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Masha Tsimring

The Appointment

April 22, 2019

chorus line of singing and dancing fetuses follows the eerily comical beginning of "The Appointment" where we first meet them posed as if they’re in wombs and babbling in baby talk. When one of them is going to be aborted a hook as from a talent show appears, encircles their necks and pulls them offstage. It’s made quite clear that this mesmerizing offbeat musical will be thoughtfully exploring the issue of abortion. There’s lightheartedness with serious overtones. The overall quality is that of a television variety special of the 1970’s with comedy sketches, musical numbers and dashes of drama. [more]

Noura

December 11, 2018

In 90 minutes, Ms. Raffo packs in a great deal. We learn about Iraq’s past and present, religious lore, marital conflicts, unrequited love and the hardships of immigrants. The stiff treatment is schematic rather than polished and the resorting to soliloquies feels off. Without a defined plot, it plays out as a limp multi-character study that’s resolved with a talky and unconvincing denouement. Raffo does create appealing characters including  the substantive title role which she herself plays. [more]

T.B. Sheets

May 18, 2017

The opening resembles that of Mann’s novel: a horse and buggy deliver a visitor to a tuberculosis sanitarium on a mountain top overlooking a valley, suggesting that the unspecified time is 100 years ago, prior to W.W. I. Immediately, the doctor discovers that the newcomer has T.B. and needs weeks of rest. This One Who Has Come from the City to Heal meets and interacts with the other denizens, including a healer, a mother of a degenerate child, one who is building a space ship, and one who composes sounds and visions, as well as having the ability to see those who have passed away. [more]

The Place We Built

May 6, 2016

As Hungary took a turn to the extreme right in recent years, anti-Semitism and xenophobia not only raised their heads, but became de facto pillars of the new government. The Place We Built delves into the personal plight of an ad hoc blending of often contentious, mostly loving twenty-somethings who inadvertently wind up building and creating a meeting place of like minds in the old Jewish Ghetto and thereby defying and antagonizing the powers-that-be. [more]

Wolf in the River

March 26, 2016

Directed by the author, "Wolf in the River" is an environmental production as the audience is invited to sit in folding chairs around a mound of earth with forlorn flowers, garbage and debris. However, there are set pieces and props located in the four corners of the venue as well. When the play begins, a man sitting in the audience gets up, strips off his shirt and shoes, and becomes the play’s narrator and master of ceremonies, as well as one of the characters. In an unnamed Southern American location, we are on the banks of a river (the audience is the river) filled with alligators. Six actors in pasty make-up wander around the outer perimeter of the room. Although the program does not explain their presence, the script reveals that they are the ghosts of those who have perished in the river. [more]

In Quietness

January 16, 2016

Directed by Danya Taymor, 'In Quietness" excels in its exploration of intimacy. When dialogue is being spoken between two actors at a time, there are moments of silence that are loaded with implication. It is a credit to the director that more character development happens with nothing being said at all rather than when a character is speaking. Kristen Robinson’s set design is efficient enough—the whole stage is made to look like the inside of a chapel—though it is made much more effective by intelligent lighting design by Masha Tsimring and Caitlyn Rappaport. [more]

Sisyphus

March 1, 2015

"Sisyphus" played at the Abrons Arts Center this February, the newest avant-garde production from Experiments In Opera. Composers Jason Cady, Aaron Siegel, and Matthew Welch (acting as their own librettists) created a promising concept for an opera, with a cultural abundance of Greek myth at their disposal to create a beautiful libretto. However, this world premiere was a case of more tragedy, full of missed opportunities, rather than inspiring. [more]