News Ticker

The Tank

Rent Party

July 15, 2019

"Rent Party" is billed as a show for the whole family, but it will be of real interest primarily to preteen children. At that, it seems a rather dull outing. The actors here tend to speak in a sing-song-y manner. Very little humor or visual excitement ensues. Jazz Cat could have been a lively and entertaining figure, but he makes infrequent appearances, often speaking a few bland couplets before retreating to a corner. [more]

Open

June 19, 2019

Skillman unfolds an achingly beautiful story, dropping bits and pieces of Kristen’s thoughts and memories as she balances her tightrope of love, commitment, sacrifice and transformation. Hill’s performance as Kristen is funny, honest, compelling and heartbreaking; one cannot take their eyes off her, and it’s not because she is the sole occupant of the stage. [more]

Butterflies

June 3, 2019

"Butterflies," which won the Mario Fratti Award at New York’s “In Scena!” theater festival in 2016, has been translated by Carlotta Brentan and directed by Jay Stern in a production at Manhattan’s The Tank. It’s an earnest endeavor, and the two young women playing the sisters (Annie Watkins as Blonde and Danielle Sacks as Brunette) both give strong performances. The play, though, is talky and overblown. Perhaps Aldrovandi’s original has lost something in translation, or maybe his play draws on Italian cultural and theatrical conventions that don’t sit so well with American audiences. In any case, Aldrovandi hits no bullseyes with this production. [more]

The Buffalo Play

May 13, 2019

Folks, this is no ordinary play, and it's not for everyone. Call it an absurd commentary, a daydream, a nightmare, a fantasia, a memory play--come see it and decide what you want to call it. [more]

Bathsheba’s Psalms, Or a Woman of Unusual Beauty Taking a Bath

April 8, 2019

Ranger spins the story for a 2019 audience mindful of and vigilant about sex and gender issues—especially those involving consent, privilege and toxic masculinity. The play transpires in a sort of limbo-like dimension that is part Iron Age and part near-future. It’s a world in which the old gender rules are fully in play. Powerful men can take and then discard women as they please, and if a woman goes to a pharmacy to pick up a morning-after pill, she’ll get turned down with sneering derision: “We’re a Christian nation now. No more murdered babies on our hands.” [more]

Eat the Devil

February 25, 2019

In this madcap universe, passengers on a jet are caught in a space warp known as a “corn hole” that was caused by Amazon’s tampering with the atmosphere to speed up delivery times, Amazon is developing a female sex robot, and an insidious virus is unleashed. This pestilence manifests itself by causing people to become “furries” where they identify as animals and wear appropriate physical embellishments. The population has internet chips implanted in their heads, “Blow Hole” a cross of Facebook and YouTube is the prime communications platform, and “twats” go viral on “Twatter.” [more]

Wendell & Pan

January 15, 2019

A spirited cast and a talented director do their best to bring playwright Katelynn Kenney’s heartfelt but leaden "Wendell & Pan" to the stage. It’s an unsatisfying family secrets drama laden with allusions to "Peter Pan." The mystical revelatory sequence near the end and the protracted coda magnify the previously flawed writing. Tinkerbelle is represented by a flickering firefly in a glass jar and when released does cause a lovely effect. [more]

Real

January 7, 2019

The supernatural scenario is a little like something one might find on an eerie episode of Alfred Hitchcock’s old TV anthology. Unfortunately, it all comes off as fairly stilted and heavy-handed. This is due in part to some of the flowery language that Nogueira uses (“I have the strength of a river to drown my sobbing heart with a loving rage”). But it also has to do with Ortman’s direction, which eschews realism in favor of a highly self-conscious theatricality. [more]

A 2018 Ten Best List

December 19, 2018

Darryl Reilly, Critic There were so many exceptional original plays among the 144 productions that [more]

The Truth About Santa

December 11, 2018

This nonsensical, broad comedy is penned by the clever Greg Kotis ("Urinetown"). Songs and arrangements by Steven Gross are whimsical and entertaining, and costume designer Whitney Locher presents her vaudevillian best in this frothy piece. Led expertly by director Ilana Becker, the cast bludgeons, connives and wiggles their way through this slice of holiday slapstick; young and old, the actors’ comic timing is well-honed and the fun they have performing this piece is entirely infectious. [more]

When We Went Electronic

October 30, 2018

Ms. Stephens has a substantial pedigree with her previous works having appeared at prestigious institutions and winning awards. The piffle on display here does exhibit craft, discipline and structure but to little effect as it sputters out after 70-minutes. The title is an Anthony Burgess’ "A Clockwork Orange" attempt at an invented slang. It refers to getting high and is tiresomely repeated countless times. “Look book” is another catchphrase that gets run into the ground. The dialogue is nonsensical, vulgar, often coarse and is supposed to be funny. [more]

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]