Incident At Vichy | By Arthur Miller | Directed by Michael Wilson | Signature Theatre

… and then there were none … 

In many ways, this is Arthur Miller’s most pessimistic play, and also perhaps his greatest.  At least, this outstanding production makes it seem it is.

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Review | Love & Money by A. R. Gurney | Directed by Mark Lamos | Signature Theatre

Will the rich dowager be fooled by the tall, handsome and, in her WASP world, exotic Black con man who has a lot of smooth dance moves?  That is the question.

Cornelia, a wealthy WASP dowager (emphasis on WASP is Gurney’s) is closing down her house with all its rich furnishings (great set by Michael Yeargan) to move to some sort of elder living which she with vivacious irony refers to as a “nursing home.”

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Review | The Painted Rocks At Revolver Creek | Written and Directed by Athol Fugard | Signature Theatre

The World Premiere of a Superb Play

Nukain is an uneducated black farm laborer working in South Africa during the period of apartheid who has nothing of his own but a vision: he paints brilliant designs on bare rocks, creating beauty out of bare bones nothing. This stunning play presses forward with the intensity of a Greek tragedy.

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Review | The Mound Builders by Lanford Wilson | Directed by Jo Bonney | Signature Theatre | Pershing Square Signature Center

A group of archaeologists and others attached to them are holed up in and around what’s referred to as a modest, rustic cabin — but the set presents us with a vast lodge — engaged in excavating a series of mounds in Illinois left by pre-Columbian tribes. Early in the play our sympathies fall with them, as high minded scholars seeking to advance knowledge about an early civilization, led by the august Professor, August Howe. But the play is clever in that the self-interested local, a macho brute of a guy, Chad Jasker, who wants to make his fortune developing the land, gains on our sympathies, or at least our understanding, at the same time that we are learning more and more about how crude and self centered he is.    

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Review | The Train Driver | Written and Directed by Athol Fugard | With Leon Addison Brown and Ritchie Coster | Signature Theatre

 … inadvertent …

Among the Fugard plays I’ve seen, this — possibly excepting the iconic The Island  — is the finest.   It’s intense, with a driving force.  Especially interesting, although race figures importantly, the tragedy isn’t driven by race but by common humanity — weaknesses and all.  I wonder if some would argue that point.  It’s certainly not characteristic of Fugard.  But just as the characters transcend race, so does the play’s driving idea.

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Review | Blood Knot | Written and Directed by Athol Fugard | Starring Colman Domingo as Zachariah and Scott Shepherd as Morris | Signature Theatre

… Who wears the suit ?….

Set in South Africa in 1961, during apartheid, Blood Knot tells the story of two brothers, one who looks White and the other Black. They’re sons of one black mother each with a different father and, as is said of the one who looks completely White, “It happens.”

They were treated differently from the moment of birth.  How do we know? The older got the Biblical “Black” name of Zachariah, while the younger. born looking White, was given a “White” name: Morris.

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Review | The Illusion by Tony Kushner | Adapted from Pierre Corneille’s L’Illusion Comique | Directed by Michael Mayer | Signature Theatre

… “an extravagant trifle” …

The Illusion is well produced, stunningly acted, and trivial.  It’s interesting, though, for the attention it brings to formal aspects in theater history.  When Corneille wrote L’Illusion Comique in 1635, it was highly experimental for the time — daring variations on the theme of how to write a play by a young but experienced playwright (7 plays written by the age of 29).  As one would surely learn if one took the course in college, in L’Illusion Comique Corneille breaks with the three classic unities of action, time and place, mixes various traditions – tragic-comedy, pastoral, Commedia del’arte, etc. — and incorporates not one (as in Hamlet) but multiple plays within a play, the characters’ names changing in concert.  This play about the evanescence of all things is as confusing as it’s meant to be.  It’s very much a precocious — by close to 400 years — exercise in deconstruction

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