Monthly Archives: March 2008

Everything Goes Right, Delightfully, After Frau Loses Her Underpants

From: The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Date: March 8, 2004
Author: Tony Brown

The Underpants” is exactly the kind of entertainment the Cleveland Play House has been searching for: a play smart enough to be considered literature and slam-bang funny enough to qualify as slapstick.

It’s an unbeatable combination that gives us a fun and funny night out that will also satisfy a theatergoer’s hunger for just a little substance.

Although the pacing is a tad slow — the Cleveland production runs about 10 to 15 minutes longer than the zippy, 90-minute version seen off-Broadway in 2002 — the Play House gets just about everything right in this comedy about sex and sexual politics.

The play, about a neglected...

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The rabbi has something to say

The rabbi has something to say
From: The San Diego Union-Tribune
Date April 2, 2001
Author: Anne Marie Welsh

Like the wisdom of the Meister Eckhart or Lao-Tzu, the tales of Rabbi Nachman, the last Jewish mystic, come down to us as sayings: “Through joy the spirit becomes settled; through sadness it goes into exile.” So what’s the meaning of a 225-year old enigma in the age of information? Everything, it turns out, for Elliott Green, the San Francisco nebbish who leaves word processing behind when he meets the rabbi and his creations during Yehuda Hyman’s wild and raw music-and-dance fable, “The Mad Dancers.”

The quirky and surprisingly funny work-in-progress opened Friday at the Lyceum...

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WELL-VERSED ACTORS BRING BLOODY POETRY TO LIFE

From: The Miami Herald
Date: November 2, 1993
Author: CHRISTINE DOLEN

You might assume that a play about Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, those two great and decidedly unconventional 19th Century British romantic poets, would be arty and full of more poetry than you’ve heard since freshman English. That it would be a literary history lesson, probably a little on the dull side.

Wrong. Oh, I’m sure you could dramatize the Shelley-Byron relationship that way, but British playwright Howard Brenton certainly defies all those expectations in Bloody Poetry, his 1984 play now being given a thrillingly acted revival by the Florida Shakespeare Festival.

With its second production since Hurricane...

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Havana: Self-Indulgent Destination

From: The Cincinnati Enquirer
Date: September 29, 2002
Author: Jackie Demaline

Playhouse in the Park’s Shelterhouse embarks on theatrical adventure this season, inviting audiences to places they haven’t been before.

First stop: Havana, an attempt to discover identity by revisiting the past, a tentative and complicated gay love story (featuring some brief, heavy necking).

The play, in fact, opens with Federico (Chez Mena) in bed (alone), speaking what, to a melody, would be the sappiest of love songs with gushy rhymes and overly rapturous allusion. This love song isn’t to a longed-for partner, it’s to a long-lost homeland.

Look a little more closely at the largely bare stage and, inlaid in a...

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`PICASSO’ PLEASANT, BUT VERY UNEVEN EXTENDED MONOLOGUES A STRONGPOINT

From Richmond Times-Dispatch
Date: May 20, 2000
Author: Roy Proctor

Early in Theatre Virginia’s uneven production of Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” the young Albert Einstein (Richard Ruiz) examines a drawing on a scrap of paper.

“I never thought the 20th century would be handed to me so casually,” he muses after a long pause. “Scratched out in pencil .*.*. tools thousands of years old, waiting for someone to move them in just this way.”

The audience silence is appropriate and profound.

Even though the 1904 happenings in the real Paris bar in Martin’s play are fictional, we have that spine-tingling feeling that we’re standing on the threshold of modern history.

That drawing was...

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AT GROVE BERTH, RAFTERS’ PASSAGE IS STILL MOVING

From The Miami Herald
Date: October 5, 1996
Author: CHRISTINE DOLEN

Passage, Loretta Greco’s moving and deeply felt play about Cuban rafters who risked life itself for freedom, has found a brief new berth at Miami’s Coconut Grove Playhouse, where it runs through Sunday.

The play’s journey from the tiny, 49-seat Area Stage on Miami Beach to the comparatively vast expanse of the Grove has been a lengthy one — spanning almost six months, involving much shaping of the piece’s stories, adding or changing cast members, earning Passage an incredibly warm embrace from Miami’s Cuban exile community. Drawn from Greco’s interviews with dozens of Cubans in exile and some still in Cuba, this...

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AREA STAGE SCORES WITH SHOCKING BUT HILARIOUS KVETCH

From: The Miami Herald
Date: November 14, 1992
Author: Christine Dolan

So you say your wife never has dinner on the table when you get home, and when it comes, it looks like burnt mush. And your husband pays you a romantic courtesy call maybe once a month, if you’re lucky. And your mother-in-law has more gas than Chevron, a fact you’re reminded of over dinner every damned Friday. And you’re panic-stricken at accepting a dinner invitation because if you do, oh God, you’ll have to reciprocate and you just can’t handle that!

Calm down already. Steven Berkoff understands.

Berkoff’s Kvetch, which has just opened at Miami Beach’s Area Stage, is a kind of owner’s manual of free-floating anxiety....

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ACME’S DOLORES RAIN IS LOUD, FLASHY, DERIVATIVE

From: The Miami Herald
Date: July 21, 1989
Author: Christine Dolan

The spirits of Indians — and of Tennessee Williams, Sam Shepard and David Mamet — are alive if not entirely well this week in the Acme Acting Company’s world premiere production of Janyce Lapore’s Dolores Rain.

The play, which is the first offering in Acme’s three-week new play festival in its performance space at Miami Beach’s Strand Restaurant, combines Mamet’s penchant for obscenity, Shepard’s love of myth and violent confrontation, and a maddened and emasculating Williams-style mama — but the result is only sporadically intriguing.

Dolores Rain (Kathleen Emrich) is a tough-talking, middle- aged mama who is loath to cut...

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CHARACTERIZATIONS ARE COMIC IN T- BONE

From: The Miami Herald
Date: May 31, 1993
Author: Christine Dolan

T Bone and Weasel are two petty South Carolina crooks who keep going back to the pen as reliably as the buzzards return to winter atop the Dade County Courthouse.

It’s not that T Bone (James Samuel Randolph) and Weasel (Jon Elliott Matchen) especially like prison life. It’s just that, as lawbreakers, the only thing they seem to do really well is get arrested.

Jon Klein’s darkly funny T Bone N Weasel, first done at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, Ky., has now burrowed into Miami Beach’s Area Stage. In cramped quarters against walls sporting a giant South Carolina map, T Bone and Weasel undertake a...

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DEFT ACTORS HAVE `SUMMER SHORTS’ UP AND RUNNING

From: The Miami Herald
Date: June 10, 2003
Author: Christine Dolen

Showbiz gets its due, and then some, during City Theatre’s Summer Shorts 2003, the company’s annual smorgasbord of bite-sized theater.

Theater-as-hell, tres gay cable access TV, lives played out from an actual script, an aspiring poet-performer’s life cut short – all flow from the imaginations of playwrights delving into write-what-you-know territory.

Grouped into two programs, this year’s 15 short plays (now at the University of Miami’s Ring Theatre, next month at the Broward Center) run the gamut from artsy theatricality to naturalistic warmth to hilarious parody. The deftly versatile eight-person acting company – Chaz Mena

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