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Francesca Carpanini

Dead Poets Society

November 22, 2016

That sequence is just one of the highlights of John Doyle’s commanding direction. Best known for his vibrant minimalist approach to musicals, Mr. Doyle brings that precise and visually expressive focus to this play. The cast of ten is expertly placed and moved around the relatively bare and spacious stage creating tension, excitement and striking tableaus that all connect to the story. There are also many presentational flourishes. [more]

Summer Shorts 2016 – Series B

August 15, 2016

Richard Alfredo’s 'The Dark Clothes of Night," a brilliant parody/homage to film noir and hardboiled fiction, the third play of Summer Shorts – Series B, is so good it alone is worth the price of admission. The other two plays which precede it in this year’s 10th Festival of New American Short Plays have interesting but undeveloped premises. But "The Dark Clothes of Night" is an instant classic, a humorous satire that is also a brilliantly theatrical study in paranoia, fear and evil and the elements that made film noir irresistible. Directed by playwright Alexander Dinelaris, the three actors in this memorable short work play multiple roles with assurance and aplomb. [more]

The Tempest

June 20, 2015

The first thing one notices on entering the Delacorte Theatre is how empty the large stage looks. In Riccardo Hernandez’s scenic design, except for a tiny desk on the right and a small pile of rocks on the left, the playing area is simply a large open expanse that is backed by scaffolding which offers a kind of balcony or catwalk and in front of which are hung curtains or screens. On this is projected dark, churning seascapes in streaming video. As the setting for the play is an island, this is initially attractive but as it continues throughout the play, it becomes both distracting and superfluous. The costumes by Emily Rebholz in black and white are also devoid of color. David Lander’s lighting occasionally turns the stage blue, green or red, but this comes as an intrusion to the rest of the concept of the production. Along with the lack of magic until almost the end of this long play, it appears as if Greif’s interpretation of the play were simply to keep things spare and unadorned. Unfortunately, this tale which calls out for enchantment and sleight of hand is not the play to do this with. [more]