Author: Sarah Downs

Swing State

Swing State is unique in that it is a political play that is not overtly political.  Focusing on the human, the play sets out the emotional terrain on which ideologies and preconceptions can wreak havoc.  Told with sensitivity, humor and dramatic intensity, the narrative explores grief’s insidious reach, as the four protagonists come face to face with the price of progress (or is that the wages of sin?)

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A Will to Live

Masha King takes on the role of Helena Weinrauch in this astonishing one-woman show.  She is riveting in her portrayal of a woman reliving the dreadful years of World War II during which she went on a terrifying journey through three German concentration camps, in a veritable trifecta of misery.  She learned the true meaning of evil and of strength – the strength to survive the Holocaust despite terrible odds, the strength of character and a passion for life.

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The Tempest

In the Public Theater’s musical adaptation of The Tempest, currently running at the Delacorte Theater, Shakespeare’s convoluted story of betrayal, revenge and love has been condensed into a feel-good allegory of revenge and forgiveness.  This inclusive production makes visible the implicit, ever present chorus of souls that watch over us. You can’t beat Central Park for a setting, combining as it does, the worlds of nature and of humanity.

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The Half-God of Rainfall

I don’t know if it’s the direction or the writing — or both, but The Half-God of Rainfall does not fare well, despite a fine cast and brilliant set design. The material is so clearly in love with itself (Move over, Ovid!) The actors do their best, but they have been saddled with a mantle of hubris that not even Atlas could shift. 

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Flex, at the Mitzi Newhouse Theater, is a play about friendship, ambition and hope, as played out in the fiercely competitive world of sport. It is 1997 and the nascent WNBA has given female basketball players hope that, as with their male counterparts, high school glory can lead to a future in the pros. The stakes are high. As they prep for their championship game, the young African American women of team “Lady Train” face various off-court challenges, navigating the minefield of adolescence in a stifling, rural town with its dead-end prospects and legacy of generational teen pregnancy that has derailed more than one girl’s future.

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