Posted in #whatdoyouthink, actors, African-American playwrights, artist, based on a novel, based on a true story or event, based on a true story or event and historical documents, based on true events, brutality, chronicle, deep South, empowerment, ensemble acting, famous, film, Fox Studios, historical drama, history, honky, husbands and wives, KKK, meditation on life, movie, new work, opinion, poignant, race, racism, riff, sci fi, serious, serious subject, showcase, timely, TV, Valentine's Day

Serially entertaining

Actors and screen-writers are busier these days than they have been in some time. There are “streaming” shows, 100s of cable outlets producing both series and movies, and of course Hollywood and the Indie scene all requiring their talents and services.

We are the beneficiaries of all this production. We will be enlightened, entertained and excited by the films they produce.

What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than binge watching Divorce?

Gifted, the movie with Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace, and not so incidentally Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate, Lindsay Duncan, and Elizabeth Marvel, is touching without being maudlin. It is generally intelligent, with a sterling performance by young Ms. Grace, and until we saw it last night on HBO, I had not heard much about it.

The assignment for Black History Month can include the excellent Get Out, Jordan Peele’s genius defies and reinvents the “horror” genre. It should also feature a viewing of Birth of a Nation, perhaps both in its regressive D.W. Griffith 1915 version and Nate Parker’s 2016 “remake.” The contrast between a paen to the Ku Klux Klan and to Nat Turner’s slave rebellion may prove edifying. Add Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (although not our personal favorite) to your list of films for 2018. (In the New Yorker, Vinson Cunningham expresses a different view, especially of Parker’s film.)

Art is meant to engender controversy, stimulate and even incense and enrage. We should not be passively diverted in its presence. It is here to help us ponder life’s (and history’s) biggest issues.

Thanks to films and serial dramas we have a lot to consider and enjoy. And we are treated to some terrific performances in the bargain.

Posted in artist, drama, Hair the musical, musical theatre, politics, Seinfeld show on TV

Color divide?

Hair Tour
Hair on tour 2009. Photo by Joan Marcus.

via Daily Prompt: Black

Artists have found various expressions of racial harmony and discord. Seinfeld, a show considered famously lacking in diversity, used the black and white cookie to make its point about the cultural divide.

The musical Hair exalted in the difference with the anthem Black Boys/White Boys Its progressive themes made it an iconic operetta of the 1960s; in its most  recent revival Broadway at the St. James Theatre in 2011, Hair, with a cast of mostly relative unknowns from the road company tour of the 2009 production, was as timely and exciting as ever. (See TB’s review:  here.)

All this said, I have no intention to minimize or trivialize the real and substantial issues of race and our relationship to each other.

Posted in acting, activists, actors, allegory, artist, aspiration, athletes, ballet, balletic, comedy-drama, committment, concert, Daily Prompt, dance, dancing, drama, empowerment, expectations, farce, film, high expectations, jazz, joy, memory play, Meryl Streep, mime, modern dance, monologues, movie, multi-disciplinary performances, music, musical theater, musical theatre, musicals, musicals and dramas, mystery, narration, off Broadway, Off or Off-Off Broadway Transfer, offbeat work, one act plays, one man show, one-woman show, opera, painting, pantomime, parody, performance art, performance piece, performance works, photography, play, play with music, public performance in public spaces, radio play, revival, revue, rock and roll, satire, scary stories, sci fi, screwball comedy, Short plays, sketches, skits, tango, tap dance, theater for the common good, theater lovers, theatrical events, tragedy, tragi-comic

Shine

via Daily Prompt: Shine with thanks to Ben Huberman, The Daily Post for the inspiration

NoLateSeatingThose who crave the spotlight most often become entertainers. Their talent demands it. It is their calling to shine.

We applaud them, and in so doing bask in the glow of their accomplishment. They are center stage with the footlights on them, but we are illuminated by their performance.

Their light shines on us as they render and interpret and presnet their truths. Greater  performers shine brightest, and we shine brighter too.

Posted in acceptance, acting, artist, ballet, comedy, Daily Prompt, dancing, drama, high expectations, joy, music, musical theater, musicals and dramas, play

Ovation

via Daily Prompt: Ovation

In the theater, the sounds of a crowd pleased are often accompanied by a standing ovation for those who pleased us.

It is a way of saying thanks. Our gratitude makes us feel good, too. We yell “Bravo” and are rewarded with a sense of our magnanimity. Our approbation fills the theatre.

Applause, like laughter, are contagious.

Posted in artist, boys and girls, Hilla von Rebay, Louise Bauer, mordern art, risque, Rudolf Bauer, Solomon Guggenheim, the Guggenheim Museum of Art

Who was Rudolf Bauer? and "Boys and Girls"

Why would a prolific modernist painter suddenly stop making art?

“Bauer,” Lauren Gunderson’s drama at 59E59 Theaters through October 12th, is based on a true art mystery: what made Rudolph Bauer  (Howard Sherman,) the leading modernist of his generation, quit? He abandoned his legacy to Kandinsky, who is better known today as a master of modern art.

Did Hilla Rebay (Stacy Ross,) once the love of Bauer’s life, betray him when she made him sign over all his work and his future artworks to Solomon  Guggenheim?

Howard Sherman and Stacy Ross in Lauren Gunderson’s “Bauer” at 59E59
Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg

The play begins thirteen years after Bauer began his self-imposed exile in New Jersey. His wife, Louise (Susi Damiliano) has engineered a meeting between the former lovers who have not spoken in all those years.Modern art was in defiance to the Nazis, who abhorred it. Bauer seemed to like to defy. Guggenheim was his patron, who not only rescued him from the Nazis but also gave him a house, a Dusenberg, and a stipend, none of which satisfied Bauer.

It seems like  there should be drama in the anticipation of this meeting. Will they resolve their difference? Can Bauer return to his easel and create new masterworks? Despite decent performances, it’s hard to get engaged in Bauer’s ruined career or his motives.

As Louise, Susi Damiliano gives a resilient performance. Howard Sherman is convincing as the stubborn and perhaps broken artist. However, as the story unwinds,  it barely keeps our interest.

 Rudolf Bauer (Howard Sherman) welcomes Hilla von Rebay (Stacy Ross)
as his wife Louise (Susi Damiliano) stands by  in Lauren Gunderson’s “Bauer” at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

“Bauer,” originally produced at the San Francisco Plyhouse, is mostly talk, although the staging attempts to enliven. There are some nice projections (design by Micah J. Stieglitz, with scenic design by Ewa Muszynska), showing the artist’s work and setting recollections.

The Weinstein Galleries are showing of Bauer’s art to coincide with the New York production of the play. Sotheby’s is auctioning off works by Bauer from September 22nd to October 10th.

Also at 59E59 Theaters: “Boys and Girls,” written and directed by Dylan Coburn Gray, is part of Origin’s 1st Irish 2014. Confessedly, it was the promise of the risqué that brought me to the theater, and the failure to fulfill it that had us take an early departure, not awaiting the climax as it were.

“Boys and Girls” is billed as being “naughty” — if having  a young and pretty girl utter the dreaded “c” word can be considered ribald, then “Boys and Girls” is that.

Seán Doyle, Maeve O’Mahony, Claire O’Reilly, and Ronan Carey Seán Doyle in “Boys and Girls”written and directed by
Dylan Coburn Gray, part of 1st Irish at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg

The format of the play is a series of monologues in which the eponymous quartet take turns telling their love stories. Sweet young foul-mouthed things they are, too.

For more information on “Bauer” and “Boys and Girls,” please visit 59e59.org

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