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Enver Chakartash

Stereophonic

April 27, 2024

David Adjmi’s "Stereophonic" at the Golden Theatre, a transfer under the auspices of Playwrights Horizons, is a minutely detailed, almost minute-by-minute recreation of a recording session by a rock band, purportedly based on Fleetwood Mac’s creation of its epic album "Rumours" in 1976.  (Adjmi has denied that this was his inspiration, claiming that the show has an amalgam of sources.) [more]

Teeth

April 13, 2024

Sarah Benson’s direction is spot-on, but we find ourselves wishing the closing scene was more than just a plethora of bloody penises. This is where the creatives needed to say, “Okay, this is probably not what we wanted to say”. Adam Rigg’s scenic design though spare, is perfect for a mid-America room that can pass as a small church, or AA meeting. The neon cross is a great touch and Jane Cox and Stacey Derosier’s changing colors do not go unnoticed…particularly when the cross is pink amidst a lavender wash when Ryan is in the scene. Enver Chakartash’s costume design is appropriate across the board, although the women’s outfits in the closing scene are a mélange of Tina Turner’s castoffs from "Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome." Choreographer Raja Feather Kelly provides fine ensemble suites for the Promise Keeper Girls. [more]

Stereophonic

November 7, 2023

Not since Stephen Sondheim’s "Sunday in the Park with George" have “civilians” gotten so close to the creative individual’s “process” when attending a theater piece. David Adjmi’s "Stereophonic" is an intensely personal work that examines the creation of a rock album, a group’s follow-up to a late-blooming debut, in the very competitive music scene of the 1970’s. As the characters in the play have been compared to the celebrated Fleetwood Mac members in many articles appearing before the opening of this production, it’s safe to say this is an exquisite fantasia on the creation of the now-legendary rock masterpiece known as "Rumours," an album firmly in Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 10 of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” [more]

A Doll’s House

March 19, 2023

Like Ivo van Hove’s pared-down revival of Arthur Miller’s "A View from the Bridge," Jamie Lloyd’s new Broadway production of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 "A Doll’s House" uses no sets or props and all black costumes for the entire cast. Going even further than van Hove, he has the heroine Nora Helmer played by film star Jessica Chastain seated almost for the entire length of this intermission-less three-act play. Using a new version by Amy Herzog recast in spare modern vernacular, this Doll’s House proves to be riveting and intense, even if you know the play very well,  focusing our attention on the dialogue, the acting and emotion, rather than the décor and the historical trappings of 19th century Norway as we usually do. [more]

Public Obscenities

March 11, 2023

Shayok Misha Chowdhury’s "Public Obscenities" having its world premiere at the Soho Rep is an immersive story into Bengali culture in Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta. Directed by the author in 12 episodes which are given chapter names, this two hour and 50 minute play is as much like a television mini-series as it is a family saga. The realistic production resembles a film as much as it is possible on a stage with our attention being guided to various alcoves as though they were film cuts on the remarkable setting by the collective dots. The play is challenging as the first long extended scene is mainly in Bangla, the language of Kolkata, without supertitles. While the rest of the play is translated when it is bilingual, the dialogue is studded with Bangla words which are left up to the audience to figure out. [more]

The Trees

March 7, 2023

Borinsky’s dialogue is filled with colorful, quirky lines which are often funny and entertaining, but the entire script borders on absurdity without a cohesive through point. There are a handful of lines which carry a promise of meaning, but most are tossed into the air like tweets, missing connections and lacking purpose. There’s a passage inspired from ​Deuteronomy 20:19, which, if it’s supposed to be the inspiration for the plot, stands alone as one of the few sage moments in the story. [more]

Catch as Catch Can

November 10, 2022

Chung has the six characters played by three actors, each playing a parent/child duo switching from one to the other in confusing frequency. In addition, each actor plays a parent of the opposite gender. To muddy things even further, all the characters are played by Asian-Americans who make honest, but failing, attempts to adopt working class Italian and Irish Catholic accents and attitudes.  Lon/Daniela are played by Cindy Cheung; Roberta/Robbie by Jon Norman Schneider; and Theresa/Tim by Rob Yang. [more]

I’m Revolting

October 5, 2022

There are two truisms in life in addition to the one about death and taxes: it takes all kinds of people to make a world and something will get everyone in the end. The world premiere of Gracie Gardner’s "I’m Revolting" beautifully proves both points. A sensitive and perceptive play set in the waiting room of a private New York City skin cancer clinic, the play introduces us to all walks of people and many reactions to medical reports. The ensemble cast includes several veteran actors (Laura Esterman, Glenn Fitzgerald, Peter Gerety and Patrice Johnson Chevannes) and several not so well known faces. Knud Adams’ direction is subtle and unobtrusive allowing life to pass on the Linda Gross stage of the Atlantic Theater Company. [more]

English

February 28, 2022

You may have never thought about it before but you are defined by your language. Your identity is shaped by the words you have and the words you don’t. You can say certain things in one language but not in another. Being bilingual you have one identity, two, or have a split personality. Learning a new language may be like finding a new identity as an adult after you have learned to live with the old one for a long time. These ideas are all beautifully handled in Sanaz Toossi’s lovely, poignant new play, "English," under the astute direction of Knud Adams, now being given its world premiere in a co-production between Atlantic Theater Company and Roundabout Theatre Company at the Linda Gross Theater. We grow to care about the characters as we watch them struggle with learning English as though their lives depended on it. [more]

Wolf Play

February 15, 2022

Hansol Jung’s "Wolf Play" is a fantasy on several levels but it is also rather confusing in its details. Inspired by the true case of an Asian adoptee who was “re-homed” on the Internet when his new American parents no longer wanted him, the play also conflates this with the idea of the lone wolf who does not assimilate into a society of like animals. In addition, the Korean adoptee is played by a puppet that is manipulated by a character called “Wolf.” The author who is particularly interested in the families we choose makes the new parents a queer entity, adding another level of complication to the storyline. [more]

Is This a Room

October 25, 2019

The performances as well as the dialogue are cool and unemotional as you might expect from four professionals used to doing their jobs, until about three quarters of the way through when Winner confesses to having mailed out the document that they have been asking her about after admitting that she had printed it out to read it. From then on for the last 15 minutes, the tension rises as it become obvious that Winner will not be allowed to go home. [more]

My Old Man (And Other Stories)

October 10, 2016

Gentili and Davis riotously appear together in a confrontational scene that’s similar in style to one of Tennessee Williams’ outlandish later works written during his 1960’s drug fueled “Stoned Age.” It culminates in an outrageous catfight right out of the campy 1960’s 'Batman" television series. [more]