September 17, 1991 |
Unlike many playwrights, Donald Margulies never was an actor. He once took an acting course, and he has done readings for friends as a lark. But the only time he ever appeared in a play, he recalls, was two years ago at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York. "I went up on my lines horrendously," he says. Ironically, he'd written them. "My co-star was a 9-year-old girl," Margulies, 37, recounted the other day. "She stopped the show, saying, 'That's not your line.'
April 27, 2008 |
THESE days, it's getting trickier to be a playwright. Changing tastes and shrinking budgets have prompted theaters to cut back on, or at least rethink, the ways in which they cultivate new material. Writers programs have been closed, safe bets favored over creative risks, and alternatives -- both bold and bleak -- sought to replace the familiar development cycle of commission, reading, workshop and (if you're lucky) production. One exception is South Coast Repertory. Thanks to financial foresight and a committed board, founders Martin Benson and David Emmes have maintained a tradition of investing in playwrights as well as plays.
September 23, 2007 |
More than a quarter century ago, the critic Robert Hughes called the public's response to Modern art "the shock of the new. " The role of art was to stimulate ideas, provoke thought, challenge ways of seeing. Today, we are experiencing a different, troubling phenomenon: a popular culture that embraces the comfort of the familiar. Americans discovered the hard way that we don't like surprises. Now that fear and uncertainty have taken permanent residence, people are unnerved by ambiguity in all aspects of life.
June 6, 2007 |
Donald Margulies' fans can catch two new plays next season by the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of "Dinner With Friends." The Geffen Playhouse and South Coast Repertory will premiere new shows they've commissioned from Margulies during 2007-08. In addition, Annette Bening and Christine Lahti will take starring roles in two other plays at the Geffen.
April 17, 1999 |
In a play like Donald Margulies' "Sight Unseen," it's easy for viewers and critics to focus on sociopolitical statements and grand themes, rather than the emotions of a situation. The themes are there in Alternative Repertory Theatre's current production in Santa Ana. But they aren't really what the play is about. The drama concerns an artist on the verge of being burned out, lost in the quicksand of success.
May 21, 1999 |
The Geffen Playhouse's "Collected Stories" offers the sort of pleasure you don't find often enough at the theater--any theater. It's a modest but thoroughly engrossing work by Donald Margulies, one of America's sharpest playwrights. It's "juicy" in an old-fashioned sense, a story of a literary friendship made and sorely tested, and in director Gilbert Cates' production, there's juice aplenty.
October 6, 2000 |
Two couples in their 40s, prosperous, two kids apiece, many, many shared vacations, friends from way back. One couple splits. The other doesn't. This is not particularly exotic narrative territory. But among America's commercially successful playwrights who also happen to be good, Donald Margulies has proven one of the finest. "Dinner With Friends" won the Pulitzer Prize earlier this year and now makes its Los Angeles debut at the Geffen Playhouse.
September 5, 2004 |
Herb Gardner urged me to go back. The author of the plays "I'm Not Rappaport" and "Conversations With My Father," who died last year at age 68 after a tenacious struggle with emphysema, was my friend. A couple of years ago, he and I were having one of our marathon phone conversations, he at home on the Upper East Side, I in my office in New Haven, Conn., when I confided in him the difficulty I was having in starting a new play. I was in my mid-40s, coming down from the headiness of the biggest success of my career and suffering from a severe case of "Now what?"
October 1, 2000 |
During intermission at a preview of Donald Margulies' "Dinner With Friends" shortly before it opened at the Variety Arts Theatre in Manhattan last November, the playwright witnessed a man walking out of his show. As he strolled up the aisle, the well-dressed theatergoer told his companions, "Man, this is too close to home, I'll catch up with you later."