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Nicholas Houfek

Utility

February 8, 2016

Schwend’s dialogue is realistic, believable, and true to life, as are the characters. As a play, however, it is a bit of a downer as we watch Amber become wearier without any relief in sight. Aside from Chris who is always putting everything off until tomorrow, Amber’s mother (who has been conned into liking him as a good father) is always begrudging about helping out though she lives down the block and doesn’t have anything else to do. The atmosphere and the characters are real, but each scene is just more and more of the same which becomes depressing and tiresome – just like Amber’s life. There is also the question of where the money comes from to buy all of the items that are carried in the door – unless the family is living on credit card debt which is never mentioned. This is also the sort of play where we hear a get deal about the children Janie, Max and Sammy, but the author manages to keep them off stage all evening. [more]

American Dance Platform: Fist and Heel Performance Group & Martha Graham Dance Company

January 16, 2016

Reggie Wilson has been combining dance and cultural anthropology for many years. His troupe, Fist & Heel Performance Group, is a living testament to his passion with “Moses(es), Moses(es),” his full-company work, a living and breathing example of his philosophy. In his program notes, Mr. Wilson explained that this work was based on “the many iterations of Moses in religious texts, and in mythical, canonical and ethnographic imaginations,” a big subject that, unfortunately, doesn’t lend itself to a dance interpretation. In fact, Mr. Wilson’s description, not withstanding, it would be difficult to find any reference to that Jewish Biblical giant in “Moses(es), Moses(es),” except when the entire company sang a song whose only word was “Moses.” [more]

Couriers and Contrabands

September 11, 2015

Director Kareem Fahmy is also ambiguously credited as “Co-Developer.” Mr. Fahmy’s staging is purposeful when it grapples with the problematic first act and does achieve very fine work from the cast. In the second act, his direction of the action sequences are lively and the pace thankfully quickens. Scene transitions between the Montgomery house and Miss Gardner’s house are swiftly and cleverly executed. [more]