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Victor Almanzar

Medea (Brooklyn Academy of Music)

February 9, 2020

While Simon Stone’s adaptation is engrossing for its surprising updates, it never captures the emotions, seeming more like a gimmick that a reworking of the Greek tragedy. With most of the actors underplaying their roles, the emotional temperature never really heats up even when the audience is confronted with various horrors. The use of the video screen and the all-white set somewhat distances the audience from the events on stage which undercuts the tragedy unfolding. Don’t blame Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale, who have given much more impassioned performances elsewhere, as they seem to be pawns of Stone’s concept. [more]

Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven

December 17, 2019

Besides Mr. Skittles, there are 18 other characters of different races, ages, genders and sexualities. They’re a cross section of the downtrodden and those involved with aiding them. Ex-convicts, the homeless, an Iraq war veteran, drug addicts, battered women and their children, social workers, staff members, law officers, a trans woman who incites divisiveness, and a wily Catholic priest who once threw a man off the roof of a building are all vividly realized by Mr. Guirgis’ supreme command of dramatic writing. Each one of these many figures are majestically fleshed out, some in great detail. Guirgis goes beyond offering a loving mosaic of character studies by gradually injecting a suspenseful narrative that reaches a bleak yet hopeful conclusion. [more]

Between Riverside and Crazy

February 16, 2015

Venerable and accomplished fixture of the theater, Austin Pendleton has perfectly directed the play. The characters and their relationships have all been minutely realized and the action well staged. Scenic designer Walt Spangler’s turntable set brilliantly renders the various rooms in Pops’ apartment as well as the building’s rooftop. Among the authentic looking details and props is a mournful Christmas tree with lights that subtly comments on the passage of time. [more]

Between Riverside and Crazy

August 1, 2014

This breakfast chat is in the opening of scene of Between Riverside and Crazy, by Stephen Adly Guirgis. In a series of plays that include Our Lady of 121st Street, Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train and The Motherf***er with the Hat, Mr. Guirgis has become known for affectionately dramatizing the lives of passionate, off beat, New York City characters with inimitably colorful dialogue. [more]