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Loney's Show Notes
By Glenn Loney, July 2008.
About Glenn Loney
Caricature of Glenn Loney by Sam Norkin.
Please click on " * " to skip to each subject in this index:
New Plays: *
New Monologues: *
5th Annual Brits Off-Broadway Festival: *
End-of-Season at the New Victory: *
Other Entertainments/Other Venues: *
In the Good Old Days, the Broadway Theatre-Season ended 31 May. One very good reason was that none of the mainstream-theatres had Air-Conditioning way back then!
Not only that: both Fashionable-Audiences & Celebrated-Stars usually left the City for Summer-Vacations. Some boarded Ocean-Liners bound for Le Havre or Southampton. Others—like Eugene O'Neill's Family—retired to their homes on the Connecticut-Shore, or at Barnegat-Bay, Long-Branch, or Tuxedo-Park.
No one went out to the Hamptons then: that territory was all Potato-Farms & pre-celebrity Baldwins…
In any case, the Modern-Phenomenon of the Broadway Long-Run was virtually unknown before The Great War, now better-remembered—if at all—as World War I. Really popular plays would simply take an extended-holiday & re-open in the Fall. Mid-September was usually a convenient time…
Now, however, some major drama-productions & new musicals open during the so-called Summer-Break. This is not the ideal time, if you want well-considered reviews from the Major-Critics.
Your Scribe's long-standing summer-strategy has been to fly off to Europe, reporting on such Music-Theatre-Festivals as those of Bayreuth, Edinburgh, Munich, Bregenz, & Salzburg. If any summer-launched Manhattan shows have survived into September, I can always Catch-Up…
Jolted by the Worthlessness of the Dollar—compared to the Euro—& daunted by the virtual doubling of Travel-Costs, I decided to Stay-Home this summer.
Thus, there will be no Festival-Repots from Bayreuth or Bregenz & not a word about Munich or Salzburg.
Instead, I will be busy, writing two books about My Mother—her unusual summer-camp in Mother in Summer: A Month in the Country, as well as one about her Foster-Kids, in Mother in Winter: Nurture or Nature?
Wait for them! It has taken me Fifty-Years to put these Many-times-told-Tales down on Paper, but now it is much too late for pen & paper, so the Internet will have to do…
What you can expect: The Hilarious Willowbrook Summer-Camp Hi-Jinx; Indian-John —a Tuscarora-Chief—teaching the callow camp-kids from Piedmont, Berkeley, & San Francisco to make real Bows & Arrows; Riding on the Loney Camp Float in the 4th of July Parade in Grass Valley; Boating on Lake Olympia; Sleeping raw & Cooking-Out at the Loney Brothers Summer-Pastures in the High-Sierras; Riding Glenn Loney's Trick Circus-Horse Dolly; Visiting the Tragic Campsite of the Doomed Donner Party; Swimming in frigid Lake Tahoe, near the Loney-Cabins; Visits to the only Home the celebrated "Spanish-Dancer" Lola Montez—Mistress of Franz Liszt & King Ludwig I of Bavaria—ever owned; Moonlight Hay-rides down Back-Country-Roads to Ghost-Towns like Spenceville; Panning for Gold in the Yuba-River; Riding the Nevada County Narrow-Gauge RR over the World's Highest Narrow-Gauge Trestle: Digging for Indian-Beads in the ashes of Digger-Indian Grave-sites; Daily Vacation-Bible-School in the one-room school at Indian Springs; Exploring Rough & Ready—which seceded from the Union for Three-Days; Trips to North Bloomfield & the great copper-lakes at the Malakoff-Mines ruins; Visiting the Historic Fire-house in Nevada City—now replicated in Disney-World; Tours of the Empire & North Star Goldmines; Swimming in Clear Creek, Wolf Creek, & even in Dry Creek; Finding Agates in the Petrified-Forest at Blue-Tent; Picking Peaches in Marysville Orchards; Visiting the Old-Homestead Loney Brothers Ranch & Historic Loney Cemetery; Trips in the Willowbrook-Camp bus—a former Funeral-Parlor Hearse; Tasty camp-meals prepared by Miss Kate—Lyndon Johnson's First School-teacher! And much, much more…
This is Bret Harte & Mark Twain Country! Lola Montez taught the "Darling of the 49ers," Lotta Crabtree, to dance on a Blacksmith's-Anvil, so the story goes. The once-famed Harvard University Philosopher Josiah Royce was born on the site of the Grass Valley Public Library. [Grandpa Thomas Loney—born in Ireland in 1832!—nearly married his sister, Ruthie Royce, but did pay his way through UC/Berkeley!]
