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La MaMa

Unexploded Ordnances (UXO)

January 8, 2018

Shaw employs the gruff cadences of George C. Scott and Weaver has the calm and measured tone of Peter Sellers and both are thoroughly delightful.  Their tremendous rapport is most evident in the phone scene from the film between the U.S. president and the Soviet leader: “How do you think I feel?” [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]

Golgotha

January 27, 2017

Mr. Refael’s simple but well-crafted scenario takes place in a contemporary apartment in Israel, and has the elderly Salvado looking back at his past. This is theatrically achieved by having him directly addressing the audience. His best friend and fellow survivor is to be honored at the Holocaust memorial center Yad Vashem during a ceremony where he will light a torch. When he becomes incapacitated, that task falls to Salvado. This situation instigates a flood of painful reminiscences that explore his guilt at having survived. [more]

God of Vengeance

December 31, 2016

Surprisingly, Eleanor Reissa’s production for New Yiddish Rep has made some debatable choices which damage the power of the play. First of all and most obviously, although not a word has been updated, the characters wear contemporary clothing and use modern objects like headphones, a plastic umbrella and platform shoes. Since there are references to opening a horse stable and the sexual mores of 1907 have changed considerably, this is both distracting and confusing. (The word “roubles” has been eliminated for the more innocuous bucks and coins.) [more]

Man in Snow

November 24, 2016

"Man in Snow" begins and ends in tragedy. In between there is an insightful, sometimes banal, study of a middle-aged man, David (an awesomely complex Will Lyman), his bumpy relationship with his wise wife, Franny (Sandra Shipley, whose even-handed façade hides deep emotions), his daughter Emily (lovely, bright Ashley Risteen) who harbors grudges that pore out at the most unfortunate times and his beloved son Joey whose death in a car accident opens the play. [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]

Selma ’65

October 5, 2014

Viola Gregg (1925 -1965)was an activist Michigan housewife who drove to Selma, Alabama, in March of 1965 to participate in the Civil Rights marches there. She was later shot and killed, from a car with four Klu Klux Klansmen. One (Tommy Rowe (1933-1998) was an informant for The Federal Bureau of Investigation, used for infiltrating the KKK. He testified against the other three, and was put in The Witness Protection Program. [more]