Author: Ann Firestone Ungar

PERICLES: BORN IN A TEMPEST

In Shakespeare’s ending, the reunification happens through resurrection of Marina and Thaisa, both thought to be dead. That ending was probably deeply satisfying to Elizabethan audiences who were largely Christian. For the 21st century audience, which may be less religiously inclined, this current story is perhaps more satisfying, more true to our understanding of the human psyche, post Freud and the scholars and physicians whose work is to heal in our challenging, conflicted civilization.

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CHECKS AND BALANCES, OR BOTTOMS UP!

The Suits (Wall Street, Silicon Valley, etc.) dismantle Lady Liberty, a large green cutout, their intent to destroy what makes our country great. And they nearly succeed. But the Lady’s head disappears, and they’re frantic, because the brain is where ideas such as clean air and water, green cards, and the rule of law applied equally to all citizens and to the government itself, reside. But have no fear. The Lady’s head is safe, and it reappears at the end of the play in the safe hands of a wise Buddhist monk. We’re reasonably sure that truth will endure and love will prevail, despite the Suits chant of “Lock her up!”

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VANITY FAIR

Ms. Hamill’s play gives us a vivid, panoramic satire of English men and women striving to rise through marriage or inheritance into that sphere of treasure and therefore imagined happiness.

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MESSENGER #1, A New Ancient Greek Tragedy

In 1966, when Tom Stoppard reimagined Hamlet by plucking from it two minor characters and giving them fully developed personalities for his groundbreaking existential play Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, perhaps he suggested to the fertile imagination of playwright Mark Jackson a way to reimagine The Oresteia by Greek playwright Aeschylus, c. 500 B.C.

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