America's first International Opera-Star, Emma Nevada, called Nevada City home!
After all, Grass Valley & Nevada City are the Heart of the Northern Mines of the fabulous Mother-Lode in California. Quartz-Gold was discovered here in 1863, after the river & stream sluice-sites of 1849 had been panned-out.
Before World War II, there were some 40 Goldmines in Nevada County, including the Idaho-Maryland, the deepest-mine in the United States: your lawn-mower or your Virgin-Mary statue could disappear down holes in the lawn, as mine-tunnels collapsed, deep below!
Agriculture, Mining, & Logging: the Triumvirate of the Nevada County Economy!
And that's only the Summer-Story!
Mid-Summer Madness: It was my original intention to write at some length about the various challenging new productions I have seen in recent weeks in Manhattan. Unfortunately, Summer-Stresses of too many Unwritten Museum & Theatre Reports brought Your Scribe—via ambulance—to the Lenox Hill Hospital Emergency-Room, from which I have just returned, sadder but wiser.
So this Survey will have to be much more brief than I had planned. But I do want at least to salute by name the often-stunning stagings I have recently seen!
But first there's Good-News & Bad-News:
The bankruptcy-threatened Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ, has been saved from the Dumpster! The Millburn-Township has bought the land & the Theatre-buildings for some $9 million—which will help pay-off the theatre-management's very serious debts. The Township will rent the Playhouse back to the debtors-in-charge for $1 a year for the first two-years. Now the productions have to improve & bums found to fill the seats…
Minneapolis' ingenously-innovative Theatre de la Jeune Lune, however, has found no such a savior in its famed Municipality. It has been forced to close. It will be sold to repay a debt of merely $1 million.
The Theatre of the New Moon's productions are among the most imaginative I have ever seen. It has an International-Reputation & it won the Regional-Theatre Tony-Award in 2005!
What is the Problem with the City-Fathers in Minneapolis?
The tiny Township of Millburn can find $9 million to save what is in essence a year-round summer-theatre. But one of the Twin-Cities cannot save the wonderfully brilliant New Moon?
Any city or town in the European-Union would be glad to call this inventive-ensemble their own—with a handsome subsidy & theatre to match. That could, in fact, be the Answer to their Survival!
But then, Minneapolis—it should be remembered—is the Great American City that doesn't have enough money to keep its Defective-Bridges from falling into its Great River!
What it can afford, however, is funding to pay handsome young Cops in Plain-Clothes to sit in Toilet-Cabins at the Airport, waiting to entrap Senator Larry Craig.
Subsequent developments have shown that Senator Craig [R] is a happily-married man, with sons to prove it!
But when he needs to defecate in the confines of an Airport-Toilet, he must employ a "Wide-Stance" in order to achieve a George-Bushian "Mission-Accomplished" status.
And what kind of Young American Law-Enforcement Officer wants to waste his time working on the Vice-Squad? Catching needy & pathetic Cock-Suckers in the Loo is not going to protect us from Osama Bin Laden, is it?
Annie Baker's BODY AWARENESS [*****]
Neil LaBute's REASONS TO BE PRETTY [*****]
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's GOOD BOYS & TRUE [*****]
Richard F. Stockton's PRISONER OF THE CROWN [****]
EDWARD ALBEE'S OCCUPANT [****]
Carly Mensch's LEN, ALSEEP IN VINYL [**]
Ken Davenport's MY FIRST TIME [**]
Neil LaBute's compelling new drama of two young Working-Class Couples interacting will soon move to Broadway with its original cast intact: Look for Pablo Schreiber, Alison Pill, Thomas Sadowski, & Piper Perabo!
