December 8, 1997
I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that Jon Zelazny, described as a "director's assistant," would come to the defense of director Paul Verhoeven's exceedingly lame satire, "Starship Troopers" ("Amid 'Troopers' Gore, It's Easy to Miss the Message," Counterpunch, Dec. 1). Pity the poor, misunderstood filmmaker, who had to actually live under Nazi occupation as a child, yet who somehow fails to clearly present the satiric focus of his movie in a manner that the masses can appreciate and understand.
June 2, 1995 |
An otherwise familiar fable about fame and corruption takes on a loopy new orbit in "Walking on the Moon," Grace Players' hit-and-miss black comedy at Egyptian Arena Theatre. Jason Milligan's frequently biting satire revolves around the temptations of Chad Williams, a black sheep of the Apollo space program who accidentally ran over another astronaut with a lunar rover during their mission 20 years ago.
January 17, 1997 |
What's a manipulative maniac of a mom to do? Mother (Michael Learned) believes that the sacred responsibility of any woman is to propagate her male line. In other words, Mother wants grandsons--now. Does the niggling fact that her son (Steven Sennett) happens to be gay stop Mother? Not on your domineering life, it doesn't.
June 27, 2012 |
"Downton Abbey,"the royal wedding, more "Downton Abbey," the Silver Jubilee, the wind-up to the Summer Olympics - American popular culture hasn't been so Anglophilic since the halcyon days of Merchant Ivory and Emma Thompson's Oscar noms. It's gotten a bit sickening, really, all those plummy vowels and absurd hats, with the dandelion-haired mayor of London, Boris Johnson, showing up on Letterman to pitch his new book and Kate Middleton fever. Fortunately, no one skewers the British quite like the British, and if ping-pong did not in fact originate on the table tops of Britain (as Mayor Johnson in one of his wackier pre-Olympic moments suggested)
May 23, 1997 |
On the surface at least, playwright Debbie Pearl has it all--provocative premises, a flair for distinctive dialogue and a keen ear for everyday irony. But there can be too much of a good thing. One suspects that the point of "Sex," Pearl's ambitious collection of one-acts at the Met, isn't so much the content of the plays themselves as it is the lavish display of Pearl's cleverness.
May 29, 2006 |
With President Bush and Republicans in power, Democrats haven't had much to smile about for a long while. But, confident that the mocking satire so finely honed at Comedy Central can be ideologically persuasive, a young crew of comedians is setting out to inspire the masses. The comedy troupe "Laughing Liberally" is coming to L.A.'s Wadsworth Theatre at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The event will feature eight stand-up comics, each offering a pointedly liberal perspective on politics and current events.
January 30, 2004 |
Friedrich Durrenmatt's hilariously caustic reduction of the impassioned, often lyrical marital tragedy "Dance of Death" could more accurately be titled "Play Against Strindberg." By excising peripheral characters, trimming or sharpening dialogue, and subverting key plot points for "Play Strindberg," Durrenmatt's free adaptation mercilessly skewers the brooding Scandinavian temperament of early 20th century drama.
March 1, 1991 |
A bewildered fellow has the misfortune of stumbling into a shady bar at a deserted beach resort during a howling rainstorm. Everything in it is brown and the barkeeper, also dressed in brown (Paul Verdier), is compulsively cleaning countertops with the precision of a heart surgeon. So begins Edoardo Erba's "Porco Selvatico" at Stages Trilingual Theatre.
February 28, 1986 |
College was never like "The Last Class"--but then again, Rick Lenz's one-man filibuster at Room for Theater is a sight more entertaining than your average lecture. This first in the company's "Room For New Plays" series is a sort of yuppie version of "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You," an extended classroom diatribe guaranteed to keep you in your seats after the bell rings. A blackboard and podium provide the necessary institutional setting.
June 14, 1987 |
A joke can be funny for numerous reasons, but satire is funny only to the degree that it's true. That's a lesson apparently lost on most of the writing and performing that passes for satire right now, particularly as exemplified by TV's "Saturday Night Live," America's most widely viewed comedy forum, where (with Dana Carvey's work excepted) you'll see satirical objects crudely vilified as stupid, corrupt or wildly incompetent.