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 →
(New York, NY/Somerville, MA) On occasion, the New England Theatre Geek will review newly published plays. Miss You Like Hell is a musical about an mother/daughter road trip. Mary Jane is a loving insight into compassionate primary caregivers. Uncle Vanya is a piece of classic dramatic literature that places the significance of the #metoo movement within an historical context. Continue reading →
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 →
(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 →
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 →
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 →