Posted in comedy-drama, dark comedy drama, premieres, serious comedy, The Women's Project, Theresa Rebeck, Women, women playwrights

Glass ceilings

WHAT WE’RE UP AGAINSTOctober 28-November 26 Off-Broadway Premiere written by Theresa Rebeck directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt with Skylar Astin, Marg Helgenberger, Jim Parrack, Krysta Rodriguez, & Damian Young
The cast of What We’re Up Against: Damian Young, Marg Helgenberger, Skylar Astin, Krysta Rodriguez and Jim Parrack take a meeting. Photo © Joan Marcus

The workplace can be a fraught setting for the battle of the sexes.

WHAT WE’RE UP AGAINSTOctober 28-November 26
Off-Broadway Premiere

written by Theresa Rebeck
directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt
with Skylar Astin, Marg Helgenberger, Jim Parrack, Krysta Rodriguez, & Damian Young
Photo © Joan Marcus

In the case of Theresa Rebeck’s What We’re Up Against, in its New York off-Broadway premiere at The Women’s Project through November 26th, the setting is a boutique architectural firm. The company’s prestige only adds to the cutthroat atmosphere in which its staff swims.

Ironically, the title crops up in a slightly drunken conversation that the “boys” in the office are having, complaining about Eliza (Krysta Rodriguez), a relatively new hire who has the absentee boss David on her side. Stu (Damian Young) manages the business as best he can; he finds Eliza an impediment and feels comfortable bitching about her to Ben (Jim Parrack) and to the other new hire, Weber (Skylar Astin.)

WHAT WE’RE UP AGAINSTOctober 28-November 26
Off-Broadway Premiere

written by Theresa Rebeck
directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt
with Skylar Astin, Marg Helgenberger, Jim Parrack, Krysta Rodriguez, & Damian Young
Photo © Joan Marcus

The irony, of course, is that it is Eliza who is up against the wall created by her craven male colleagues. The other woman architect they work with, Janice (Marg Helgenberger) is as antagonistic to Eliza as the men are; her hostility is more self-protective– Eliza stirs up trouble and Janice is eager to fit in and get along.

What We’re Up Against enjoys its ironies and has a quick-witted humor. Under Adrienne Campbell-Holt’s direction, the pace is brisk and to the point. The fact that the characters, except for Eliza and Ben, lack all charm shows its hand, making it clear who we’re supposed to root for.

WHAT WE’RE UP AGAINSTOctober 28-November 26
Off-Broadway Premiere

written by Theresa Rebeck
directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt
with Skylar Astin, Marg Helgenberger, Jim Parrack, Krysta Rodriguez, & Damian Young
Photo © Joan Marcus

The bi-level set for What We’re Up Against  are designed by Narelle Sissons personalizes and expands on the space. We were told by patrons in the first row that they were not entirely content with the design, however.

What We’re Up Against originally played at The Magic Theatre in San Francisco in February, 2011 under the direction of Loretta Greco and won the 2011 Rella Lossy Playwright’s Award. It is presented by WP Theater by special arrangement with Segal NYC Productions.

For tickets and more information, please visit WPtheater.org.

Posted in dark comedy drama, dysfunction, Playwrights Realm, premieres

Victim empowered

20597526_10154504240561486_4624644961396743591_nThe Law and Order franchise, SVU, has liberalized a significant cultural taboo. Rape victims are told in each crime episode that the dignity brutally wrested from them is theirs to reclaim. The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. MatthiasMichael Yates Crowley’s play, presented in a world premiere by The Playwrights Realm at the Duke through September 23rd, is also about empowering the victim. Crowley, however, does not feel that our cultural conversation about rape has the frankness and openness we like to think it does.

512px-The_Intervention_of_the_Sabine_Women
Jacques-Louis David [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
“R-a-p-e” is not treated with the solemnity it is given by Lt. Olivia Benson in Crowley’s play. The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias sets a light, almost farcical tone as Grace (Susannah Perkins) recounts the assault. It begins as a sweet and rather awkward love story between two shy youngsters. Jeff (Doug Harris) is a football star with little poise off the field. Grace is an oddball 14-year old, thrilled that Jeff knows her name from class.  The  team quarterback, Bobby (Alex Breaux) (and Jeff’s closest friend) is jealous of the pair’s developing friendship.

It is also in that class that The Teacher (Andy Lucien) introduces an artwork by Jacques Louis David, technically called The Intervention of the Sabine Women that inspires Grace and circumscribes her experience.

The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias is about meeting outrage with humor. Grace’s world is not torn apart after she is raped.  The Guidance Counselor (Eva Kaminsky) and Grace’s best friend Monica (Jeena Yi) both seem disappointed at how composed Grace seems. The Lawyer (Jeff Biehl) is only concerned that she deliver a coherent narrative to the Grand Jury.

