When Hamlet in Bed, a newest work currently being performed at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, got a great write up in Time Out New York, I decided, what the hell, and I went to see it. Time Out is pretty much where I go for all of my off-Broadway recs (besides friends). I thought it would be a reinterpretation of Hamlet but I was completely off base. 

Hamlet in Bed was about a mother and son who didn’t know it. Michael Laurence, the star and playwright, played Michael, an actor and orphan, who has an obsession with Hamlet (the play) and is sold the journal of a woman, Ana (played by Annette O’Toole), who Ophelia in 1975. The journal ends with an entry saying that her son was born on the day that happens to be his birthday and she gave him up for adoption.

He finds her and casts her as Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, in his adaptation of Hamlet called Hamlet in Bed. The play is dark and twisted, and a bit confusing. Ana has a hallucination (of sorts) once Michael tells her who he is after three weeks of deceiving her.

Hamlet in Bed is a quick 90 minutes and it’s interesting and eerie, especially if you know Hamlet. If you like off the beaten path theatre, head downtown and check it out.

On Monday night, Ben and I went to see Rattlestick’s newest production, Pitbulls, by Keith Josef Adkins. I’ve seen a lot that the Rattlestick has produced lately and I’ve loved most of it. 

Pitbulls is about a mother and son living in a trailer park in East Jesus Nowhere, Ohio where pitbull fights are a huge thing, something that people bet their livelihoods on, and things go awry when the two pitbulls are killed.

The script had it’s moments, but I’m not really sure what the point of it was. The performances were solid too. 

Looking forward to seeing what the Rattlestick does next!

“Give me some mothafuckin’ OJ!”

I felt something magical as I entered the Cherry Lane Theatre last Saturday to see Asuncion, a new play written by and starring Jesse Eisenberg. It’d only taken me 25 years and hundreds of theatre-going experiences, but here I was, finally, at the Cherry Lane, a theatre with some much history behind it.

But this isn’t about the Cherry Lane, it’s about Eisenberg’s new play Asuncion about a nerdy, socially awkward kid (does that sound familiar?), Edgar, who sleeps on a beanbag chair in his former TA’s (played by Justin Bartha) living room in Binghamton (upstate New York) and the trouble Edgar gets himself into when Vinny (his TA) plants the thought that his brother’s new wife, Asuncion (whom the brother, Stuart dumps there while he “takes care of some business”), might be a mail-order-bride/prostitute from the Pacific. 

Vinny and Asuncion get on famously, while Edgar strains to make even the slightest human connection with her – him being socially awkward and whatnot.  Vinny puts him in his place at one point, and Edgar is heart broken and the audience is heart broken with him. Camille Mana is endearing as Asuncion and Remy Auberjonois is pretty much the typical Wall Street asshole you’d expect him to be as Edgar’s brother Stuart.

The performances through out are enjoyable and the script is always entertaining throughout the two acts. Asuncion closes tomorrow, but I don’t think this is the last time you’ll be hearing from Eisenberg as a writer. I tried to get a clear picture of Mr. Eisenberg after the show without the flash but he was moving too much.

Visit the Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre’s website here for more information.