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Vincent Gunn

State of the Union

February 28, 2019

Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse’s 1946 Pulitzer Prize winning political play, "State of the Union," should be, by all accounts, dated in its depiction of the 1948 presidential political campaign with 1940’s references to people no longer household names. However, it seems more relevant than ever thanks in part to Laura Livingston’s smart and sassy revival for Metropolitan Playhouse, whose mission is to explore America’s diverse theatrical heritage. Her crackerjack production of this fast-paced political and romantic comedy moves like a house on fire and lands every one of its jokes. In addition, the play is so wise about the ways of backroom politics and Lindsay and Crouse have isolated a great many post-W.W. II issues that are now front page news again that this well-written and well-crafted comedy, although a period piece, has a great deal to say once more. Great fun will be had by all, both Republicans and Democrats, as well as independents. [more]

Shadow of Heroes

November 26, 2018

While Alex Roe’s minimalist production is both sharp and engrossing, the play offers viewers several problems. Aside from the three main characters, the play has 23 other speaking roles with actors doubling and tripling in multiple roles. Those unfamiliar with the Hungarian names as well as the history may have trouble following the twisty drama as the events pile up. Ardrey uses the awkward device of a narrator actually called the “Author” (played by Joel Rainwater) which helps a greatly but this also leads to a good deal of excess information. At almost three hours, "Shadow of Heroes" is an investment in time but it does pay off in the end. There are very few plays since Shakespeare which attempt as this one does to dramatize such a large chunk of history on stage. [more]