Day: February 8, 2018

lan Ayckbourn’s “The Divide” at The Old Vic

Playwright Alan Ayckbourn basically comes in two flavors: suburban comedies of embarrassment and sci-fi fantasies. His latest, The Divide, which premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival last year in a two-part six-hour version, has been now been trimmed down to a single very long evening for its short stay at the Old Vic in London. Written not as a conventional play, but as a “narrative for voices,” it is a dystopian fable about the relationship between men and women in the aftermath of a terrible plague which has decimated humankind. Think Handmaid’s Tale; but also think Juliet, think Romeo. After the...

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Movie Star-Crossed: Adrienne Kennedy’s “He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box”

The explosively feminine theater of Adrienne Kennedy breaks many of the fundamental “rules” of drama, beginning with Aristotle’s assertion that tragedy is “the imitation of an action.” Kennedy’s plays are cradled by an exquisitely receptive intelligence; hers is a not a dramaturgy of action but of punishing passivity. Major works like Funnyhouse of a Negro (1964), Lesson in Dead Language (1970), A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White (1976), and now He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box absorb and reflect received images, attitudes, and templates of violence. Kennedy’s characters are paralyzed, caught in the...

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“The Rage” at Divine Comedy Festival 2017

Divine Comedy Festival 2017 situates itself awkwardly around the peaceful Christmas Market in the Main Square, Krakow. The 2017 festival, provocatively themed “Theatre in Ruin,” embodies an unusually rebellious, angry, yet still divine spirit in response to the tumultuous political situation in Poland. Artists have responded violently, directly and confrontationally via the broadest possible range of theatrical forms and media. Given that Divine Comedy is one of the biggest mainstream theatre festivals in Poland, it stunned me that almost every show I saw was a hardcore political theatre piece, desperately and fearlessly trying to find an answer with audiences...

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