Author: Ann Firestone Ungar

Tanya Tagaq in Concert with Nanook of the North

Ms. Tagaq brings her magical throat music, wordlessly creating the wind, the ice, the lonely night, the dogs, the agony of the captured walrus and seal, the passion and despair of the free mates of those unfortunate animals. And throughout, the singing and instrumental expression convey the emotional life of Nanook’s family as they live in constant service to survival in this most melancholy of places on earth. The impact of the performance is haunting.

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The Greek playwright Aristophanes was rad 2,426 years ago when he wrote the startling, serious sexual satire Lysistrata. Its story and characters stand today as a monument of anti-war literature of the highest value and quality.

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Rachel Calof is a solo drama based on a Yiddish memoir, Rachel Calof’s Story: Jewish Homesteader on the Northern Plains. The play is a chamber piece, intimate yet large, ambitious to tell the life story of a resourceful and fine woman whose life’s hard, but through its lessons she triumphs. Rachel is Jewish, but she could be every woman who, with grit, humor and dignity manages to survive and thrive.

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This play deserves future productions, and I’m confident it will find its way into the American repertory. It’s very much a story about commitment and temptation, ambition for the complex, ambition for the simple, and reaching for the moon, however you define that.

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Schooled by Lisa Lewis is a drama about Claire, a young woman in mourning for her father. She’s a student in a New York City film school with a screenplay to which she is wedded. It’s good, says her professor, Andrew, but the two-page voiceover at the beginning has got to go. It’s good, says her boyfriend, Jake, also a film student (who Claire likens to Aaron Sorkin), but not as good as mine even though you’re brilliant. Both men have a stake in their relationship with Claire, and both men lose her because her stake, her deep hunger, is to pay tribute to her deceased father with her film.

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