08 January 2006

reviews!

what a slow, lazy weekend. bordering a bit shakily between relaxing and damn-i-need-to-get-out-more. but at least this week i'll be rested. and at least i've now watched super size me twice in 24 hours. i've also had a lot of tea, a lot of eggs, and a lot of wonderful time with the kittens.*

i did manage, last week and this weekend, to get off my ass and go see a couple of plays. (thank you james and play-by-play.) and now i will tell you what i thought of them, which you can take as being the same thing as how the empirically were.

number one - apparition,** at the connelly.*** dear. what should have been a twenty-minute mood piece was an hour and a half, no intermission... you know i love weird shit, have a very high tolerance for weird shit, make no demands on my theatre to be linear or narrative or anything old-fashioned like that. but there comes a point when i'm just bored. at the risk of quoting austin powers (and at the risk of, i think, repeating what rami had to say about this) throw me a fricking bone here. maria dizzia and t. ryder smith**** were wonderful and oftentimes compelling - they may also be two of the sweetest people i barely know. (which, incidentally, makes them two people i barely know whom i would like to get to know better. lucky they're in our next show.) but the other three actors weren't nearly as good, couldn't handle the language - but even if they had all been great, the play was just too obtuse. anne washburn is a beautiful writer, but it just didn't hold together. and the lovely production must be noted - i might be close to forgiving les waters for butchering hot n' throbbing - but in the end, meh. it was free, so worth it for the two lovelies, but if it hadn't closed yesterday i'd be telling you not to bother.

and two - nilo cruz's beauty of the father at mtc's eentsy stage ii at city center. i should admit here that i never read anna in the tropics for s&b.***** so aside from a weird playlet i read (half of) freshman year for sarah ruhl's****** class, i had no exposure to nilo's work.

to be brief, two thumbs up. this runs for a while yet, so i won't say too much. i think going in knowing as little as possible makes for some of the most enjoyable theatre-going (when the theatre you're going to is good). aside from one terrible performance, a very strong cast. aside from some very bad lighting, a beautiful production. and overall a really lovely, beautiful, well-written play. i also just loved seeing something so skilfully straddling (my image is a giant with one foot in each country) the border of "accessible/producible/mainstream" with "non-realistic/language-driven/unconventional" playwrighting. i mean, we know i love brown******* playwrights, but i didn't expect nilo to be the very out-there thing i associate with the brown writers. and he wasn't, i might not have picked this as a brown grad's writing out of a crowd, but it's still there. nilo doesn't take it as far as some other writers, but there's still the sense of being unconstrained by convention - even if 90% of the play falls within the borders of realism, it's never because that's the only way to write a play, but because it's what right for this piece, for this story, and nilo chose to do it that way. not to put words and major choices in the pulitzer prize-winner's mouth, but you get the idea.


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*and man did i just execute a mean maneuver to turn around on the couch so i could type and have meg on my lap. oh, so sad that i took such pride in that. couch fucking olumpics.

**subtitle: an uneasy play of the underknown. the 'underknown' bit is a little much for me, but james was quite fond of this wording.

***the connelly which, not to ruin the review of apparition if you read footnotes properly, seems to always serve up really bad theatre. it's not a producing theatre, just a rented space, so there's no logic there. and it's a perfectly nice space, if a little far east (4th between a and b), but there's still no reason that i should have seen three bad bad bad plays there, one of which, though i've forgotten the title, goes by the code name 'the worst musical ever,' to give you an idea. apparition was surely the least bad of the bunch, but i just wonder what sort of horrible karma this theatre has going.

****and this really did make me wish i'd seen his thom pain. maybe if i'd rationed my visits a bit at the outset.

*****i defend this by saying, and james agrees, that i wouldn't have liked it, and i knew this, so reading it wouldn't have affected whether or not i thought we should do it. it was nilo, it was empirically good if not my taste, and it won the pulitzer. i had other things to do. like, you know, write my thesis. so there.

******name-dropping

******* the university! god, how bad do you think i am?

1 comment:

Laurel said...

hi jaime,

i followed your link from your profile page on the ibs boards... and i've been reading your lovely blog for the last little while, so i thought it was about time to come clean :)

just to be fair, i linked to my little corner of the web above if you want to get into my head at all, lol.

but anyway, i've really been enjoying reading your little slice of nyc theatre life. of this and of your adorable kittens, i am insanely jealous ;)

cheers,
laurel (aka retrograde)

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