If you thought LaBute, in his earlier plays, was hostile to females, this interesting Tale of Two Women & their Dorkish-Lovers should change your mind about his alleged-mysoginy. And give you a really tense/amusing evening at the theatre!
Annie Baker's Body Awareness is an astonishment: I know those two women: the lovely, loving Lesbian-Lovers, trying desperately to embody New-Age-Mantras. But being seriously & comically undercut by a Sexist Male-Photographer & a Socially-Challenged Boy-Giant.
Body-Awareness Week at their small Vermont college proves to be a series of serio-comedic Disasters. This was economically but effectively designed in the Atlantic's tiny basement-bunker-space on West 16th.
Even before the action began in Good Boys & True, the set itself was an Art-Object worth contemplating: See-through-shelves loaded with Athletic-Trophies, the concept of designer Derek McLane.
There is no place for Confused-Sexuality in a premiere private Catholic Boys-High-School, & the Good Old Boys have a way of protecting their Privileges & Traditions, as J. Smith-Cameron soon discovers. Good cast with strong staging by Scott Ellis for 2nd Stage.
The Enduring-Horror of the Roger Casement Case—but largely for Left-over Victorians in London—was the fact/suspicion that he was not only an Irish-Traitor to the British-Crown, but also a Practicing-Homosexual!
"Prisoner of the Crown" by Ciarán O'Reilly, at the Irish Rep.
In Prisoner of the Crown—strongly-staged at the Irish Rep, by Ciarán O'Reilly—the famous Trial of Sir Roger Casement is revived, including the Infamous-Notebooks, in which he is alleged to have recorded his Sexual-Preferences with Specific-Instances!
Sir Roger may well have dealt with the Kaiser's-Government in Berlin—anything ardent Irish-Patriots could do to harm Britain, before Eire's Independence, seems to have been par-for-the-course—but was he hanged because of that—or actually because of his Disgusting-Encounters with Young-Lads? George Bernard Shaw & others believed the Diaries were forgeries…
Anne Bancroft was originally intended as the onstage-surrogate for Edward Albee's quasi-Interview with his quixotic friend, the Sculptor Louise Nevelson. Illness forced her withdrawal, so the play has lain in Albee's drawer till now, when Mercedes Ruehl revives Nevelson with a devastating portrayal.
Her nervous, agonized-interviewer, Larry Bryggman—as Albee's awkward-device for letting her talk about herself & her career—is fussing & fretting needlessly. This should have been a Monologue. But it ends with a stunning disclosure of an immense Nevelson-style Found-Object Wood-Sculpture, filling the entire rear-stage! Pam MacKinnon staged for Signature.
Len may be asleep in Vinyl—as an ex-record-producer—but Time Marches On & he has an Estranged-Son & Other-Issues. Jackson Gay staged for 2nd Stage Uptown.
It's almost like The Castle—with Ex-Cons on Stools, talking about their lives in-prison & after—but the men & women on stools in My First Time are discussing Exactly-That: Initial Sexual-Encounters!
These Unnecessary-Confessions have been "inspired by the website www.MyFirstTime.com." Ho-Hum! Audience-Interaction was encouraged, facilitated by filling-out Questionnaires that could later be recycled onstage…
Better Luck Next Fall!
John Lithgow's STORIES BY HEART [*****]
Conor McPherson's PORT AUTHORITY [***]
Judith Thompson's PALACE OF THE END [****]
Years ago, I used to be a regular at Princeton's McCarter Theatre. I much-admired the productions of its Artistic-Director, Arthur Lithgow, whom I first knew as the Creator of an admirable Shakespeare-Festival in Ohio. Ensconced in Princeton, he sent his assistant out to scout for new young talents for the McCarter's rep-ensemble.
