November 19, 2006 |
ON a sweltering evening several Ice Ages ago, my bride, Maggie, and I arrived on Isla Mujeres, a so-called virgin paradise off the coast of the northern Yucatan, Mexico. It had all the makings of a storybook honeymoon, or so Maggie's Uncle Rich, the travel agent, had said. Vast stretches of pristine sand. Rare aquatic birds known only to the enthusiasts of crossword puzzles. Exotic tropical fruits. And a cottage by the sea for pennies a day. Believing that story required a kind of gullibility of which I've always been capable.
May 1, 2013 |
If you attend “The Anatomy of Gazellas,” presented by Playwrights' Arena at Atwater Village Theatre, you might want to hunker down in your seat and pay close attention. That way, you won't as likely be concussed as the engine of plot whizzes right over your head, leaving you wondering what the heck happened. You may not be as dumb or inattentive as you feel. It's just that playwright Janine Salinas Schoenberg's world premiere play is pitched in a gray area between the fascinating and the frustratingly obscure. The play is split into two extraneous stories that never convincingly cohere.
April 16, 1993 |
Anyone who saw Neil Simon's "Jake's Women" on Broadway will detect little difference in the robust production that opened Thursday at the Doolittle Theatre. All but the director are present and accounted for and doing what they've been doing in New York since March, 1992. But those who only saw "Jake's Women" in San Diego in 1990 (with actor Peter Coyote in the title role) owe themselves a trip to the Doolittle to see how far that play has come.
December 2, 2012 |
Season three of "The Walking Dead" has had a decidedly John Wayne bent to it. The bad guys are evil, the good guys are complicated, and the elements are constantly threatening. What is a post-apocalyptic zombie landscape but another frontier, after all? This week's mid-season finale followed familiar Western logic: Rick and his team of prison misfits would finally face a showdown with the Governor over Glenn and Maggie. Though "The Walking Dead" is a show that's ostensibly about zombies, it's at its best when it balances the constant heart-in-your-throat horror with the brutality of the survivors, what part of humanity the characters are forced to sacrifice in order to stay alive.
February 7, 2013 |
The split-level house of American dreams and boomer memories probably has never been used so evocatively or been as central to a movie as it is in "The Playroom. " In the 1975-set coming-of-age drama - a kids'-eye view of adult malaise - that house is essentially a character, showcasing the generational disconnect through a cataclysmic night for one family. Directed by Julia Dyer from a script by her late sister, Gretchen Dyer, the film uses the upper-middle-class setting effectively, even as it resorts to heavy-handed symbolism and melodrama in its dour, mostly unforgiving portrait of parental dysfunction.
February 9, 1992 |
Here comes the "R" word again. Relationship! Time was when people just had one. Now they talk about relationships more than they succeed in them, and the divorce rate shows it. As young people in the '50s thought that they invented pop music, as young people in the '60s thought that they invented marijuana, young people today think that they invented the relationship. They dissect it, they examine it, they talk about it.
October 21, 1999 |
Neil Simon's semi-autobiographical "Jake's Women," presented by Actors Alley at the refurbished El Portal Center for the Performing Arts' Studio Theatre, is an audacious but problematic play in a checkered production. Jake (John Hugo), a renowned writer, is so accustomed to thinking in dialogue that he's having trouble distinguishing between reality and the fantasy voices in his head.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 4, 2012 |
Playwright Anne Commire wrote about subjects certain to make her audience squirm, repeatedly confronting what she called "the breaking points of women. " "The idea of someone who's continuously being pushed to the edge is what fascinates me," she once said. When she invariably intertwined comedy and pathos, critics noted that Commire's sense of humor was a strength. Her play "Shay," presented in 1983 at the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles, featured an acutely shy woman who purposely slashes her mouth after an agonizing social occasion.
November 7, 1988 |
Ghost Waves by James McManus Grove Press: $18.95, 320 pages) ". . . What particle physicist and artists both do is track the transformations between physical reality and our inner experience. OK?" OK. Why not? The material thesis of this book exists as a course of undergraduate lectures (Aesthetics and Physics) given at The School of the Art Institute.