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Sara Thigpen

Chasing the River

February 12, 2020

The subject matter of "Chasing the River" is, of course, viable, but the play is not as nuanced and insightful as one would hope—nor is it particularly gripping. Sometimes the action feels stagey, and at other times it seems undercooked. Particularly problematic is the role of Nathaniel who is written and acted quite one-dimensionally. True, Giebel offers at least one surprising aspect of the character: We learn that he wanted a sports-playing boy-child, not daughters, and that he treated the tomboyish Kat (then called “Katie”) as a substitute for a son. We learn that he was able to gain Katie’s trust, which he then insidiously betrayed. We never wonder, however, whether he is anything other than an unrelenting nightmare of a person. There are scenes in which we see him being pleasant to Katie, but his bullying monstrousness seems always apparent. Most creeps—even the alcoholic ones—manage to hide their ugly sides now and then. [more]

And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little

May 10, 2017

Retro Productions’  50th anniversary revival of Paul Zindel’s "And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little" put the spotlight on an almost forgotten play that is worthy of revival. Shay Gines’ production with a game cast of seven is absorbing and compelling theater with characters that are bigger than life. Paul Zindel’s semi-autobiographical play comes alive in their hands. There may be more theatrical treasures to be mined from his collected plays. [more]

Universal Robots

June 12, 2016

'Universal Robots" uses historic characters like journalist and playwright Capek and President Masaryk of Czechoslovakia, characters taken from Capek’s play like Rossum, Helena and Radius, as well as fictional characters to fill out Rogers’ story. Seen in a different version at the 2009 New York Fringe Festival under the same name, "Universal Robots" has a long, leisurely expository first act and an exciting, tense, fast-paced second act. Director Jordana Williams allows the talky, intellectual ‘play of ideas’ in the first half to be a drag on the exciting, adventurous, plot-driven second half with its unusual twists and turns. [more]