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Carmen M. Herlihy

The Apiary

February 16, 2024

Unfortunately, at 70 minutes the play seems skimpy. Structured in a great many short scenes, only one thing happens in each, so that there is a sameness to it all. Basically a two character play with two lab assistants Zora (April Matthis) and Pilar (Carmen M. Herlihy) attempting to come up with new solutions to the problem and spoken in the level-headed tone of scientific investigation, the play does not offer climaxes or high points but moves on the same plane. The four actors playing seven characters remain on the same level without developing or changing. Kate Whoriskey’s direction appears to have eschewed raising tension to make the play more interesting or more dramatic, something it sorely needs. [more]

Scene Partners

November 19, 2023

It takes an artist of the stature and extraordinary talent of Wiest to keep Caswell’s fragmented play from flying off in all directions as it veers from reality to fantasy and from flashback to the present.  Or, is the entire plot, which takes an embittered 75-year-old widow from the depths of the Mid-west to the depths of Hollywood, just a figment of her yearning imagination? The tale of Meryl Kowalski (both names exuding meaning) is of the oft-told a-star-is-born genre:  an unknown hopeful, through lucky breaks and gumption, manages to become a movie star.  Sounds simple, right? Not here.  Caswell ("Wet Brain' and "Man Cave") will not allow her story to be told in a linear fashion. [more]

A Delicate Balance

November 10, 2022

The first Off Broadway revival of Edward Albee’s " A elicate Balance," his first Pulitzer Prize-winning play (of three), is also the first to feature an all Asian American cast as well as being the first New York production of an Albee play to be performed by a non-white cast. A coproduction of Transport Group and the National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO), it is has been directed by Jack Cummings III, Transport Group’s artistic director. The production is elegant and polished, if a bit leisurely. However, at two hours and 45 minutes the running time is the same length as the 2014 Broadway revival. The six character cast is led by Mia Katigbak, actor-manager and co-founder of NAATCO. [more]

Doctor Faustus

June 24, 2015

Much of the play is directed using Brecht’s so-called alienation effect in which the audience is constantly reminded that this is all a play, a poor choice for a tragedy that wants to put both awe and fear into the hearts of its listeners. Tony Strages’ set design resembles a circus or vaudeville and much of the performance is played on that level. What is sacrificed is the seriousness of the theological and moral issues. There are continual shifts in tone which simply draw attention to themselves, rather than add to the meaning. [more]