News Ticker

Henry Grossman

Timon of Athens (Theatre for a New Audience)

January 23, 2020

On paper the concept should not work: scenes and characters have been cut, a Shakespeare sonnet has been added set to music, as well as a Greek song, and four characters originally written for men are played by women. Nevertheless, the streamlining of this modern dress production in the edition prepared by Emily Burns and Godwin makes this tragedy very accessible and eliminating subplots makes the play quite linear. The addition of women gives the play an almost contemporary feeling. The scenic and costume design by Soutra Gilmour for the first half of the play is simply dazzling, while the second half has its own visual display. [more]

Fefu and Her Friends

November 30, 2019

While María Irene Fornés' "Fefu and Her Friends" is considered a feminist statement, in performance the play seems not to be very revealing about women or their positions other than the fact that the cast is entirely female. Set among the very rich in the 1930’s, the play is liberated only to the extent that the women have enough money to do what they wish. With its attractive sets and stylish clothes and the novelty of moving from one set to the other, the play seems to be rather a period piece than a statement of women’s lib. Unlike such all-female plays as Hazel Ellis’ "Women without Men," Clare Boothe’s "The Women" and Jane Chambers’ "Last Summer at Bluefish Cove," "Fefu and Her Friends" does not have a lot to say although it remains entertaining throughout. Of course, it is possible that a women critic might have a very different take on this work. [more]

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

April 3, 2019

Shakespeare’s politically charged Roman tragedy, "Julius Caesar," has always been a touchstone for inflaming emotions. In earlier times, monarchs used to ban the play when uprisings were imminent. In the 1930’s, the play was presented as an anti-Fascist rallying cry. In our own era, it has been presented with various American presidents as the stand-in for Caesar. While Shana Cooper’s production for Theatre for a New Audience here called "The Tragedy of Julius Caesar" is vigorous, lusty and lucid, it offers no political point of view. We never understand why the conspirators want to get rid of Caesar nor what they want to replace him with instead. [more]

About Alice

January 24, 2019

Humorist and journalist Calvin Trillin has made his wife Alice Stewart Trillin, educator, writer, mother and muse, famous from such books as "Alice, Let’s Eat," "Travels with Alice" and "Family Man." When she passed away in 2001, many readers felt they knew her well enough to send Trillin condolence notes. His acclaimed 2006 memoir, "About Alice," introduced her to a wider audience. Now Theatre for a New Audience has commissioned Trillin to dramatize the book as a two hander under the direction of Leonard Foglia. The play with Jeffrey Bean as Calvin and Carrie Paff as Alice is quite charming but Alice herself remains elusive. [more]

Marcel + The Art of Laughter

November 2, 2017

Like the great comedy teams, Jos Houben and Marcello Magni are a study in contrasts.  The Belgian Mr. Houben is tall, animated and relies on breezy patter.  The Italian Mr. Magni is short, often dour and mostly silent.  They have collaborated with Peter Brook at his Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris, and have performed together around the world. [more]

The Skin of Our Teeth

March 8, 2017

Thornton Wilder’s "The Skin of Our Teeth" with its benign belief in the resilience of the human condition is unlike any other American play you are likely to see. Both heavily influenced by earlier European experiments in theater, it is also influential in itself. While Arin Arbus’ production for Theatre for a New Audience at times seems as though it need tighting up, it is a play that must be experienced in the theater which is why it has never been turned into a Hollywood movie. Go and see for yourself what only the live theater can do to expand your imagination. [more]

Pericles (Theatre for a New Audience)

March 7, 2016

Nunn’s adaptation rearranges some of the scenes and adds material from a prose version of the work by George Wilkins, believed to be Shakespeare’s collaborator. Using music, song, dancing, jousting and a veritable rainbow of colorful costumes, he has created an epic-sized revival that is always eye-filling and easy to follow. While some of the acting is uneven in this large cast of 29 including seven members of the Pigpen Theater Co., it must be said that this is not one of Shakespeare’s best plays as it makes use of unexpected events, many locations, and a large canvas, rather than psychological depth and deathless poetry. [more]