Posted in drama, theater, theater for the common good

Provocations

In the Blood By Susan Lori Parks Directed By Sarah BensonThere are so many social challenges that confront us these days that you would think we need no more provocations. Some of us, for good or ill, welcome them nonetheless.

I can’t speak for you but among the ones  I am most looking forward to are provocations by Robert O’Hara. He has written and will direct Mankind, which starts its world premiere run on December 15th at Playwrights Horizons.

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Sutter (Phillip James Brannon) with his sister (Benja Kay Thomas), mother (Jessica Frances Dukes) and stepfather (Lance Coadie Williams) in a scene from Robert O’Hara’s “Bootycandy.” Photo by Joan Marcus.

O’Hara’s recent works for @PHnyc included directing Kristen Childs’ raucus and insightful Bella: An American Tall TaleHe also directed his own exhilirating romp,  Bootycandy a few seasons ago. O’Hara’s plays tear at the fabric of our reality to offer  exciting new views and cogent, perceptive outlook. He is provocative in the best and biggest sense of the word.

Likewise, reimagining As You Like It for a new world stage resonates in the era of travel bans.
Arden/Everywhere, at the Baruch Performing Arts Center from October 8th through the 28th,  turns Shakespeare into a playwright of the diaspora. As conceived by Jessica Bauman, this refugee-centric version of the classic comedy, is about giving welcome to the unwelcome and finding a home for the exiled.

Signature Theatre is rounding out the Suzan-Lori Parks’ revision of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Fucking A and In The Blood, both extended to October 8th and 15th respectively, and known collectively as The Red Letter Plays.

In In The Blood, Hester LaNegrita (a luminous Saycon Sengbloh) is punished for sins she did not commit alone, sins in which society is hypocritically complacent. Hester not only does not get “the leg up” she needs but she is consistently kicked down. She is not an innocent, but she is a naif. A transgression may only be an error in judgement, and should not be judged so harshly as it is in Hawthorne and in The Red Letter Plays. As for the other play in this set, the title alone has some not giving its full name. I recall the stir when it first played The Public in 2003.

 

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