April 22, 2013 |
NEW YORK - Sucking on a cigarette and swigging from a bottle of spirits, the Virgin Mary isn't looking all that virginal in Colm Tóibín's defiantly strange, inescapably controversial and at moments intensely gripping dramatic experiment "The Testament of Mary. " If she seems distinctly Irish that is because the play, which had its Broadway opening Monday at the Walter Kerr Theatre, is being performed by the powerhouse Irish actress Fiona Shaw, known to many as Harry Potter's aunt but awarded an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her stage genius.
May 18, 2012 |
“To mortal man, how great a scourge is love,” is one of countless ingenious lines that adorn “The Children” at the Theatre @ Boston Court. Michael Elyanow's stunning riff on the Medea myth rips Euripides into current-day context, and rams its meanings into our brainpans. Beginning before a Stygian drape that masks designer François-Pierre Couture's jagged-wood set, an aptly named Man-In-Slacks and Woman-In-Sundress (Sonny Valicenti and Paige Lindsey White, both beyond praise)
December 4, 2011 |
If it had not caught the attention of a handful of important readers, Jesmyn Ward's "Salvage the Bones" would most likely have quietly faded into obscurity; many worthy books do. Now, however, this novel about a poor Mississippi family in the weeks leading up to 2005's Hurricane Katrina has a prominent place in bookstores and boasts the gold medallion that comes with winning the 2011 National Book Award. Book awards are marvelously idiosyncratic. While major film and music awards are based on the votes of a large group - meaning there is a general consensus or popularity - book awards are frequently selected by just a few people.
September 25, 2009 |
Euripides' "Medea" taps into primal emotions that frighten and fascinate us in equal measure. Try as you may to interpret the tale of a wife who, having sacrificed everything for her husband, murders their children to punish him for his unfaithfulness, there's a mystery, a strangeness at the heart of this shocking crime that is ultimately irreducible. That strangeness is taken to a new level in UCLA Live's whirligig production, which opened Wednesday at the Freud Playhouse with an unsteady Annette Bening in the title role.
September 20, 2009 |
The wail plays like a primitive call to prayer in some undetermined Middle Eastern city. The sound is low, primal, an almost guttural cry -- and it takes a moment to realize that the noise is actually human, that it's emanating from a corner of the womb-like rehearsal room deep in the bowels of UCLA's Royce Hall. The source is unexpected -- a faceless woman slung up against a wall, a scarlet scarf covering her head. When the woman takes the stage, she is no longer crying but almost anesthetized -- blinded -- by pain.
September 13, 2009 |
LOCAL 'Medea' Few roles are as ferociously inviting to powerhouse actresses as Medea, the title character of Euripides' ancient masterpiece who sets out to teach her two-timing husband, Jason, a lesson he surely will never forget. Essaying the role in UCLA Live's production, directed by Lenka Udovicki, is Annette Bening, who will get to exercise her more menacing muscles. No stranger to dramatic malice, Bening won Oscar nominations for her portrayals of chilly connivers in "The Grifters" and "American Beauty."