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Asa Benally

Blues for an Alabama Sky

February 26, 2020

Pearl Cleage’s "Blues for an Alabama Sky" gets a belated New York premiere courtesy of Keen Company in its 20th season. Although seen in many regional theaters since its 1995 premiere at the Alliance Theatre Company in Atlanta with Phyllicia Rashad in the leading role, it has long been overdue in New York even though Cleage is also a successful and acclaimed novelist. Framed as a domestic drama, the play manages to take in the topics of racism, sexism, homophobia, birth control and abortion, poverty, alcoholism, and extreme religious points of view among the bohemians of Harlem, circa 1930. [more]

Then They Forgot About the Rest

April 23, 2019

Playwright Georgina Escobar presents an exuberant hodgepodge of sci-fi elements and satirical corporate bits with a feminist slant. Ms. Escobar’s punchy pseudo-scientific dialogue carries her choppy scenario with its shades of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" to sustaining the mildly entertaining 80 minutes. Escobar has a command of language, sprinkling catchphrases that land throughout. Early onset, end of days, extreme memory vetting, protein inhibitor and Petro Corp all get a lot of mileage. It doesn’t all gel, vagueness abounds but there’s spirited integrity. “…I’m asking improbable questions seeking impossible answers,” Escobar states in her program notes. [more]

Twelfth Night (Frog & Peach Theatre Company)

March 1, 2019

As directed by Benson, special mention goes to Primack, Quint, Payne, and Wexler for their strong and playful commitment to their characters, followed by the efforts of Mazzoccone, Porter and Belch. All the actors can be credited with bringing moments of levity and ingenuity to their parts. Favorite line in the whole play--an aside from Fabian, delivered expertly by Ungar--“If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.” Ship sailed! [more]