December 18, 2003 |
As stuffed as it is with academic chatter and self-important lectures, what "Death: or the Playground" really needs is to go back to school -- playwriting school. Co-writers Dave Jamison and John Cady have a lot on their mind about the meaning of life and the elusiveness of understanding, and they've apparently put all of it onstage, in the mouths of characters who are more paper and ink than flesh and blood.
May 23, 2003 |
On the vast battlefield known as America, a soldier fights for his life. He is Pvt. Battle, whose name describes his state of being in "Private Battle." Vivid, sexy, provocative and harrowing, this drama -- which playwright Lynn Manning has updated for a presentation by Watts Village Theater Company -- takes a long, hard look at our fraying social fabric. Like "Woyzeck," the Georg Buchner drama that inspired it, "Private Battle" is a tragedy driven by social position and surroundings.
November 15, 2001 |
Boxing, music and wartime patriotic zeal converge in an eloquent, hard-hitting assault on the racial glass ceiling in "Joe Louis Blues" at the Tiffany Theater. Set in 1942 jazz-era Harlem, a turning point ripe with cultural and social possibilities for blacks that would prove tragically unfulfilled, the drama continues playwright Oliver Mayer's ("Blade to the Heat") ongoing fascination with the metaphorical implications of boxing.
February 21, 1997 |
It takes guts to pen an autobiographical musical at 36, especially when you're not a star in the People magazine sort of way. But diminutive Ren Woods didn't become a film, television, theater and recording artist by being shy about her talents or abilities. And by the end of her world premiere, "A Diva Like Me: Ren Woods in Concert," at the San Diego Repertory Theatre, it's clear she has a great story to tell.
December 5, 1992 |
The story of undefeated heavyweight champ Joe Louis is perceived as one of the great racial breakthroughs of the century. Playwright Oliver Mayer, however, has another perspective. He chooses to show us that in breakthroughs lie the same old racial attitudes: the same pain, same exploitation, same sad blues. And he makes his point with as much license as agility in his unfinished "Joe Louis Blues."
May 6, 1988 |
People didn't want to go home after "The Colored Museum" at the Mark Taper Forum Wednesday. This is a show to talk about, fight about and drag your friends to--and not just your black friends. Being black is what it's about, of course--whatever that means. (Playwright George C. Wolfe doesn't want to define it: too limiting.