I went to see Kill Floor because I’d recently watched an episode of Law and Order: SVU that Marin Ireland was the guest star on and I missed seeing her onstage. I had no idea what it was about, but from the artwork, I guessed it was about the meat industry.
it was my first time in the Claire Tow Theatre at Lincoln Center – a totally hip and modern space, completely different than the Mitz E. Newhouse and Beaumont spaces. Kill Floor was about a woman named Andy who was recently released from prison and trying to restart her life. The only job she found was through a connection from high school on the kill floor of a factory farming meat plant. She has a son that she’s trying to re-establish a relationship with who wants nothing to do with her and is somewhat easily taken advantage of and sexually confused.
The play ended extremely awkwardly and I’m not sure what it was trying to say, if it was trying to say anything. Marin was great, but I’m not sure this is the best play she’s been in. Lincoln Center gave it their best shot with Kill Floor. Not everything can be a hit though.
Last Tuesday I was invited to see Misery, the new stage adaptation of the film by the same name, starring Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalf. I’ve seen Laurie Metcalf onstage a couple of times and she’s always great. I wasn’t sure about Bruce though. Could he really act? No one could be sure.
For those who aren’t familiar with the film: it’s about a writer who’s “saved” from a car accident in a remote town in the mountains by the person who claims to be his number one fan. She doesn’t like the ending to his latest “Misery” book and demands he writes another book and she’s not letting him go until he does.
There are great prosthetics and excellent lighting and helpful scoring playing in the background. It never becomes quite as thrilling or scary as I assume the film does, but it does the trick.
Metcalf is perfect and carries the show, as I’m told her character does in the movie too, and Willis does his damnedest with the material he’s given (which is not much as he is in a bed or wheel chair most of the time, but he has his moments). Leon Addison Brown plays the cop who comes by from time to time to ask if Metcalf has seen anything and he did his job well.
Misery is one play that will make you far from miserable.
So, you have heard about this debacle last Wednesday night. As it turned out, Matt had invited me to see Shows For Days with him the following night and oh, was it a treat to be at that performance. Patti came out in street clothes before the show and addressed the audience as herself, to much applause and support.
And then the show started.
It was a semi-autobiographical story about Douglas Carter Beane’s early days in community theatre in Pennsylvania. It was full length – two acts – though it didn’t feel long at all. It was entertaining and somewhat predictable at times.
It was lovely to see Michael Urie onstage again as Car (Beane’s character) ad of course, who doesn’t love a good diva performance by Patti Lupone? No one, that’s who. Also in the cast were Dale Soules, Zoe Winters, Lance Coadie Williams, and Jordan Dean.
There were lots of laughs and maybe a tear or two at the end. If nothing else, Shows For Days is a lovely piece of theatre history.
I saw Significant Other with Matt last Thursday evening. I was excited because I’d heard Bad Jews was amazing and this had gotten a positive review in Time Out New York. Also Gideon Glick is adorable in any role he plays, so that’s never a bad thing. It was about four friends – three straight women and one gay man (Glick) – and Glick watches his three best friend’s get married off one-by-one as he has an incredibly difficult time with the dating scene.
There are lots of hilarious one (or two) liners (Glick: Grandma, I feel like all my friends are dying. Grandma: Me too…) but I have never felt so suicidal or depressed after walking away from a show. I related to Glick’s character in a huge way. It was also too long. Two hours with an intermission for this? No. There were definitely cuts to make and it could’ve been NMNI.
Also: the ending. It ends with Glick, along on a dark stage, looking out into the audience where his friends are all dancing with their significant others and he’s alone. I presume he kills himself after the wedding.
I liked it and I’m glad I saw it, but I would never go back. Glick was fantastic and really does his best with this extremely draining role. Go see Significant Other, I guess, at your own risk.
Last month I landed a ticket to Manhattan Theatre Club’s Airline Highway at the Samuel Friedman Theatre after learning that Julie White (!) was in it so how could I not see it?!
The play takes place in the Hummingbird Motel on the Airline Highway outside of New Orleans and is a pretty depressing place to live. The residents are throwing a “living funeral” for one of their favorite inhabitants, a former dancer named Miss Ruby. The other residents have pretty much not done a whole lot with their lives but they at least had a good time not doing anything. A resident who’s gotten out and done well for himself is coming back which is a problem for Krista, who was in a relationship (of sorts) with him for six years, still loves him, and is still in the same spot where he deserted her.
Bait Boy brings his girlfriend’s daughter with him to the party where she asks the residents questions for her high school sociology project and is filled with life from the fun and good times that these people are having while having not a care in the world.
Things get messy and I think the overall message of the show is that we spend our life running from ourselves and our feelings instead of actually, you know, feeling them.
It’s dark, and depressing, but it felt relevant.
When Doug Wright has a new play off-Broadway and it stars Hamish Linklater and John Noble, you just go. Posterity is being staged at Atlantic Theater’s mainstage right now and it’s a full two and a half hours, but it never drags.
About a time when struggling sculpture artist, Gustav Vigeland (Hamish Linklater) is commission by his agent to make what could be the final sculpture ever of playwright Henrik Ibsen. The conflict happens to be that Ibsen is in failing health and can only sit for ten minutes at a time before having to lay down and Vigeland isn’t a fan of Ibsen.
