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The Tank

In the Penal Colony

September 9, 2018

Director Miranda Haymon’s electric staging of her pared down yet faithful adaptation is filled with dialogue characteristic of Kafka and bracing sequences. Basketball is a key visual metaphor as the performers mime shooting hoops, run in place, do pushups and vigorously glide from bit to bit. Ms. Haymon’s commanding technique is combined with technical production achievements. Zack Lobel’s intense lighting design and sound designers Anthony Dean and Matthew Catron’s blaring whistles and pulsing renditions of electronic music all yield to an entrancing presentation. This plays out on scenic designer Tekla Monson’s stark bare black-accented set that is backed by a mirror. [more]

Stray

July 23, 2018

As the sleek and black-clad Tanya Marquardt vigorously wraps up her self-written 60-minute autobiographical show "Stray," with her giddy dancing and hurling her ponytail around, the aimless first half has been redeemed by the more cohesive second half. It’s been like traveling back in time to Club 57, The Pyramid Club or another of the East Village performance venues of the 1980’s. [more]

whatdoesfreemean?

July 8, 2018

Filloux in collaboration with director Amy S. Green have distilled the raw data they gathered into a searing and poignant narrative containing absurdist flourishes that include a talking laboratory mouse. The play is structured as a series of short pungent scenes. Filloux’s dialogue poetically conveys the harsh realities the underprivileged face and their bleak worldview. [more]

Chatter

July 5, 2018

Mr. Kahn’s dialogue is a witty amalgam of up to the minute lingo, well-observed lifestyle data, psychological insights and emotional depth that all realistically and artfully conveys the characters’ Millennial sensibility. Allusions to "Friends" and "Sex in the City" abound, apps are analyzed, real estate is obsessed over and salaries are disclosed. The passage of time is connoted by Claire’s birthdays that flow from one to the next. [more]

Manufacturing Mischief

June 18, 2018

Noam Chomsky, Karl Marx, Ayn Rand, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs and a “Tiny” Trump all on stage at the same time, verbally jousting with each other?  Pedro Reyes’ "Manufacturing Mischief" at the Tank does, indeed, throw these historic figures together in a play that is intellectually stimulating and quite witty as these giants tear each other apart. [more]

Let’s Get Ready Together

June 4, 2018

Playwright Lizzie Stern has an ear for contemporary discourse and her dialogue is well-crafted. The characters are appealing and are finely detailed. The universal focus is on the relationships of the young women, their youthful idealism and their conflicts with their mothers. Structurally inspired, there are phone calls to the mothers, voice overs and confessional asides. Ms. Stern has a good grasp of the theatrical but her plotting is faulty. [more]

Leisure, Labor, Lust 

April 2, 2018

Besides depicting the upper crust, the lives of the servants are harshly detailed with inspiration from social documentarian Jacob Riis’ muckraking journalism. There are searing descriptions of the bleak existence in the Lower East Side tenements that include death from cholera.  Ms. Farrington ingeniously grafts the characteristics of Wharton and Riis with her own imaginative powers in her finely written and bold scenario that is set in 1907 and is structured in three acts. [more]

Pillowtalk

January 21, 2018

Kyoung H. Park's "Pillowtalk" mixes the mysteries of passionate, but flawed, love with the realities of racism in today’s society, specifically, Brooklyn, New York, where Sam (Basit Shittu), a hunky African American and former Olympic swimmer is married to Buck (JP Moraga), a sleek Asian American journalist.  Both are in a constant battle with the White-dominated society which constantly undermines the lives of people of color.  Park’s direction of his play is straightforward and “in your face” giving this rarely seen corner of society some needed exposure. [more]

A Hunger Artist

June 16, 2017

"A Hunger Artist" takes morbid subject matter and turns it into a metaphorical look at obsession and human suffering.  By focusing on one hunger artist, Luxenberg and Levin manage to make a universal statement that leaves the audience bereft, images of unbelievable suffering lingering long after leaving the theater. [more]

Charleses

April 20, 2017

The dialogue is sparse as various mundane activities are depicted, such as learning to drive, shaving and ordering food from a deli. The infants are played by adult actors. The cast wears matching wigs. Andrea Hood’s authentically simple costume design is comprised of jeans, shorts, trousers, plaid shirts, and T-shirts. The production all has a Thornton Wilder-style quality. [more]

Butcher Holler Here We Come

July 29, 2015

"Butcher Holler Here We Come" begins like any other theatrical: a quick pre-show announcement to silence all electronic devices, a note about the run-time of the production, and then a black out. The difference is that once those house lights go completely dark, they never turn back on until the final bow. With the exception of the small mining headlamps strapped to the foreheads of the five actors in the production, from beginning to end, this entire show is performed in darkness. In fact, it is nearly fifteen minutes in complete darkness before even one of the actors turns on a headlamp. [more]

What Are You Eating?

May 22, 2015

This score is a pleasant folk music affair with puns, sincerity, and silliness. Other characters such as a grouchy doctor appear as cardboard cutout puppets, along with cardboard cutouts of various foods. The audience on stage occasionally joins in for bantering and comments, and holding up their cardboard food from their plates. ...Mr. Wright is an excellent puppeteer and Mr. Singer is a fine guitarist/composer, and the two have a great camaraderie and both sing very well.  They created this good-natured show that is ably directed by Emily DeCola, with a breezy pace and lovely visual stagecraft. [more]