In London, this delegate went to RADA & the Central School for Speech & Drama. He brought back Kathryn Walker and a charming young novice-actor named John Lithgow! Yes, Arthur's very own son…
In Stories by Heart, John recalls his growing-up in a loving family where Academia was always mixed with Theatre. This is a very warm, charming, loving Tribute to his Father & Mother, & to his Siblings, as well.
Even those who do not already know John Lithgow from his Broadway, Film, & TV starring-roles will surely be both amused & moved by his Stories. This show should travel the length & breadth of This Great Nation—even where they Hate-Theatre!
As with Brien Friel's Molly Sweeney, in Conor McPherson's Port Authority, three characters take turns in sharing their thoughts & memories. Unlike Molly, however, these fragments do not interact or interlink, so it takes more time—psychologically-speaking—to get through them.
The Port in question is not on the Hudson, but, rather, seems to be in Cork, Eire. And all that that entails…
In the Baghdad of Saddam Hussein, the Palace of the End was a palace where Enemy-Dissidents were tortured. The Invading American-Forces—with the so-called Coalition-of-the-Willing—have now taken it over. And Saddam's torture-methods as well…
Judith Thompson has imagined the thoughts & memories of three quite different people involved in Baghdad: one of them [Terri Lamm] is Lynndie England, the Anti-St. Joan of Abu-Ghraib.
Another is Dr. David Kelly—a No-Weapons-of-Mass Destruction Whistle-Blower—strongly played by Rocco Sisto, who rightly fears that Tony Blair's MI6 will Terminate him to keep him quiet.
The third is a charming & vibrant Baghdad woman [Heather Raffo], for whom both Saddam & the American-Occupiers have been personal & Familial-Disasters.
All three monologues—delivered in sequence, with no Intermission—are powerful & effectively-embodied. But the Totality is Too-Much to Bear. Much as I admire Raffo & Sisto & deplore what we have done in Iraq, facing the prospect of a Post-Performance Discussion with the cast & Belinda Cooper of the World Policy Institute, I fled.
AT 59 EAST 59:
5th Annual Brits Off-Broadway Festival:
Ian Rowlands' BLINK
Samuel Adamson's SOME KIND OF BLISS [****]
Bragg & Goodall's THE HIRED MAN [****]
David Greig's DAMASCUS [***]
Mike Bartlett's ARTEFACTS [***]
Philp Ridley's VINCENT RIVER [****]
Ian Rowlands' BLINK [***]
This Summer—owing to the Worthlessness of the Dollar & the ever-rising costs of Travel-Abroad—I won't be able to see the great new British Plays always on-display at the Traverse-Theatre & at other venues in the International Edinburgh-Festival & Fringe.
Fortunately, every summer 59 EAST 59 offers some of these often-challenging productions on its three stages. In July, there is even a potted-version of the Edinburgh-Events…
Lucy Briers is amazing in Some Kind of Bliss, a monologue about a really Bad-Day, going for an interview with a mindless Pop-Star. I was myself mugged in Shoreditch—mentioned in this play—but Briers had her bad-luck not so far away. When next in London—especially in the shabbier-areas—watch out!
Both Damascus & Artefacts are about what's happening in Iraq. And outside, as well. David Greig imagines a feckless Scots-salesman trying to push Lesson-Plans—full of patronizing comments on the Middle-East—to a Lady-Official. In the latter play, a priceless ceramic from the Ancient Mesopotamian Past is intentionally shattered!
Vincent River's desolate mother [Deborah Findlay] is interrogating Davey [Mark Field], a young man who discovered her homosexual-son's battered-body. But may he also have been one of Vincent's boy-friends?
The Hired-Man is an interesting British-Musical about the hazards of the separation of a young married-couple in English Cumbria. In Hard-Times, young men & young women without Land or Prospects went to Hiring-Fairs, where farmers—some of them cruel & demanding—would contract their labor for set-periods. Just one-step above Slavery, in some cases…
End-of-Season at the New Victory:
ONE OF A KIND [***]
PAST HALF REMEMBERED [****]
"IJK" and "One of a Kinf" at the Vicory Theater.
