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Alex Bartenieff

Not About Me

January 19, 2023

Eduardo Machado’s 11th play to premiere at Theater for the New City is called "Not About Me" which is a complete misnomer as it is about his life for the last 40 years with his alter ego at its center. Marketed as a “memory play that takes audiences on a haunting journey through the mind of a playwright during Covid-19 lockdown,” in fact, it is about his friends who died during the last pandemic, the mysterious “gay disease” that came to be called AIDS. Other than as a tribute to those lost friends, it is difficult to see the message of the play as it depicts a great deal of risky behavior. [more]

Darkness After Night: Ukraine

December 27, 2022

"Darkness: unfolds in many very short scenes with some confusing transitions.  Dubashin, the traitor to Russia, finally gets to confront Number One in a knock-down personal battle.  The only thing that can be said for this denouement is that it is wishful thinking of the highest order. There is more than a whiff of a vanity production here, leavened by Morrow’s “good intentions.”  Morrow is, perhaps, a tad self-indulgent to have put himself in the action hero part of a military do-gooder and he could use a dramaturg who could shape the disparate scenes into a well-oiled whole. [more]

Di Froyen (The Women)

January 24, 2022

The New Yiddish Rep’s (David Mandelbaum, artistic director) production of the Yiddish language "Di Froyen (The Women)" is a bittersweet, anger-inducing portrait of modern day Chasid women caught between orthodox Jewish ideology and the rush of modern society’s laws and attitudes into their lives. Adapted by Malky Goldman and Melissa Weisz from Naomi Regan’s "Women’s Minyan," "Di Froyen," in one compact, tense hour, opens up a previously secret world to the public.  Here are six women, all wearing sheitels (wigs that orthodox Jewish women must wear because showing their own hair is proscribed by religious law) and all under immense pressure from within and without their enclave. [more]

Dining with Ploetz

September 13, 2019

"Dining with Ploetz" at Theater for the New City consists of three short plays by writer, director and teacher Richard Ploetz. The program adds up to slightly under two hours’ running time (with one intermission). The plays are all billed as comedies, and—as the title implies—they all, to one degree or another, involve “dining.”  They are, however, quite diverse in terms of style and tone. The first and last of them (both of which the playwright directed) hold the audience’s attention fairly well. The middle piece, directed by Steven Hauck (who acts in the other two), is riveting. [more]

Barabbas

July 3, 2019

While Will T.F. Carter’s "Barabbas" is very outspoken on the topic of political corruption in Peru, the play is dramatically weak as so much of it is exposition. In each scene we learn a little bit more about the men’s lives, but little that is new happens in the play’s 90 minutes. The tepid direction by Eduardo Machado gives us too much time to consider the play’s deficiencies and makes the play seem longer than it is. Carter’s anger at what is going on in Peru is commendable, but Barabbas does not utilize that indignation except on an intellectual basis. [more]