Author: George Crowley

Hamlet

There are a multitude of blessings in this HAMLET. Director Austin Pendleton can be counted on that his actors speak in measured, real American-speak, finding realism in moment-to-moment truth while allowing the poetic images to resonate in time:

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Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging

Since its modest inception in 1981,FORBIDDEN BROADWAY, the Tony-Obie-Drama-Desk-Lortel-award winning revue created and written by Gerard Alessandrini, has become a staple as index, parody, and loving satire of what’s going down on the Great White Way.  Its best feature is that it reminds us that Broadway is a small-town in many ways, and that our love-hate relationship with the various products and stars binds us together (tourists and New Yorkers, audiences and performers alike) as a very passionate community.  Thank God it’s back.  And it’s at what was the former Primary Stages theatre, now the Davenport Theatre, at 354...

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Kinding Sindaw in “Pagbabalik” at La MaMa

LaMaMa is the most extraordinary place.  Our country may have no Ministry of Culture (except, unofficially, for ITI and the NEA) and no ongoing governmental commitment to the arts, but we have and have, for some time, had LaMama, where international boundaries of culture and tradition vanish, where the late Ellen Stewart was historically able to bring all manner of extraordinarily financed and visa’d artists to these shores, beyond the pale of what we all knew to be commercial or even commercially viable.  The tradition continues. The Kinding Sindaw Melayu Heritage group is an ongoing resident artist group at...

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I Could Say More

What is there to say about a well-made ensemble play that accurately contrasts the pyrotechnics  of adulterous infatuation and various addictions with concerns about commitment and terminal illness, layers it all with absolutely authentic-sounding dialogue which bubbles with wit, and mixes straight and gay characters together over a weekend in the Hamptons without shoving AIDS to the foreground?  Bravo?  The very insistent question-mark is an imperative when you’re in New York and there are seeming hundreds of playwrights clamoring to write the next “it” play, the next “Proof,” the next sure-fire, crowd-and-critic-pleasing commodity that everyone simply must see. That’s not this play.  This play is just plain good.  Not earth-shattering, just plain good — and real and interesting and, for the most part (more on that later), dramaturgically sound, with a beautiful design of a summer home.  And if you’re a gay man who’s ever thought about marriage, cheating on your spouse, why your friends (or you) are — STILL — wrestling with addictions or falling for “bad boys,’ or why your life still resembles Terrence McNally plays but is just a little bit different now but you can’t quite put your finger on how, then go see this.  It’s a B-plus production across the board, and the playwright has a vision which includes a very modern artist-couple of a kind I’ve not seen onstage before, that is, the...

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I Have No Mouth

What’s powerful and unassuming, both, about this project is that co-author and co-director Feidlim Cannon plays himself, his mother (Ann Cannon, with gentle self-effacement) plays herself, and the psychotherapist (Erich Keller) plays himself in a piece designed to be therapeutic healing ritual (for us and them) as well as performance art.  The simplicity and ingenuousness of the effort balance cleverly with the coyness of devices common to performance art.  There is a huge video screen with photos and home movies behind the three performers, there are recitals of what seem to be actual letters and recreations of the events, and there are icons and symbols (life-size cut-outs of two children; a plain turquoise conference table that stands in for, among other things, a hospital bed; colored paper party-hats; intentionally artificial representations of snowfall, of key telephone conversations, of medical diagnoses, of an infant, of a now-dead father, and of anger itself).  Everything is abstracted because, one comes to realize, the direct representation of the specific tragedies that these people wish to exorcise could be too real to bear. So we are told a story about loss and coping and how a mother and son, with a therapist, have made peace with events that capsized their ability to trust in pharmaceuticals and medical rhetoric.  And it’s a story (which I cannot reveal without spoiling it) which is sourced in the...

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