Mar 20

A Spanish/English Duel: “Romeo & Julieta”

The first kiss. Gorgeous artwork by Eric Davila.

ROMEO Y JULIETA
Presented by The Public Theater
By William Shakespeare
Adapted by Saheem Ali & Ricardo Pérez González
Based on the Spanish Translation by Alfredo Michel Modenessi
Directed by Saheem Ali
Bilingual podcast to be presented in partnership with WNYC Studios
Featuring Carlo Albán (Benvolio), Karina Arroyave (Apothecary), Erick Betancourt (Abram), Michael Braugher(Balthasar), Carlos Carrasco (Lord Montague), Juan Castano (Romeo), Ivonne Coll (Nurse), John J. Concado(Peter), Hiram Delgado (Tybalt), Guillermo Diaz (Gregory), Sarah Nina Hayon (Lady Montague), Kevin Herrera(Ensemble), Modesto Lacen (Prince Escalus/Capulet’s Cousin), Florencia Lozano (Capulet), Irene Sofia Lucio(Mercutio), Keren Lugo (Sister Joan), Benjamin Luis McCracken (Paris’s Page), Julio Monge (Friar Lawrence), Javier Muñoz (Paris), Lupita Nyong’o (Julieta), and David Zayas (Sampson).

Available to stream 
The Public Theater
425 Lafayette Street
(at Astor Place)
New York, NY 10003
Public Theatre on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Disclaimer: Romeo Y Julieta is an audio recording. It does not include video.

PODCAST ETHER — There’s always one theatre company or other doing Shakespeare. Take your pick: community, fringe, professional – someone, somewhere is producing a four-hundred-year-old play for an audience absolutely arm-wavingly, script humpingly horny for The Bard. I don’t get it. 

I don’t hate Shakespeare but I don’t get the hype either. His plays are performed so often – as intended and in experimental styles. No matter how a theatre dresses them up, they’re still the same stories. I think it gets old. Others strongly disagree. 

What is it about this dead poetry dude who hasn’t had a new idea in centuries that appeals so strongly to my fellow theatre practitioners? I don’t have to understand Shakespeare-mania to critique Shakespeare’s plays but understanding the obsession helps me interact with that population. Understanding a creator’s intentions is part of a critic’s gig.   Continue reading

May 27

They stole her body and the pants off a white man: “Our Lady of 121st Street”

image via https://www.facebook.com/LABTheaterCo

Presented by LAByrinth Theater Company
Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Elizabeth Rodriguez
Stage Directions read by David Deblinger

Performed on Saturday, May 23 @ 8PM
A Zoom performance

LAByrinth Theater Company
Cherry Lane Theatre
38 Commerce Street
New York, NY 10014
LAB on Facebook
LAB on Instagram

Holy cats, DONATE!

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“Hang on because it’s gonna be dope.” – From the pre-performance speech by Elizabeth Rodriguez.

ZOOM — This production is made available to viewers as a part of LAByrinth Theater Company’s desire to continue existing past the coronavirus pandemic. If you viewed this production and you are able, please donate to LAByrinth Theater. Donate now so theatre can exist later.

Directors must stop apologizing for their Zoom readings. Our Lady of 121st Street’s triumphant director Elizabeth Rodriguez is not the first to apologize to a Zoom audience. If I had my druthers, she would be the last. It’s unfair to the cast and crew who have put so much energy into the performance. Now is not the time to apologize for variables spinning mundanity far beyond our control. There is no set precedent for corona-times streaming theatre.  We’re inventing the genre. Mistakes and minor emergencies are part of the fun of live theatre. Continue reading

Apr 04

Geeks Read Books: TCG Play Reviews, April 2019

On occasion, the New England Theatre Geek will review recently published plays. The Antipodes is the latest release from Annie Baker. In it, Baker takes on corporate culture from a storyteller’s perspective. The Prisoner by Peter Brook and Marie-Helene Estienne is not well written. The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek discusses apartheid via an artist’s life work. A Doll’s House, Part 2 played on Boston’s Huntington Theatre’s stage in early 2019. Hnath’s script is deserving of several reads. Please read on below.

The Antipodes
By Annie Baker
TCG
New York, 2018
Paperback, 120pp
$14.95

The Antipodes takes place in a static, windowless room with office chairs behind which are stacked many boxes of seltzer. This could be a soulless writers room, a marketing research discussion room, or even one of those rent-an-office conference spaces available in communal office complexes. The location is specifically nondescript to allow the strange goings on of Baker’s play shine. Strange goings on of both the occult and Office Space varieties bleed through the mundane to unsettle the lives of everyone involved.   Continue reading

Jun 11

Geeks Read Books: “Lazarus” & “Oslo”

Reviews by Kitty Drexel

Copies are available on the TCG website, and everywhere that dramatic literature is sold. Or, you could try your local library.  Continue reading

Jan 02

Geeks Read Books: “Ode to Joy” by Craig Lucas

Ode to Joy
Craig Lucas
Theatre Communications Group (TCG)
New York, NY (2016)
$14.95

Review by Kitty Drexel

(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

Dec 30

Geeks Read Books: “Here We Go/ Escaped Alone: Two Plays” by Caryl Churchill

 

Here We Go/ Escaped Alone: Two Plays
Caryl Churchill
Theatre Communications Group (TCG)
New York, 2016
$14.95

Review by Kitty Drexel

(New York, NY meets Somerville, MA) As made evident by the title, Here We Go/ Escaped Alone contains two new plays by Caryl Churchill. They are as strange, and pleasantly unsettling as her other works. Churchill takes every opportunity to push buttons, and redefine theatre. Fans will be delighted by these two new scripts. Continue reading

Nov 02

Shakespeare Wins, The End: SOMETHING ROTTEN!

SOMETHING ROTTEN!
Conceived by Karey Kirkpatrick and Wayne Kirkpatrick
Book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell
Music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick
Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw
Music directed  by Phil Reno

Now through January 1, 2017
St. James Theatre, a Jujiamcyn Theater
246 W. 44th Street
New York, NY
(Between 7th & 8th Avenues)
Something Rotten! On Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(New York, NYIt is a perk and a privilege to write complimentary reviews for people I know or used to know in a different life. There’s a certain joy in spinning a glowing critique for someone who deserves it. My joy is incalculably multiplied when done for a personal acquaintance. It’s best if it’s a surprise. It’s even better if it’s a special occasion. Continue reading

Jul 30

Geeks Read Books: “Sotto Voce” by Nilo Cruz

Cover design by Lisa Govan.

Cover design by Lisa Govan.

 

 

 

“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

Apr 01

Geeks Review Books: Suzan-Lori Parks’ “The Book of Grace”

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

Feb 02

Geeks Review Books: Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “CHOIR BOY”

TCG7820

TCG book cover

Review of Choir Boy
Written by Tarell Alvin McCraney
Published by Theatre Communications Group (TCG)
New York, NY 2015
Press release, including production credits, here
Hard copies and ebook copies of Choir Boy can be purchased here.

Review by Kitty Drexel

(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