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Daniel Prosky

Ah, Wilderness!

February 3, 2019

In three acts, we get idealized Norman Rockwell-style Americana. As in his dramas, O’Neill’s sense of structure is totally idiosyncratic. Ah, Wilderness! is shorter than his dramas but still feels long at two hours and 40 minutes with an intermission but it is absorbing nonetheless. That’s due to its novel perspective. Instead of the cheapskate father and drug addict mother in Long Day’s Journey into Night, we get idealized perfect parents. The young hero here is set on a path of moral rectitude rather than dissolution. O’Neill offers an uplifting fantastical reworking of his well-documented grim upbringing where everything for a change is happily resolved. [more]

Two by Friel

November 27, 2018

The attempt to draw comparisons between two disparate one-act plays by Brian Friel proves forced and effortful. In a program note for "Two by Friel," now playing at the Irish Repertory Theatre, director Conor Bagley writes, “Although written over three decades apart, 'Lovers: Winners' and 'The Yalta Game' speak to each other in sacred whisperings.” In the event of seeing them performed back-to-back, those 'whisperings' prove so faint, they can barely be heard. [more]

1969: The Second Man

August 30, 2018

The mellow sound of Brandt’s score proves to be easy listening, but the individual musical numbers do not build to any dramatic climaxes so that the show seems tamer than material concerning depression and alcoholism suggests it should be. However, the ballad forms and guitar/violin instrumentation are pleasant to the ear. Some of Giles’ dialogue which is not part of Aldrin’s story seems extraneous and the show takes a while to get started. "1969: The Second Man" is entertaining enough in this concert form, but needs some work before going to the next level. Jacob Brandt, however, proves to be a talented new musical voice. [more]