Posts Tagged ‘john guare’

Performance diary: 3 KINDS OF EXILE

June 6, 2013

3 kinds of exile
June 2 –
You never know what you’re going to get with a new John Guare play. It’s never something generic. His brain is a repository of amazing stories, so you can count on some fantastic storytelling. 3 Kinds of Exile, his new show at Atlantic Theater Company, consists of three vignettes about European artists who left their homelands, each told in a different theatrical style. “Karel” is a monologue, performed by Martin Moran, who’s famous for his own solo shows (The Tricky Part, All the Rage), that asks “How much of your life have you made up?” It is a story within a story (about Karel Reisz, the Czech-born film director who staged Guare’s play Gardenia for Manhattan Theatre Club), with an O. Henry twist at the end. “Elzbieta Erased” is a duet performed by Guare himself with Omar Sangare, an actor who played young Paul in the Polish production of Six Degrees of Separation – together they tell the intricate, fabulous, sad story of Elzbieta Czyzewska, the actress famous in Poland who left when she married American journalist David Halberstam and almost never acted again. (In Ivo van Hove’s production of Hedda Gabler starring Elizabeth Marvel at New York Theater Workshop, she played the maid, sitting onstage smoking furiously the whole time and saying virtually nothing.)  “Funiage” uses nine actors to give a condensed biography of Witold Gombrowicz, a critically respected Polish writer (played by David Pittu) who spent most of his career living and working in Argentina. It’s a nutty chunk of theater, well-staged by Neil Pepe and worth seeing.

Photo diary: last night at Lincoln Center

July 12, 2011

Traffic jams, camera crews, and ardent fans took over Lincoln Center Plaza for the premiere of the final Harry Potter movie at Avery Fisher Hall. But the real action took place in the lobby of the Vivian Beaumont Theater where Anne Cattaneo, dramaturg for Lincoln Center Theater, received the prestigious Margo Jones Award for her contributions to the craft of playwriting and the life of the theater.

Beautiful tributes were given by Andre Bishop (a former recipient of the award himself) and Meryl Streep (who's received a few awards in her time)...

and John Guare, who co-edits the brilliant Lincoln Center Theater Review with Annie -- they each consider the other their second spouse. Their first spouses were in the crowd (Adele Chatfield-Taylor and Joe Santore), along with Annie's older son William and many distinguished theater folks, including director Adrian Hall (another Margo Jones Award recipient), Lincoln Center producer Bernard Gersten and his wife Cora Cahan, playwright/genius David Greenspan, and actors Lois Smith, Blair Brown, Deborah Rush, Mary Beth Hurt, and Joe Grifasi.

Afterwards I had dinner with my friend Collin Brown, who was visiting New York from Port Townsend, Washington, with his 15-year-old daughter Molly, a "Glee"-head who was geeking out on theater (they've seen "Wicked" and "Jerusalem" so far)

We had dinner at Cassis with Alvaro and Stephen, an early celebration of Stephen's upcoming 70th birthday, and then walked back to Lincoln Center Plaza, intending to check out the new David Michalek installation "Portraits in Dramatic Time," but it was cancelled tonight because of the Harry Potter premiere.

Theater review: THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES

May 4, 2011

My review of David Cromer’s Broadway revival of John Guare’s The House of Blue Leaves got posted today on CultureVulture.net. Check it out and let me know what you think.
I say, in part: “The House of Blue Leaves is such a famous play—its premiere in 1971 gave Guare, one of our best playwrights, his first hit—and the 1986 Lincoln Center Theater revival is still so fresh in the memory that it’s easy to forget what a strange and unconventional play it is… The new Broadway revival looks fantastic on paper. The stars include Ben Stiller (above left) as Artie, Edie Falco (above right) as Bananas, and Jennifer Jason Leigh as Bunny (a role first played by Stiller’s mother, Anne Meara), and the director is David Cromer, who staged phenomenal productions in recent years of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town (which ran for two years Off Broadway) and the Broadway revival of Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs…. Sad to say, Cromer’s production gets it all wrong.”

You can read the complete review online here.

Theater review: A FREE MAN OF COLOR

November 29, 2010

In my theater pantheon, John Guare looms large. Along with Richard Foreman‘s Rhoda in Potatoland, Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls…, Robert Patrick‘s The Haunted Host (starring Harvey Fierstein), and the Wooster Group‘s Nayatt School, the original production at the Public Theater of Landscape of the Body was one of a handful of productions that smashed my young playgoing brain into pieces. I’ve followed his work closely ever since.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting Guare’s new play A Free Man of Color for years, since it was first put on the schedule at the Public, under the direction of George C. Wolfe. It got scratched from the Public, supposedly for financial reasons but really — we learned from the New York Times a few weeks ago — over artistic differences with Oscar Eustis. Happily, Lincoln Center Theater picked it up and has spared no expense putting up this extravagant piece of work.

My review has just been posted on CultureVulture.net, saying in part:

Jeffrey Wright in "A Free Man of Color"

“Few of his works have ever shied away from wildly imagined multiple narratives sprawling in time, space, and dimension. Still, Guare has outdone himself with A Free Man of Color. Here he plays theater nerd as hip-hop DJ, mashing up big swatches of classic dramas (William Wycherley’s The Country Wife and Ben Jonson’s Volpone, The Merchant of Venice and Don Giovanni, to name only the most obvious), in order to tell the story of New Orleans circa 1801 as a unique crossroads of freedom and slavery, geography and imagination, race and racism, American history and American dreams, Europe and Africa, perched halfway between the Caribbean Islands and the Mississippi River.”

You can read the complete review online here.

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