Author: Donna Herman

Heroes of the Fourth Turning

With love in his heart and a lifetime of learning from the source, playwright Will Arbery digs into his conservative Christian past to bring “Heroes of the Fourth Turning” to the Playwrights Horizons stage.  For most liberal New Yorkers, it’s a chance to do what we’ve all been moaning about since the 2016 election – understand.  It’s also a chance to see a very fine ensemble cast and restrained and dignified directing by Danya Taymor.  Read my full review here.

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The New Englanders

Playwright Jeff Augustin’s slice-of-life “The New Englanders” is a family tragicomedy for our times.  Parents struggling to keep the family intact despite obvious cracks in the seams. A daughter who is a high school senior about to go off to college and is rebellious but terrified.  An English teacher who is well-intentioned but sick to death of taking crap from teenagers, A high school student who doesn’t get high but sells weed and works at Chuck E. Cheese to save money for college and the first love of one of the parents who has been living on the road for the last 25 years.  You know, just a normal town with normal people living their daily lives.

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Katsura Sunshine’s Rakugo

“Katsura Sunshine’s Rakugo” is a charming, funny, and interesting evening that goes by in a flash and doesn’t require you to search your soul or make any moral decisions.  What a relief! What is it? Well, rakugo is the ancient Japanese art of storytelling. Today, you’d probably call it a cross between kneel-down comedy and a one-man show. See what I did there?

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Like most of the rest of Jack Thorne’s new play at the Atlantic Theater Company, the title “Sunday” doesn’t really have any resonance or go anywhere.  Yes, it’s something that one of the characters talk about.  Sunday is a day he gears up for the rest of the week.  It’s the last day of rest until the next weekend.  Yeah, so what?  His saying it doesn’t relate to anything else in the play.  Nor does most of what happens in the play relate to anything else.  Some excellent acting, some excellent writing, but in the end…

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Sea Wall/A Life

Theater is a collaborative art. Unlike writing or painting, you can’t do it alone.  The reason why “Sea Wall/A Life” moved from The Public Theater Off Broadway to The Hudson Theater on Broadway recently is that Tom Sturridge and Jake Gyllenhaal discovered something they hadn’t realized while performing at The Public.  This production of “Sea Wall/A Life” turns out to be a collaboration between the performers and the audience.  Sensitive direction by Carrie Cracknell has obliterated the fourth wall and created a space where memories can be shared with safety and acceptance. 

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