THEATERMATTERS

November 19, 2019

First of all, don’t be put off by the pompous, academic title. Thomas Ostermeier’s extraordinary History of Violence, adapted from a much-discussed 2016 novel by the 27-year-old French literary star Édouard Louis, dramatizes a harrowing and gripping story of rape and a...

November 7, 2019

James Sheldon’s Reparations is a new play about racial grievance, guilt and retribution in America that, oddly enough, is both very smart and completely sincere. What I mean by that is that theatrical intelligence—particularly in the tonally tricky arena of race plays—...

October 29, 2019

Adam Rapp is a polarizing playwright. After bursting onto the scene in 2001 with Nocturne—a long, moving monologue by a man who accidentally kills his sister and then reinvents himself as a writer—he went on to write a number of other plays that mixed self-consciously...

October 18, 2019

Jeremy O. Harris’s Slave Play is the New York theater’s scandal du saison. It’s a play about race relations in America meant to ruffle feathers and it did that even in its first workshop version at Yale Drama School two years ago. The Yale scuttlebutt (tales circulated...

September 25, 2019

Frank Wedekind’s Lulu is the archetypal modern classic about a sexy woman. Precisely for that reason, it’s a very tough nut to crack today, no less for adaptors than for directors of the original texts.

Wedekind’s first version, a 5-act “monster tragedy” written in 1894...

September 9, 2019

Betrayal is unique in the Pinter canon. Now beginning its fourth run on Broadway, it’s proving to be the sole durably popular play by this highbrow literary star (a Nobel-winner) who rather enjoyed being an irritant to casual entertainment-seekers and, in his later lif...

May 17, 2019

The critical responses to Taylor Mac’s Broadway debut, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, have been all over the place, from huffy dismissal to ardent encomium. I, for one, was too fascinated by what the show was trying to accomplish to think about a simplistic thing...

May 7, 2019

Lately, whenever people ask for advice on what theater to see in New York, the show I’ve mentioned more than any other is Heidi Schreck’s What the Constitution Means to Me. That’s because this unusually smart and charming, tactically humble play, drawn from Schreck’s t...

April 24, 2019

Suzan-Lori Parks has written a dark and disturbing allegory about the seemingly impossible dream of a post-racial United States. As you’ve probably heard, White Noise (now nearing the end of its run at The Public Theater in Oskar Eustis’s production) is about a young b...

April 11, 2019

At the risk of throwing a wrench in your schedule, you really do have to drop everything (for the second time in 6 months) and head over to Madison Square Park. Pick a day and do it at dusk this week. The canny visual artist Arlene Shechet has once again used her resid...

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