In 2013, I called David Robson’s Assassin a brutal gridiron drama, a verdict that holds up for his revised Playing the Assassin, now in a thrilling production at Delaware Theatre Company.
His current script builds on his original themes of guilt and recrimination, accidental suffering born of tragic circumstances (the hit didn’t violate rules, but Baker, like his real-life counterpart, Tatum, never apologized) and expands the depth of its humanity.
Some credit goes to Knight’s ferocious performance; like a tiger, he stalks the stage in a partial crouch, ready to unload on offenders, and instills his braggadocio with authenticity. But much goes to Robson, who has added great insight into the relationship of football to society and the evolution of the game as it has gone from a city-vs.-city sport to a corporate behemoth more bent on coddling millionaires and selling advertising and merchandise than on fueling intense rivalries.
The verbal sparring between the never-played Lewis and the veteran Baker accurately captures how football (and all team rivalry based sport) enables populations to sublimate violent urges into something less catastrophic and localized, no matter how violent that surrogate.
Only one week left to catch Mark St. Germain‘s BEST OF ENEMIES at the Colony Theatre in Burbank, CA. “The production is mandatory viewing for anyone who values the stage’s ability to provoke thought about serious social issues,” remarked reviewer David C. Nichols of the LA Times.
Based on a true story, Ann, an African-American civil rights activist, and C.P., the Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, are forced to work together by the federal government to achieve integration in their small North Carolina town fifteen years after Brown v. Board of Education.
Read the full review here, and for more information and ticketing, follow here.
Inspired by a variety of sexual harassment allegations brought against well-known clothing companies, Unseamly follows a young woman seeking legal advice to initiate charges of sexual harassment against her former boss, the CEO of an international clothing company known for its risqué billboards. In Unseamly, female sexuality confronts male corporate power.
“Sexual harassment and power plays in corporate America, sadly are not uncommon. Oren has crafted an edgy, cutting play that explores the truth and manipulation in corporate America. The play asks just how far one will go to get to the top? Although it’s controversial, it’s a very smart and important play to see and Urban Stages is proud to bring this play to the stage.” – Urban Stages Founding Artistic Director, Frances Hill.
For ticketing information: Unseamly will begin performances on October 8; Opening night is set for October 14 through November 1 at Urban Stages (259 West 30 Street) Tickets will be $55 ($35 during previews) and are available at UrbanStages.org.
Having bought a canvas in a thrift store for $3 (and narrowly avoided filling it with bullet holes on a drunken bender) Maude (Hazel Eadie) now believes her ‘ugly’ painting is a hitherto unknown work by iconic modern artist Jackson Pollock. In her rundown trailer in the Californian heat, art expert Lionel (Ian Aldred) has come to view the painting and offer his professional assessment of its authenticity…
There are a few twists in the tale to keep the story moving, and the performers manage the changes in tone effectively, seeming most at ease when playing the comedy of Sachs’ text but also bringing genuine tension to some moments of high drama. Eadie and Aldred bring depth and authenticity to what could be played as clumsy archetypes of white trash and art snob, with Kara Johnston’s broadly confident direction helping bring Maude’s trash filled trailer to life.
Like Yasmina Reza’s Art and Alan Bennett’s A Question of Attribution, art is here used for an exploration of character, so don’t be surprised if by the end of the play you’ve learned more about Maude and Lionel than the canvas itself.
“Recent events have placed the topic of racism firmly in focus once again. The Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles is addressing this issue with the new play ‘Citizen: An American Lyric,’ playing through Sept. 14.
“The production was adapted by Fountain Theatre’s co-artistic director Stephen Sachs from the acclaimed Claudia Rankine book of the same name”… “Her book, ‘Citizen: An American Lyric,’ was a winner of the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry and a finalist for criticism.
“Sachs had spent more than a year looking for the right production ‘to add the Fountain Theatre’s voice to the national conversation about race,’ because he felt the company could contribute something artistically to the discussion. After reading reviews of Rankine’s book he bought it, and as he read through its pages, Sachs quickly realized that ‘her’s was the voice that I had been looking for.’
“Sachs chose to use only Rankine’s words in his script and approach the process of turning it into a play by thinking of it as a piece of music in terms of solos, duets, trios and an ensemble. The result is an examination of race and racism through vignettes and snapshots employing prose, poetry, movement, music and the visual image”… “Sachs hopes that after seeing ‘Citizen: An American Lyric,’ audience members will question their own responses to race and racism.”