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Emmie Finckel

The Commons

February 18, 2020

Could there be five more self-involved, selfish, self-deceptive characters than those who populate Lily Akerman’s "The Commons" at the 59E59 Theaters?  No, these five roommates aren’t evil, just depressingly of the here and now, young people who have lost the ability to communicate honestly with each other.  There’s a problem with a 90-minute play about people who do not connect: it is an unrewarding slog for an audience to sit through. [more]

In the Penal Colony

July 20, 2019

Playwright and director Miranda Haymon has, like numerous dramatists before her, dramatized this story—except that she has significantly repurposed it. Working with three African-American actors, she has used the tale as a taking-off point for an hour-long play focused on the experience of young black men in America. As the press release puts it, “ 'In the Penal Colony' investigates the performance of power, patriarchy and punishment. Three black men convene in an unnamed penal colony, asking what it means for them to exist in the media, when observed, when consumed, when punished.” [more]

For Annie

January 8, 2017

Playwright Beth Hyland’s very effective conceit is that we’re watching the dress rehearsal of Annie Lambert’s memorial celebration in an auditorium of the State University of New York at Onondaga. There, students act out Ms. Lambert’s story in the manner of a Greek chorus often directly addressing the audience. “What would Annie have wanted?” [more]