Some of the storyline in The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias is delivered by The News (Chas Carey) who periodically announces the day’s events in the town of Springfield.

Under Tyne Rafaeli’s direction, The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias moves quickly;  the cast smoothly characters portrays a townful of people. Andy Lucien is particularly vivid as a charismatic “preacher.” one of the many roles he undertakes. In fact, the ensemble’s ability to shift and adopt a new persona gives The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias almost the feel of improv.

There is humor and wit in Michael Yates Crowley’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias, which by no means undermines the seriousness of its subject matter.

For more information and tickets for The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias, please visit the Playwrights Realm website.

Posted in acceptance, adultery, aspiration, comedy-drama, committment, couples, dalliance, dramedy, infedility, love, love story, loyalty, premieres, romance, serious comedy, The Mint Theatre

Monogamy

Is it really cheating if your spouse approves your infidelity?

Creatives    Directing Jonathan Bank     Sets Carolyn Mraz     Costumes Hunter Kaczorowski     Lights Xavier Pierce     Original Music & Sound Jane Shaw     Projections Katherine Freer     Props Joshua Yocom     Casting Stephanie Klapper, CSA     Product
Max von Essen and Elisabeth Gray in Yours Unfaithfully by Miles Malleson. Photo © Richard Termine.

Exploring the conventions of marriage and the humbug of monogamy, Miles Malleson wrote and published Yours Unfaithfully in 1933. Mint Theater Company is giving this charming and disarming comedy/drama a premiere showing through February 18th, under the direction of Jonathon Bank. For this discovery, we owe them a great thanks.

Creatives    Directing Jonathan Bank     Sets Carolyn Mraz     Costumes Hunter Kaczorowski     Lights Xavier Pierce     Original Music & Sound Jane Shaw     Projections Katherine Freer     Props Joshua Yocom     Casting Stephanie Klapper, CSA     Product
Max von Essen and Mikaela Izquierdo in Yours Unfaithfully by Miles Malleson. Photo © Richard Termine

 

 

Stephen Meredith (Max von Essen) is blissfully enjoying his wife’s beneficence. Anne (Elisabeth Gray) has given her blessing for him to “get into some mischief” with Diana Streathfield (Mikaela Izquierdo) in the hope that an affair would rejuvenate Stephen and end his writer’s block.

Neither she nor Stephen imagine any other consequence. They are acting on their convictions that a strong marriage can withstand other and lesser alliances, just as Stephen’s father, the Rev. Meredith (Stephen Schnetzer) acts on his principles when he is shocked to learn of Stephen and Diana’s dalliance. Anne’s confidant and the Merediths’ friend, Dr. Alan Kirby (Todd Cerveris) preaches the counterbalance of the head to the heart.

The brilliantly deft production of Yours Unfaithfully is a welcome addition to the Mint archive. As is customary in a Mint production, sets and costumes have a panache as well. The scenic (by Carolyn Mraz) and costume (by Hunter Kaczorowski) design are admirable. The top-notch ensemble brings Malleson’s smart vision to life with an easy flair. It’s a tribute to all involved that one can’t peg Yours Unfaithfully as  drama, or drawing-room comedy; it transcends labels and stands on its own.

For more information and tickets, please visit the Mint website.

 

Posted in balletic, dance, favorites, James F. Ingalls, Offenbach and Bach too, old, Paul Taylor, premieres, Santo Loquasto, The can-can

Paul Taylor Dance Company’s Grand Gala!

The gift that Paul Taylor shares with us is not his longevity –he’s 82, as it happens– but his lifelong creativity!

His latest creation, “Perpetual Dawn,” which enjoyed a world premiere at the Gala on March 5th at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater, is a balletic work set in a rustic backdrop. A troupe of eleven dancers, clad as turn of the century peasants under a gorgeous landscape backdrop.The set and costumes are by Santo Loquasto with lighting by James F. Ingalls adding to the blissfully pastoral atmosphere of the piece. “Perpetual Dawn” is excitingly balletic!

“Offenbach Overtures,” Paul Taylor’s 1995 tweak on the composer of the can-can makes for a light-hearted and beautiful romp.  Even for big fans of Moulin Rouge, Toulouse-Lautrec and La Belle Epoque, “Offenbach Overtures,”  is supremely funny.

The Paul Taylor Dance Company’s spring season offers more hi-jinks and high kicks, continuing on through March 24th.

For information and tickets, please visit www.ptdc.org  Tickets may also be purchased at the David H. Koch box office on the Lincoln Center plaza.