It has been a Great Season for the New Victory Theatre on the Theatre-Block of New 42nd Street. In my last report, I noted the wonderful Rumanian gymnast/dancers—Olympic-Ready—so it would be difficult to top their skills as Acrobats & Movement-Artists.
Nonetheless, Compagnie 111's IJK certainly had its moments, focusing on Circus-Arts & Sonic-Juggling. There was a visual-whiff of the old Laterna-Magika of Prague in some of these treat/feats. The ensemble says it is uniting "patterns & rhythms to create a mesmerizing landscape that defies linear-logic." It was also Fun To Watch…
Maria Michailovna was 100-years-old in 1999. She had survived the worst of Two Revolutions, Two World-Wars, the Siege of Stalingrad, & 70 Years of Soviet-Misrule. Her imagined-life was the inspiration for Past Half Remembered, honoring the sufferings of European-Women who stayed at home while their Men went Off-to-Fight—some never to return…
This harrowing tale was performed in English, Czech, French, & Norwegian!
Beginning in 1977, thousands of Ethiopian-Jews—like the Yemeni-Jews, the so-called Black-Jews—trekked to Sudanese Refugee-Camps, desperate to get an El-Al flight into Israel where they would begin a New-Life. It was an interesting footnote in their drama that they had to bribe pilots to get on the planes…
One of a Kind, however, is seen through the astonished-eyes of a child, so the Family's hardships & tragic-losses are imaginatively softened. Song & dance certainly help. Projected-animations are also used effectively.
The performers are from Israel's Nepesh Theatre, which the program insists is "one of the only African Theatre-Ensembles in the world." [They should tour Africa to discover how many African Theatre-Ensembles there actually are…]
Other Entertainments/Other Venues:
Bernd Alois Zimmermann's DIE SOLDATEN [*****]
Domenico Cimarosa's IL MATRIMONIO SEGRETO [****]
Arias & Twist's ARIAS WITH A TWIST [*****]
CIRQUE DREAMS JUNGLE FANTASY [***]
Friedman, Dempsy, & Groff's SAVED [***]
David Greenspan's OLD COMEDY AFTER ARISTOPHANES' FROGS [**]
Toy Theatre Festival: GREAT SMALL WORKS [****]
AN EVENING WITH GEORGE & LENNY [****]
"PERCUSSION FEAST" GALA CONCERT [****]
Die Soldaten is one of the most powerful & innovative productions of a modern-opera ever to be seen in Manhattan. The Met could not match it, nor could New York City Opera when they staged this challenging 12-tone work of Musik-Theater many seasons ago.
One reason for the stunning impact of Soldaten—chronicling the tragic/pathetic destruction of a naïve girl, with dreams of Marriage-Above-Her-Station—is its presentation in the vast Drill-Hall of the historic Park-Avenue-Armory. This remarkable staging is the Centerpiece of the Lincoln Center Festival.
The Audience perches in two stepped-sections of seating which are mounted on three broad sets of railroad-tracks, so that the audience moves slowly back & forth on either side of a narrow raised-stage that stretches the length of the Hall.
This effectively puts the spectators in the midst of the rapidly-unfolding scenes, showing the pretty Marie's swift ruination at the hands of callous men, not all of them Officers or Soldiers.
As written by JMR Lenz in the late 18th Century, the drama is not an Anti-War play—despite its Soldiers title—but rather about men who do not respect women. And their about foolish Victims.
In this David Pountney-directed production for the Ruhr-Triennale, the costumes are effectively Prussian/Victorian, but there is also a modern-relevance to this sad story, underlined by Bernd Alois Zimmerman's powerful, if difficult, score.
At the close—to show the degradations to which Marie has been ironically reduced—she is serially-raped by Three Santa-Clauses carrying tiny Christmas-Trees.
