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.
April 25, 2005
Re "To Dems, It's 1974 Forever," Commentary, April 22: David Gelernter has it a bit wrong when he says the Republicans and the Democrats have pulled the "Big Switch." Rather than this neat little "swap" of philosophies, what has happened is what I like to call the "Continental Drift" theory of American politics. Over the last 40 years both parties have steadily, yet nearly imperceptibly, drifted to the left. Today, if we took a satellite snapshot of the political landscape and compared it with one taken in the early to mid-'60s, we would notice that the Republicans are in a position today that was occupied by the Dems then.
August 1, 2004
I would like to thank Thomas Curwen for his imaginative approach to the story about Edward Gorey ("Light From a Dark Star," July 18). The skeletal "Mystery" woman who, just before fainting, screamed her way into my family room every Sunday evening remained nameless until I happened upon Curwen's piece. His treatment of the story of this artist was most provocative, especially the manner in which he injected into the textual information vivid descriptions of Gorey's work. It was written as if Gorey himself had sketched it. Kathleen Clary Miller San Juan Capistrano
April 9, 1996 |
Question: What do the new edition of "Huckleberry Finn," the top-selling recording in the country and the director's cut of "Pulp Fiction" have in common? Answer: They all reflect America's growing obsession with outtakes. These days, it's not enough to enjoy a work of great art, whether it be a landmark American novel, an anthology of Beatles tunes or a smash-hit Hollywood film.
February 24, 1990
Regarding Charles Champlin's Feb. 8 column on who wrote Shakespeare's works: A group of graduate students, under my direction, have unearthed several dust-covered documents and pursued various phililogic and textual theories that have revealed an historic fact: Charles Champlin does not exist. One of my students has drawn up a lengthy article that shows, upon philological and semiotic analysis, that much of "Champlin's" articles are but a compilation of others: a snippet of Michael Wilmington's attitude, a graft of Kevin Thomas' esoterica, a collocation of Sheila Benson's critical vengeance.
September 14, 1986
Shakespeare, Shaw, Ibsen and a few others foolish enough to write for the theater would have flunked Mark Medoff's "volleyball course" in playwriting. The "gang" theory of disemboweling the playwright's work began with the Group Theatre and was further refined by the theatrical Talmudist, Lee Strasberg. "The Method" encourages extra-textual and sub-textual tampering by actors, resulting in massive distortion and eventual demolition of the original work. Improvisation is now the device of the actor and director who believe they can "improve" a play.