Just when the tedium of banal bickering seems endless, Ruhl, director Les Waters and Berkeley Rep's technical staff rescue
Not only is storytelling a genuine art form, it's a lot harder than one might think. It requires skill with vocabulary, phrasing and a deep appreciation of the musicality of one's language. It requires a sense of drama, of make believe and, above all else, a deeply personal kind of buy-in from one's audience.
Dear Elizabeth's subtitle is "a play in letters from Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell and back again." It's clear from this phrasing that the epistolary play is about more than a series of letters between two poets.
Romance is all well and good as a source of artistic fodder. But the love of a father or mother for their children is presumed to be unconditional. What happens when a parent receives a stunning challenge regarding their child or delivers a startling ultimatum to their offspring? Complications quickly ensue.
"Every three days, we will do an ultrasound to make sure there is still fetal movement," they said. "We cannot promise that in the intervening days the fetuses will not expire." (I believe at this point they changed their language from "babies" to "fetuses.")
Calling it The Vibrator Play teases you into thinking it's only about sex toys. It's not. Calling it In The Next Room better describes the story's more serious plot line.
If you have kids, I can't imagine a better place to take them on a Saturday morning.
A director's work is often tricky to review on the basis of one production -- in the case of a first work, it is often unclear what is a director's idea versus what is a stage direction in the script itself. It is also hard for people to separate actors' choices from a director's touch. But after a period of watching a director's work, you get it.
Comparisons with the likes of Dear Liar, the sparkling dramatization of epistolary sparring between George Bernard Shaw and the actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell, or Love Letters, A. R. Gurney's amusing and tender fiction, are almost inevitable. As theater, Dear Elizabeth isn't in the same league.
"Sociales: Débora Arango Arrives Today," Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach/"Eurydice," Julianne Argyros Stage, South Coast Rep, Costa Mesa
If you crave art that elicits contemplation and incites a call to arms; art that can articulate the zeitgeist of the period in which it was made and continue its relevance to the present; and art made by a woman, you will gorge yourself on Sociales: Débora Arango Arrives Today at the Museum of Latin American Art.
On the Culture Front: Belle and Sebastian, The Social Network, NY Craft Beer Week, Cocktails at Lani Kai, and More
There's been a lot of boozing on the culture front with NY Craft Beer Week in full swing. On the theater front, the results have been less successful.
After seeing LATE: A Cowboy Song, an early Sarah Ruhl piece put up by the Piven Theatre Workshop, I had to clarify the job