[It could be argued that Alban Berg's opera Wozzek deals with the Marie/Officer problem more simply & economically: Berg's unfortunate anti-heroine is also named Marie…]
Claudia Barainsky is remarkable in the vocally, emotionally, & physically-demanding role of the head-strong Marie. Claudio Otelli is also strong as her first fiancé, the discarded Stoltzius, who joins the Napoleonic-Army to poison her Officer-Lover—and himself…
Other admirable talents from the Bochum-Opera ensemble include Johann Till, Andreas Conrad, Hanna Schwarz, Peter Hoare, Kathryn Harries, Helen Field, & Kay Stiefermann. The Army-Chaplain—who needs to read his Bible more closely—is Jochen Schmekenbecher.
Steven Sloane conducted the Bochumer-Symphoniker, specially-augmented for this powerful score. Unfortunately, not all of the Sound-Effects—such as the Shriek-bänder—Zimmerman required could be provided. One of the reasons this opera is so seldom staged…
Incidental-Notes: I had the good-fortune to see the original Köln Soldaten production, as well as an impressive Munich mounting at the Bavarian State Opera. Through a Mutual-Friend, I was also able to interview the depressive Zimmermann not long before he committed suicide…
Just before curtain-time—although there was no curtain at the Armory—I greeted the director, David Pountney, who seemed pleased to be reminded that I had interviewed him long ago when he was The Man at the English National Opera, or ENO. And I am also a 51-year-regular at Austria's Bregenz-Festival, where Pountney is the current Intendant.
[Live Entertainment's July issue opens with my report on the current Bregenz-Festival Lake-Stage production of Puccini's Tosca. It is titled: I've Got My Eye On You. The reason: the Visual-Center of the stage is an Immense-Eye—animated by pistons, axles, & cranes—that can function as a variety of stage-spaces in various conformations.]
As for the Ruhr & its Triennale, this former Industrial-Powerhouse of Germany—think of Two World-Wars & the firms of Krupp & Thyssen, among others—is now, like Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Detroit, & other American Manufacturing-Centers, filled with empty-factories, dis-used Gasometers, & defunct Assembly-Lines.
Desperate to perk up the dying-economies of Ruhr-Cities such as Essen, Dortmund, & Duisberg—as well as Bochum & Wuppertal—home to Dance-Theatre innovator, Pina Bausch—the Powers-That-Be have opted for Cultural-Tourism, with often Monumental summer-productions in former factories & other Industrial-Relics.
The Triennale was created, fortuitously, when Intendant Gerard Mortier was no long welcome as Chief of the Salzburg-Festival. It provided Mortier with a useful-roost until he moved on to the Paris-Opera, from which he now comes to the New York City Opera!
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Flimm has followed Mortier to the Ruhr, so it is he who is to be thanked for inviting David Pountney to stage Soldaten. Since last summer, however, Flimm is now Intendant of the Salzburg-Festival…
In case the Dollar recovers by 2010, you may want to make your reservations to visit the Ruhr as Europe's Culture-Capital. Initially, this European-Union Cultural-Initiative saluted single cities like Paris, Berlin, & Brussels. Now, some 53 Ruhr Cities have combined to create a potentially-impressive program for the entire year of 2010. More than 2,000 projects are under consideration…
Meanwhile, Back At Home:
At BAM, Jonathan Miller's cute & quirky production of Cimarosa's Il Matrimonio Segreto was a lively Period-Evocation of a Baroque/Rococo Society of whose Social-Parameters we have little understanding. But, for some who had never heard of this ingenious composer, Domenico Cimarosa was a Real-Discovery, even if they had to cross over or under the East-River to see the show.
That old quote—Infinite Riches in a Little Room—could certainly describe Basil Twist's new creation, Arias with a Twist. It is built around the Unique-Talents of his cross-dressing friend, Joey Arias—just back from a stint in Las Vegas as the Transvestite-Hostess of Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity.
Basil's Twist at the Lincoln Center.
Basil Twist—no relation to Chas. Dickins' Oliver Twist—is an authentic MacArthur-Genius, but he is even more: a National-Treasure! One of his Puppetry-Masterworks was recently revived for Lincoln Center Presents & some of his puppets were recently the Dumb-Show Player-King & Queen in the Central Park Shakespeare-Fest production of Hamlet!
