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Maechi Aharanwa

Mothers

September 26, 2019

The first act of Anna Moench's "Mothers" concludes with a genuine shock as the playwright startlingly upends all of our expectations. Visually punctuated by Wilson Chin's suddenly not-so-stable set, this audacious turn suggests Moench's intermittently funny satire of upper middle-class motherhood at a "Gymboree-style playroom" has only been a prelude to something much more challenging and profound. Unfortunately, what you soon begin to suspect is that Moench just ran out of narrative steam and started writing something else. [more]

If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka

March 11, 2019

Dynamically presented and sensationally performed, "If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka" is playwright Tori Sampson's maddeningly overblown adaptation of a fable with music. A surfeit of extraneous devices and a heavy-handed agenda overwhelm and drag out a tender and potentially resonant tale. There’s repetitive jokiness, a lumbering ghostly gospel sequence and an anti-climactic pretentious finale. Amidst the frustrating tangents are bright spots during a straight through nearly two hour [more]

An Octoroon

March 3, 2015

In 2015, it’s a bold move to revive a century and a half-old play that bears a racially insensitive title, and it’s an even bolder move to refrain from apologizing for such source material. Nevertheless, playwright Branden JacobsJenkins does just that in" An Octoroon," his adaptation of Irish playwright Dion Boucicault’s 1859 melodrama "The Octoroon." Back by popular demand from its previous Soho Rep mounting and recently extended at the Theatre for a New Audience through March 29, the production makes the risky decision to embrace an uncomfortable facet of our history and transform it into a contemporary piece. Thankfully, it paid off big time: the result is an entertaining, touching and illuminating theatrical experience that speaks to today’s audience. [more]