Cover design by Rodrigo Corral Studio/Alvaro Dominguez
Reviews by Kitty Drexel
Theatre Communications Group (TCG) recently released plays, Evening at the Talk House by Wallace Shawn, Ripcord by David Lindsay-Abaire, and The Motherfucker with the Hat by Stephen Adley Guirgis. These books were offered in exchange for an objective, unbiased review. They were all pretty good. Two of the three will appeal more to Boston-area actors and theatre than the other. I’ll let you guess which ones are which. Continue reading →
Unbiased reviews for plays are written in exchange for hard copies. Theatre Communications Group has kindly forwarded Three Sisters by Chekhov and adapted by Tracy Letts, and Marjorie Prime by Jordan Harrison to The New England Theatre Geek.
Summary from the TCG website: “In a series of elegant, nonchronological scenes spanning the years from 1946 to 2015, the play hopscotches through Mary Page Marlowe’s quiet existence as an accountant from Ohio—complicating notions of what it means to lead a ‘simple life’.”Continue reading →
(NY, NY) I cannot take seriously any play that describes its lead female role as “intimidatingly bright” in its character description. It’s the kind of description that communicates to any intelligent reader that the the playwright has no business writing “strong female characters.” I read the rest, but my heart wasn’t in it. Continue reading →
John by Annie Baker Published by TCG (NYC) in June 2016 $14.95 paperback $30.00 hardcover www.tcg.org
Review by Kitty Drexel
I was given a gratis copy of John by TCG in return for my review. My opinions are my own. Anyone who thinks otherwise can fight me.
TCG summarizes the play thusly, “the week after Thanksgiving. A Bed & Breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. A cheerful innkeeper. A young couple struggling to stay together. Thousands of inanimate objects, watching.” The truth is much creepier than that.
Elias and Jenny are traveling through Gettysburg on a mini-vacation. They are a textbook example of pre-breakup behaviors: they don’t value each other’s struggles or input. They are distant to the point of unintentional neglect. They are staying at Mertis’ freezing cold bed and breakfast. Mertis has awkward boundaries. She doesn’t read between the lines. Neither do they. As the play unfolds, the couple is forced to confront their self-absorbed assumptions regarding each other. Everything and nothing is a metaphor for their experiences. Continue reading →
“If the sea were to shout,
we would all be deaf.”
– Carlos Fuentes, “Destiny and Desire”
“Sotto Voce: A Play” Nilo Cruz TCG Books Theatre Communications Group, New York, 2016 $14.95 Available: http://www.tcg.org/; https://www.amazon.com/; and other purveyors of fine dramatic literature.
Review by Kitty Drexel
(New York, NY) Sotto Voce is a three person (two women, one man) play about the ways we harness our fears to confront the past and understand our consequential future. Playwright Cruz’s prose lilts off the tongue like a lover’s kiss. His character interactions sweep the stage of the imagination like poetry: gentle, unrushed but intense. Yet, his script is not without its thematic and dynamic problems. With the exception of two German characters revealed in flashback, these individuals manipulate each other with little compassion.Continue reading →
Review of The Book of Grace by Suzan-Lori Parks Published by Theatre Communications Group (TCG) New York, NY $14.95
Review by Kitty Drexel
The Book of Grace is a three-person drama set in rural Texas near the Mexican/American border. Grace is a kind-hearted waitress who stubbornly believes in hope and the human capacity for good. She invites her step-son Buddy home to reunite with his father, Vet. Vet is an honored border security guard obsessed with the wall with abusive tendencies. Buddy is the adult-son, military dropout that Vet abandoned for a new life with Grace. While all three search for common ground, Vet’s unforgivable sins surface to haunt their new lives. The Book of Grace is a companion piece to Parks’ Topdog/Underdog.Continue reading →
(New York, NY) Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys is a christian organization founded on the mission to turn black boys into strong, ethical men… So long as the boys obey authority without question, these boys will grow into men who will do as they are told. This is how Charles R. Drew is expected to run. The reality is quite different. Continue reading →
A compilation of four selected scripts in the Undesirable Elements series by writer, director and producer Ping Chong as well as collaborator interviews and methodology. These poly-language scripts demonstrate the potential to combine the arts of storytelling, theater and poetry into a community building/affirming production. These performances are capable of reaching out to a broader theater audience (an audience perhaps jaded by conventional theater) to experience dramatic communication in ways that some artists only dream of. It is art that uses personal experience to reveal truths of the larger world community rather than using art to glorify aspects of “Other” within a community. Undesirable Elements offers a shocking exploration of the lives of social outsiders and presents them as whole, human people sometimes contrary to the perception of much of society. These works refreshingly present the players’ perspective without unintended bias. Because bias exists whether it is intended or not. Continue reading →