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Ellen Stewart Theatre

Chasing the New White Whale

November 28, 2018

Visually impressive due to the inventive work of scenic designer Donald Eastman and director Arthur Adair’s fine staging, "Chasing the New White Whale" is playwright Mike Gorman’s muddled attempt at an epic drama of drug addiction in the contemporary United States. Herman Melville’s classic 1851 novel "Moby-Dick" is metaphorically employed and heavy-handed references and motifs abound. [more]

There’s Blood at the Wedding

May 29, 2018

Packed into Theodora Skipitares’ "There’s Blood at the Wedding" are multiple takes on how authorities have abused their powers, too often killing innocent people.  By theatricalizing and stylizing their stories, Skipitares zooms past the political and digs deeply into the emotional debris left over after a series of brilliantly staged traumatic scenes. [more]

Distant Observer: Tokyo/New York Correspondence

March 26, 2018

Noted theater artist John Jesurun wrote the opening sequence. From 2014 to 2017, Mr. Jesurun engaged in a collaboration with Japanese playwright and director Takeshi Kawamura. They each wrote alternating 10-minute sections with Aya Ogawa translating the Japanese portions into English.  This technique is an homage to the Japanese poetical form renga where different authors contribute to a poem. [more]

Conquest of the Universe Or When Queens Collide

November 13, 2017

Played to perfection with an infectious joy by one and all, the entire cast also takes a deadly serious attitude towards their lines and their actions. Indeed Ludlam’s "Conquest" invokes "Hamlet" in its final scene, when many of the characters die--even following a previous “gravedigger” scene. And as staged by Quinton, the final “banquet” scene also invokes Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” All I can say is, go and enjoy! [more]

Burning Doors

October 18, 2017

Nicolai Khalezin wrote Burning Doors with dramaturgy by him and Natalia Kaliada.  Their aim is to bring attention to currently jailed artists Petr Pavlensky and Oleg Sentsov by weaving in their testimonies.  Actors also proclaim from the works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Michel Foucault.  Fleeting and sometimes sly allusions to Putin are laced in. [more]

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot

March 21, 2017

And what of the play which had its world premiere at the Public Theater in 2005? Parsons’ uneven production cannot keep this long play from seeming unwieldy. In fact, using so many actors is almost distracting as some of them are simply walk-ons, and disappear almost immediately. The new production seems less trenchant and more like a vaudeville with its set pieces than Philip Seymour Hoffman’s original staging. Nevertheless, the play still retains a cumulative effect and is ultimately compelling. [more]

Phantasmagoria; or, Let Us Seek Death!

October 31, 2016

Benjamin Stuber’s puppetry designs are a disappointment and should be more thoughtful and complementary to the play. Ghoulish puppets that are meant to disturb seem make-shift and thrown together. There is only one disturbing and appropriately quirky puppet effect – the appearance of a huge eye, set into a collage background of assorted textiles. [more]

The God Projekt

October 19, 2016

In "The God Projekt," the “Divine He” repeatedly tries to make reparations for his past destructive deeds, but to no avail. God is wrestling with dementia and in a time loop. Yet, he is determined to correct, well, his god-awful mistakes -- one of which is not only acknowledging the “Divine She” in his heavenly order, but atoning for a heinous crime against her. [more]

Pylade

December 10, 2015

Marko Mandič is an award-winning acclaimed classical actor from Slovenia who has worked several times with Mr. Buljan. His talent, charisma, and physicality justify that acclaim as witnessed here by his performance in the title role. Vocally expressive and emotionally volatile, he is truly naked through most of the play’s second half and unselfconsciously performs heroically even through the most awkward sequences. These include the incident with the watermelon and later painting his genitals black to match those of the actor playing Orestes who doesn’t display his. [more]