In the tiny basement-theatre at HERE—named for his grandmother, Dorothy B. Williams—Twist has surrounded Joey Arias—something Special, if not quite The Last of the Red-Hot Mamas—with an amazing Puppet-Orchestra, as well as Jungle-Decors, including endlessly crawling giant Boas, & extended-panels of lit-silhouettes of Manhattan-by-Night!
There's also a Larger-Than-Life animated Kick-Chorus—much bigger thighs than the Rockettes—that enters from both sides, virtually engulfing the stage. This hilariously-imaginative show has been extended until 31 August. Do Not Miss It!
Then there's the much much larger Jungle-Decor of Cirque-Dreams in a much much much larger theatre: the Broadway—where The Color of Purple finally closed. This summer Cirque du Soleil knock-off is entertaining enough, but it is entirely too busy, too cluttered, too flustered.
The various acrobatic & gymnastic routines are very impressive, but they are often undermined by filling the stage with comically-costumed animals who take away audience-attention from the Real Feats & Treats in the air above.
Jill Winters created the Vegas-Generic music & lyrics which were relentlessly sung—accompanied by some kind of Man-Tree with Good-Pecs & an acoustic-violin! Yes, the Ostriches & Peacocks were clever, but most of the visually-overwrought Animal-Fantasies made me long for Julie Taymor's Lion King…
The best thing about the New-Musical, Saved, based on the MGM movie, was the upstage set-façade, featuring a blandly-stylized Stained-Glass-Window-Ensemble, with quasi-Religious-Pretensions. The constant change of colors in its various translucent-cells was often more interesting than the travails of a Pregnant-Teen in a Family-Values High-School.
"Old Comedy from Aristophanes' frogs" at the Target Margin Theatre.
I have always admired the tart sarcasms & ironies of David Greenspan, as well as the adventurous-escapades of Target Margin Theatre, exploring & exploding the Classics. But their collegial-salute to Aristophanes & all the aspects of Greek Attic Comedy in Text & Performance was trying entirely too hard. Camp overwhelmed Satire…
Great Small Works—the 8th International Toy-Theatre Festival—filled every nook & cranny of St. Ann's Warehouse over in Brooklyn at DUMBO. Three theatres were in operation, with a large room crammed with all kinds of Toy & Puppet Theatres, as well as Constructed-Scenes: Something for Everyone!
This event used to be staged at HERE, the last time there with a remarkable Basil Twist creation involving a Writing-Desk. Then the Toy-Theatres moved to Theatre for the New City, but neither venue had the space needed for the various events to have the scope they needed.
This time round, I was pleased to see the evocation of Oskar Schlemmer's famed Triadic-Ballet for the Bauhaus in Dessau, especially as it was devised by a colleague & former CUNY Grad-Student, Guatam Das Gupta, co-founder of Performing Arts Journal, or PAJ.
Also great fun: Laura Heit's Matchbox-Shows—which are actually very small indeed, but—with the aid of a video-camera & big upstage-screen—we could see all the wit, charm, craziness, & craft Larger-Than-Life.
George & Lenny was an engaging Showcase, not only for Gershwin & Bernstein, but also for ten very talented young singer/actors from the Manhattan School of Music.
There has recently been a great deal of justified-excitement about Venezuela's brilliant young conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, and his dynamic young Symphony-Orchestra, recently heard at Carnegie Hall.
Now at Avery Fisher Hall—in honor & in the presence of Dudamel's Mentor & Patron, Maestro José Antonio Abreu, who developed the amazing youth-music training-programs in Venezuela—the striking & talented Alondra de la Parra made a Manhattan conducting-debut with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas.
Her control & energizing of the orchestra were amazing, as she seemed to be playing with them, not just waving her baton. The Mexican Tambuco percussion-ensemble showed its mettle in the NY Premiere of Jan Jarvlepp's Garbage Concerto!
La Noche de los Mayos—a haunting suite by Silvestre Revueltas—concluding this dynamic program.
Saludos, Amigos! Now I want to give Show-Notes a Summer-Holiday until the usual September Season-Begin. But no Festival-Reports from Europe this summer: too expensive to make the rounds now… GML
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