(Watertown, MA) It is no wonder that America didn’t suspect that Adolf Hilter was a major threat to Europe, Germany, or the world. His staff lead a campaign that depicted him as a congenial yet private Everyman with a love of children and the outdoors. This branding made Hitler out to be a decent guy, not the Jew, intellectual, and LGBT hating dictator he was. America didn’t recognize Hitler for the power-hungry villain he was until it was almost too late. Marketing works, people. Raw Story has an excellent, rather brief article up. I highly suggest reading it for theatrical and historical perspective.Continue reading →
(Boston) Absence, Peter M. Floyd’s first full length play, is a multi-layered and filmic production at Boston Playwright’s Theatre which was both a terror and a joy to see.
At a slim 90 minutes without intermission, it is finely focused on Helen, who in her 70s experiences the slowly squeezing hand of time on her body and mind, but not her soul. Kippy Goldfarb, who stepped up when Joanna Merlin took ill, as Helen is a clear and self-possessed woman, and it is hard to believe that Helen could, in fact, be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s at all. Helen’s passion play is underscored by a serious exploration of how her family and herself must undertake to keep her as safe and as sane as possible. Continue reading →
(Boston) At a time when nostalgia for the eighties is heightening (neon, rubber bracelets, leg warmers,
cut off tees), Jon Robin Baitz reminds us that our recent past was neither as lavish or simple
as we would like to contain it. As the last of the Reaganite politicians cling desperately to
the “grand old party,” gen-xers (like myself) try to find meaning out of a part of seeming trivial
history. Baitz sends a thermobaric weapon to the Wyeth household in the form of Brooke Wyeth, played by Anne Gottlieb. Continue reading →
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune is a difficult play to stage. The tight, witty, intelligent romance by Terrence McNally requires a comparable production that will not fall flat; New Repertory Theatre’s current production rises to the challenge.
A two-person play needs two strong actors. Anne Gottlieb and Robert Pemberton deliver beyond expectations. Not only are they strong individual actors, but they also thrive as a couple. While Terrence McNally has said that the play is a “romantic fairytale”, the play would not hold an audience’s attention if it was not grounded in genuine, believable characters. As Robert Pemberton speaks every line, his eyes reveal the sincerity of his heart. Over the span of one night, Johnny’s profession of love could seem ludicrous, even threatening—except for the fact that this Johnny is truly sincere and truly loves Frankie. Ann Gottlieb walks the delicate line between being fragile and resilient. If she does not display strength, the character of Johnny would crush her; at the same time, the character of Frankie has been hurt and the vulnerability still has to be there to create the tension. As Frankie, Gottlieb has found this balance so that the character can hold her own against Johnny, but still fear the pain of heartbreak. Gottlieb and Pemberton completely draw the audience in to Frankie and Johnny’s struggle where one can’t help but fight with them for the connection to something that can last. They ARE Frankie and Johnny—trying to be more than just a couple of “bodies bumping around in the night”. Continue reading →