John Noble, a little known Australian treasure of art, absolutely kills it as Ibsen. He seriously blew me away. Hamish Linklater is fabulous as well, but I knew what to expect from him as he’s always great in whatever he does. The lovely Henry Stram plays Linklater’s agent adorably. And Mickey Theis and Dale Soules as Annfinn Beck and Greta Bergstrom (Linklater’s apprentice and maid respectively) give excellent performances as well.
Posterity is playing at the Atlantic Theater Company through April 5th. Between the excellent performances and strong script, it’s a good time at the theatre.
This is not your mother’s Avenue Q or even your Book of Mormon. Hand to God is the darkest and most perverse thing on Broadway right now. Set in a small nondescript town in the American south, Hand to God is about a group of kids in a puppet club that meets in the basement of a church once a week and how one hand named puppet takes over Jason’s life and wreaks havoc on the group.
There are moments of laugh out loud hilarity. There’s a line in the first scene that had Kristen and I rolling on the floor for a good five minutes. We also nearly lost our shit during a scene change in the second act (really, Kristen almost died). But in between these moments of absolute hilarity, it drags a bit. It’s really dark and depressing. There are puppets, but not like in Avenue Q and there’s no cute score to go along with it. When the lights went up for intermission we still had no idea what we were watching or why (OK, the “why” is because we bought tickets, but you know what I mean).
The puppet wreaks havoc on the group and after some (er, a lot of) bloodshed, the puppet is thrown off the floor and Jason rushes with his mother to the hospital, claiming that if his possessed puppet hand comes back to life, she will help him. Black out. Then the stage is black and only the puppet head and hands appear. It’s incredibly creepy, and startling, and awesome.
The puppet gives a few minute monologue that MAY have brought the show together for me. It’s about how people started off sacrificing sheep to absolve themselves of their sins but when they realized they were wasting sheep, they decided to use a person and thus, the concept of Jesus was born. The puppet was definitely sneering at the audience and attempting to make us question our own thoughts about life and religion. Was he saying that we used different puppets in life to absolve ourselves of our sins? Or are we the puppets being controlled by some force that may not exist?
Steven Boyer was FANTASTIC as Jason and he better get a lot of nominations this season. Geneva Carr, Michael Oberholtzer, Sarah Stiles, and Marc Kudisch were all great too. Special shout out to Sarah Stiles who is always hilarious in anything she does.
Because this is a play that is dark and at times gruesome with a hard-to-grasp ultimate point, I don’t see this lasting very long, but who knows. I can imagine a lot of confused southern tourists going to see it thinking it’s going to be a happy show about god. That said: see it while you can. It’s worth seeing.
You definitely don’t feel good after watching a performance of Disgraced, currently playing at the Lyceum Theater. Disgraced is a dinner party gone horribly wrong. It brings to the table all of the deep- seeded racism inside most, if not all, of us.
About an Indian man, Amir (Dhillon), and his Caucasian wife, Emily (Mol), and his black colleague, Jory (Pittman), and her Jewish husband, Isaac (Radnor), the tensions run high when his colleague is promoted to partner because he was presumed to be helping a Muslim in his quest to open mosque near ground zero. Race, religion, gender, and politics are all discussed during a lively debate that culminates in Amir living down to his racial stereotype.
After the performance a dozen or other bloggers and myself were invited to stay for a talk back with the cast (Hari Dhillon, Gretchen Mol, Josh Radnor, and Karen Pittman) and their director (Kimberly Senior). The cast was surprisingly calm and jovial. I asked Josh Radnor and Gretchen Mol before it started how they decompress after performances and he said that they don’t dwell in the outcome of the play at all, they snap out of it pretty quickly.
They all loved discussing the play and their characters. I was relieved to hear that the play had to master message that we were supposed to pick up on (because I hadn’t). The point of Disgraced was to start a conversation about race in this country (how timely!).
They were all lovely in person and so interesting to talk to. It was a really cool experience to be given the opportunity to have. We all headed to Cafe Une Deux Troi after for drinks and more discussion (sans the cast).
Disgraced might not leave you feeling great, but it will entertain and it will get you thinking.
The Country House, by Donald Margulies, opened a couple of weeks ago to stellar reviews at the Samuel Friedman Theatre. It was about a bunch of actors (a family, multiple generations) who gather at their summer home to honor the death of the mother of the family who passed the year before.
There were tons of funny and meaningful one-liners in the first act, but the first act ended with a cliche moment that was only meant to give the playwright a reason to write a second act. While I enjoyed the first act a lot, it was obvious Margulies had no idea where to go in the second act. It had a few moments, but it was pretty pointless.
The performances were great though: Blythe Danner was wonderful as the famous dame of the family, Daniel Sunjata was wonderful and a bit sleazy as Michael Astor (the famous TV actor who needed a place to stay), and Sarah Steele was probably my favorite, as the Danner’s granddaughter, and the only one in the family who wasn’t in show business, Susie. I’ve seen her in many shows and she’s always fabulous and this performance was no different. Kate Jennings Grant was also endearing as the new wife to Walter (the funny David Rasche), who was obviously a little uncomfortable being there.
Although it had it’s moments, MTC has produced more focused work in the past and I can’t wait to see what they have in store next.
I saw Booty Candy at Playwrights Horizons last Sunday night and it had it’s hilarious moments, but I can’t say I really got it. It was a series of ridiculous skits and the first and second act skits were related somehow.
While it probably had something to say, I’ve seen better things at Playwrights Horizons.