Author: Donna Herman

Clueless

Amy Heckerling has wised up in revisiting “Clueless” for the stage in the 21st Century.  She’s pitched it for the audience that came of age when the original movie was released in 1995 – Gen X.  Well, it would be hard not to.  The movie is so entrenched in 1990’s teenage culture that to try and tear it away from it’s roots would be folly.  Besides, its original fans are all grown up and should have the bucks to spring for a theater ticket.  And the “Clueless” update includes a nod to today’s activist sentiments, without political overtones.  So that it ends on an upbeat, rousing moment that places it squarely in this day and age.  Smart.

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Fabulation, or the Re-education of Undine

When, and how, do the stories we tell about ourselves turn from fables to lies?  And can we find ourselves again amidst the constructs we’ve built up?  These are the questions Lynn Nottage asks in “Fabulation, or the Re-education of Undine,” currently being revived by Signature Theatre.  It’s no coincidence that the word “fabulation” is a term of art not only in psychology, but in literary criticism too. In medical or psychological usage, it describes the act of telling untruthful stories by a person who believes they are real or who cannot deal with real events.  In literary criticism, it denotes a style that is similar to or combines magical realism and post modernism.  It therefore combines realistic and unrealistic or fantasy elements in one work.  “Fabulation, or the Re-education of Undine” operates on both levels.

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The Emperor’s Nightingale

“The Emperor’s Nightingale” by Damon Chua is Pan Asian Rep’s first foray into family friendly programming as they kick off a new educational initiative. It’s a (loose) adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale “The Nightingale.” Set in 1723 China, it is the tale of two teenaged brothers vying to prove themselves to be worthy as successor to their father, the Emperor.

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King Kong

“King Kong” has set a new bar on Broadway.  It is a visual feast that does for stagecraft in 2018 what the movie did for filmmaking in 1933 – marks a new era of what’s possible.  And it’s not all about the two- thousand-pound gorilla in the room.  Although his presence is magnificent, the entire production team has been touched by magic and the marvels start when the curtain rises.

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Wild Goose Dreams

Hansol Jung’s “Wild Goose Dreams” is a couple of good ideas that got drunk at a bar in Vegas and wound up in an Elvis chapel and got married. They tried to make it work, but they should really get a divorce.  Individually, they’re terrific.  But they don’t belong together.  He’s a little bit binary, she’s a little bit Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  I know, I know, they say opposites attract and that may be true.  Doesn’t mean they belong together for the long haul.

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