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Sheen Center for Thought & Culture

Prinze: The One-Man Show

November 5, 2018

Sonera opens the show with Prinze doing one of his sets at the Improv Club in New York City, 1976, beginning with one of his famous lines, “Looking good!” and continuing with his sardonic comments about Puerto Ricans (“A lot of people think Puerto Ricans are responsible for cockroaches.”) and civil rights.  He speaks of touring to Florida and the frustration of having to perform in front of old people and then goes on to disparage blacks and gays, all material that would be PI today, but delivered as a “nice guy” who’s just observing the world. [more]

Little Rock

July 3, 2018

Using a tremendously talented and versatile cast of nine actors (three black male actors, three black female actors, as well as three white performers) playing from three roles to 12, the story of the year these heroic teenagers spent integrating the previously segregated high school becomes high drama. Rasean Davonte Johnson’s unit setting with its banks of stairs makes copious use of Wendall K. Harrington’s projection design for the many locations in the city of Little Rock, inside and outside of the school and the homes of the participants, as well as historical footage of the events and the people. "Little Rock" also includes snatches of 14 songs, some sung as choruses and others as solos including “Eyes on the Prize” and “We Shall Overcome,” which add a human dimension to the often startling events depicted. [more]

Bedlam’s Pygmalion

April 4, 2018

Scenic designer John McDermott has turned the black box space at the Sheen Center into an intimate amphitheater with the audience sitting around three sides of Higgins’ laboratory/study with no viewer more than four rows from the action. When Eliza arrives to arrange for lessons on her small income, we discover what we already suspected: this Eliza has been born in India and she is prone to speak in Hindi when she gets excited, just like her father Alfred Doolittle does when he follows her to Wimpole Street to see what he can get out of her good fortune - when she sends for her things but not her clothes. This adds a new, contemporary level to the play: Eliza is an immigrant rather than an East End cockney which contributes to the play’s current relevance. [more]

A Corona Works: Thorns of the Crown

September 20, 2016

Two queen-like figures, Ms. Corona and Maricarmen Garcia, dressed in a parade of Aviad Arik Herman’s sumptuous costumes, reigned over four young men—Nick Burrage, Alexandre Barranco, Nicholas Montero and Michael Bishop (dressed in Herman’s tight, revealing shorts). The men morphed into the roles of consorts and warriors, manipulated by the two royal ladies into confrontations involving vividly acrobatic ballet steps and quotes from Shakespeare. [more]

Bridgman|Packer Dance

July 20, 2016

At times, Hopper’s paintings—mostly the moody ones—were inhabited by the dancers who took on the iconic, emotionally laden poses so brilliantly painted by Hopper, helped by Frank DenDanto III’s fine lighting. Outdoor scenes, images of isolated houses and rows of urban buildings added to the complexity. Endlessly long corridors, down which the dancers wandered, appeared as the soundtrack (by Scott Lehrer and Leon Rothenberg) alluded to city sounds, distant trains, conversations and nature. The two dancers were never eclipsed by the set and projections, their emotional states always in flux and always crystal clear. The effect was often breathtakingly and movingly beautiful. [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]