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Sinan Refik Zafar

To My Girls

April 15, 2022

Lee peppers his worn scenario with plenty of pop, cultural and political references, well-crafted zingers and familiar conflicts. Dating apps, "Dancer from the Dance," "Sex and the City" are among the totems cited and a Trump supporter is declared to be a “MAGA fag.” "To My Girls" succeeds as a rote genre-piece for a niche audience desiring a simplistic gay play where there’s laughter, tears and resolution in drag danced to The Pointer Sisters. Lee’s thinly drawn characters are highly playable. [more]

English

February 28, 2022

You may have never thought about it before but you are defined by your language. Your identity is shaped by the words you have and the words you don’t. You can say certain things in one language but not in another. Being bilingual you have one identity, two, or have a split personality. Learning a new language may be like finding a new identity as an adult after you have learned to live with the old one for a long time. These ideas are all beautifully handled in Sanaz Toossi’s lovely, poignant new play, "English," under the astute direction of Knud Adams, now being given its world premiere in a co-production between Atlantic Theater Company and Roundabout Theatre Company at the Linda Gross Theater. We grow to care about the characters as we watch them struggle with learning English as though their lives depended on it. [more]

Shhhh

February 6, 2022

Warning: "Shhhh," a world premiere commissioned by Atlantic Theater Company from Clare Barron, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize-winner for "Dance Nation," may just be the most visceral play you will ever see, describing all bodily fluids graphically from saliva to urine to feces and blood. It is not for the faint-hearted. "Shhhh" is meant for those who like adventurous, cutting- edge theater, performance that pushes the envelope.  You may not like it but you will not easily forget it. [more]

Cullud Wattah

November 27, 2021

All of us are probably aware of the problems of polluted water in Flint, Michigan, owing to civic neglect. However, it might shock you to know that it is still going on. Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s 2021 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize winning play, "Cullud Wattah," takes on this crisis through the prism of one family of three generations of Black women living in the same house. The material is powerful and explosive. We learn a great deal about the crisis as well as see how it personally affects all five of these women in one family. Director Candis C. Jones has obtained the kind of performances from her ensemble cast that makes you feel that these actresses have lived and worked together for years when they may have never met before now. [more]

All the Natalie Portmans

March 2, 2020

MCC Theater’s New York premiere of C.A. Johnson’s new play "All the Natalie Portmans" is a lovely work which resembles other such modern coming of age plays from Carson McCullers’ "The Member of the Wedding" to Lynn Nottage’s "Crumbs from the Table of Joy" as well as moments from Tennessee Williams’ "The Glass Menagerie" in its depiction of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive. While the play is not entirely fresh, the characters are so honestly drawn that director Kate Whoriskey’s cast not only holds our interest but makes us worry about their futures. The play does not contain many surprises as the family is obviously on a downward spiral but we hope against hope that Keyonna and Samuel will survive the battle. [more]