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Dale Soules

The Welkin

June 24, 2024

It is the first year that Haley’s comet has been predicted. Sally Poppy, trapped in a loveless marriage at age 21, has committed a murder with her lover of a child from a rich family she has worked for. She has been sentenced to death by hanging and then to be anatomized (you really don’t want to know). However, she has declared she is with child. If it is true, she will be deported to America after the child is born. But is it true? Twelve local matrons have convened in an unheated upper room of the courthouse to decide on the truth of her statement, from women who know her to be a liar, to those who pity her hard life, from older women with many children, to young ones about to have their first child, from a gentlewoman down to a simple farmer’s wife. The central character is Elizabeth Luke (played by film and television star Sandra Oh), the local midwife who does not wish to see injustice occur. She has brought Sally into the world but though she doesn’t know her since, she feels that the all-male court has not given her a fair chance. On the opposite side is Mrs. Charlotte Cary, a colonel’s widow who is convinced from private knowledge that Sally is a bad one and could be guilty of any crime. [more]

Woman and Scarecrow

June 5, 2018

Unfortunately, O'Reilly’s heavy reliance on the production team is also indicative of a significant problem: the play is repetitive. Despite finding new, and often lovely, poetic ways to convey the centrality of death to life, Carr’s thoughts and arguments quickly begin to sound like the same melody over and over again, just in a different key. O’Reilly tries to distract us from this fault by giving the Gottlieb-Rumery-Corcoran trio creative free rein; the deathbed, for example, frequently looks like it’s floating somewhere in the cosmos. But the images invariably keep giving way to the words, which, though beautiful, grow tiresome by the second act. [more]

The Mother of Invention

February 10, 2017

Playwright James Lecesne has been acclaimed for his solo performance works, most recently "The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey." Here, he has written a traditional play employing theatrical devices that’s a mélange of David Sedaris, Charles Busch and Modern Family. There are one-liners galore, wacky situations and a decidedly campy sensibility. It’s a bunch of superficial antics that never really meaningfully connect. [more]

Shows for Days

July 13, 2015

The production, directed with oddly erratic pacing by the experienced Jerry Zaks, stars the imperious Patti LuPone as the acidly ambitious Irene, the doyenne of a theatrical troupe in Reading, Pennsylvania, in the early Seventies. Wide-eyed, always ebullient Michael Urie, as Car, Beane’s stand-in, becomes her acolyte/scene painter/receptionist/new playwright in the process of discovering a world his suburban existence never hinted at. He is the author’s glib stand-in who keeps the audience in the loop with apt descriptions, editorial comments and sexual confessions. [more]


March 30, 2015

In Doug Wright’s "Posterity" at the Atlantic Theater Company two monumental cultural figures of 19th century Norway lock horns in a battle of wits and sensibilities with tragic results. Wright, who seems to have a penchant for writing about real people (viz. "Quills," "I Am My Own Wife," and "Grey Gardens"), here, takes on Henrik Ibsen, monumental 19th century playwright, and sculptor Gustav Vigeland, forty years his junior. [more]