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Erin Beirnard

The Climbers

September 23, 2017

The play isn’t just about social climbers but those who want to game the system and live beyond their income, and their sense of entitlement rivals that of the 1990’s. However, this is 1901 and there is also a social hierarchy of who is in and who hasn’t made it yet. And these aren’t the robber barons with unlimited incomes, but people further down the economic scale hoping to make a killing by speculating on the market. Like a novel by Henry James or Edith Wharton, this turn of the century social drama encompasses a good many characters and events and includes both comedy and tragedy. The current almost three hour time length would have been longer at the beginning of the last century as there would have been more intermissions in this four act play, but in those days playgoers liked getting their money’s worth. [more]

Singing Beach

July 31, 2017

Aside from the destructive nature of the storm and that the "Pegasus" eventually arrives at a desert shore, there isn’t much to be learned about climate change. We never know if Sleeper lost his ability to speak as a result of his strokes or has chosen not to speak after the death of his wife, which is an entirely different state of affairs. The cast of characters is made up of a great many creative people who are simply labels as we learn nothing about their work or their careers: novelist Merrie, classical scholar Owen, artist Sebastian, poet Ashton, scientist Miss Blake. The thinness of both the characters and the story keeps the play from making any important points. [more]

End of Summer

October 22, 2016

While S. N. Behrman was one of the leading Broadway playwrights from the twenties through the early sixties, he went into an eclipse after his death in 1973. Since 2000, however, there have been New York revivals of his major comedies "The Second Man," "Biography," "No Time for Comedy" and "Rain from Heaven." Set in the living room of a summer cottage on an estate in Northern Maine where the rich Frothinghams go to get away from the problems of the world, circa 1936, End of Summer resembles Chekhov’s "The Cherry Orchard" in that they both concern wealthy people refusing to recognize the changing social order. However, S. N. Behrman’s play is very much a comedy with its cool, urbane witticisms and very American in its outlook and content. [more]

O’Neill (Unexpected): Two Early Plays by Eugene O’Neill

June 15, 2016

"Now I Ask You" turns out to be comedy of pretentious New York bohemians in 1916, while "Recklessness" is a Strindbergian psychological revenge play. While both have hints of the more famous plays to come, they also stand on their own as the work of a major playwright trying to find his own voice. Whatever you think of the plays and whichever one turns out to be your favorite, Alex Roe’s staging is always entertaining and the plays are truly surprising and unexpected. [more]