October 3, 2013 |
“Flowers for Algernon” certainly has traction. Daniel Keyes' 1959 short story about Charlie Gordon, a mentally disabled man transformed into a genius by a scientific experiment, has been subsequently adapted into a novel, a film and even a musical. Now, David Rogers' 1969 play has been mounted by the Deaf West company at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. The highly sentimentalized drama seems an unusual choice for Deaf West, and the production, which in typical Deaf West fashion utilizes both signing and voiced actors, does not always avoid bathos. Matthew McCray, a hearing director and the veteran of dozens of professional productions, helms the hugely ambitious proceedings, but despite the fact that the play has been pared down from a cast of nearly 30 to an even dozen or so, the sheer scope of this undertaking sometimes exceeds McCray's usually authoritative grasp. CHEAT SHEET: Fall arts preview A chief culprit is Sarah Krainin's scenic design, which consists primarily of clear screens on metal poles that are shoved on a system of runners into various configurations.
October 23, 2013 |
Audiences acquainted with the "Saturday Night Live" character MacGruber - a bumbling special-ops agent who rather consistently fails to save the day - might be surprised to see the man who portrays him, Will Forte, co-starring in Alexander Payne's new black-and-white drama "Nebraska. " Speaking at the Envelope Screening Series recently, Payne explained why he doesn't hesitate to cast comedic actors in dramatic roles. "I've found that in the past I'm often drawn to people with good comic timing to perform in dramatic parts," the director said.
March 21, 2013 |
If the title of Donald Freed's new play, now at the Skylight Theatre, doesn't prompt you to quote Macbeth (“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…”), you are probably not its intended demographic. The heart of “Tomorrow” is three actors discussing and rehearsing scenes from the Shakespeare tragedy. And, yes, it sounds dry and cerebral, like something only a dramaturge would be into. As I actually have a degree in dramaturgy, you might roll your eyes when I say I was on the edge of my seat as I watched the characters hunt Lady Macbeth's psychology through the text, history and their own pasts.
October 10, 2010
Michael Mann is a visual stylist of the highest order, but he has gotten signature performances from elite actors. He reflects on some of them: Daniel Day-Lewis in "The Last of the Mohicans" (1992) "There's a tremendous confidence that you get as an actor that you as a man or as a woman can do what your character does. If you're playing Daniel Boone and you know that you can be dumped into wilderness and have breakfast, lunch and dinner, four seasons a year, and survive, it shows.
May 20, 1989
"War and Peace on Vietnam Film Front" (by Daniel Cerone, April 29) included comments by actress Kieu Chinh, a technical adviser on "War Story," quoted as saying: "I am careful to make sure Vietnamese are presented accurately. On 'War Story' we use only Vietnamese actors. Other television shows and films use Japanese and Chinese to portray Vietnamese." As a board member of the Assn. of Asian Pacific American Artists (AAPAA), an organization working to improve the image of Asian-Americans in the media as well as speaking out on issues regarding the Asian-American acting community, I feel another, more pervasive viewpoint should be heard.
November 1, 2013 |
Jared Leto is getting kudos for playing a transgender person in “Dallas Buyer's Club,” out Friday. But wouldn't it have been better if the starring role had gone to an actual trans person? Trans people are portrayed in movies and on TV more and more these days, and that's a positive development. Yet most of these characters are played by actors who are not transgender. It is no longer acceptable to cast cross-racially, so why is it acceptable to cast someone who is not transgender in a transgender role?
June 17, 2011 |
In the hierarchy of television, being a freak and a geek is a good thing. And the five actors who gathered to talk to The Envelope about their characters' kooky idiosyncrasies (germophobia, social awkwardness, selfishness and then there's the shape-shifting and murdering) — and the effect of their shows on the fanboy (and girl) audience — are at the upper echelon of the TV pecking order, some might say. Following are edited excerpts from our chat — moderated by Times television critic Robert Lloyd — with Johnny Galecki ("Big Bang Theory")
January 9, 2014 |
In the tradition of "Swingers" and "Good Will Hunting," "Dumbbells" originates from a pair of enterprising actors who have dabbled in screenwriting to generate parts for themselves. Brian Drolet and Hoyt Richards drew on their former lives as an MTV personality (Drolet) and fashion model (Richards) to write the story of an ex-jock languishing as a North Hollywood gym attendant after his promising career and superficial girlfriend both slipped from his grip. Drolet undertakes the role of the sweet-natured sad sack, while Richards plays an ex-model who assumes ownership of the gym and schemes to turn it into a set for a reality series.