Earlier this week, I was interviewing the writer Jeff Noon when the subject of his past as a playwright came up. Noon’s far from alone in having one foot apiece in the worlds of prose and theater; Samuel Beckett is probably the best-known example of someone doing interesting work in both disciplines, but Cormac McCarthy and Michael Frayn also come to mind. New York has seen a few examples this year of stage work by writers best known for their prose, including BAM’s staging of The Wife of Willesden, a play by Zadie Smith and the subject of this review, The Brick’s production of Jesi Bender’s Kinderkrankenhaus.
Regret can suffuse a storyline. It isn’t hard to see why: few among us have lived a life devoid of decisions we’d rather have made differently, and while speculation about other lives we may have lived isn’t the healthiest way to spend one’s day, I know of few people who have never engaged in such speculation. Craig Wright’s play The Pavilion engages directly in such a debate, though the question of where it stands remains up in the air for […]
Opening on December 18th at The Bushwick Starr is Philadelphia and Other Stories, the latest collaboration between Paul Rome and Roarke Menzies. Their work, both as individuals and as collaborators, has drawn our attention before: Joe Winkler reviewed their 2012 work Calypso, and I talked with Rome earlier this year about his novel We All Sleep in the Same Room. This time, I reached out to both via email to learn more about the project’s genesis, the blurred lines between fiction and […]
The Source, which has its world premiere tonight at the BAM Fisher Fishman Space and runs through the 25th, blends the use of the human voice with a politically resonant topic. The Source is described as “a multimedia oratorio,” and takes as its focus Chelsea Manning, and the media’s response to her. To learn more about the project’s origins, I checked in with two of the people behind it, composer Ted Hearne and librettist Mark Doten.
Last night, I walked into the empty vestibule of the Brill Building, down a flight of stairs, and into a surreal space where a theatrical work was being performed, its audience distrubuted throughout the space on a series of beds, some watching the action play out live or on monitors, others slumbering. This was Dream of the Red Chamber, where actors interacted on a series of stages, drapes dangled from great heights, and the overall effect was more than a little […]
More than most authors these days, Nathan Englander struggles to balance his considerable tools of literary craft with his restless mind. In everything I read or see from him, his ideas fight with his characters instead of creating a healthy symbiosis. I felt this way about much of his most recent collection, What We Talk about When We Talk About Anne Frank. In those stories, the characters feel alive, but in servitude to the master, to Englander himself and his […]
I stand in utter confusion as to how to generate an opinion on the work entitled Calypso, by writer Paul Rome and performer/composer Roarke Menzies, put on last night at the Bushwick Starr Theatre. I can truly think of two narratives in response to his work.
Tennis balls in a slanted pattern cover the floor of the performance loft. As you walk in you immediately see a machine named the Lob-ster fire tennis balls at a paper picture of a young girl in tennis clothing with her back to us. (The setup feeds right into my David Foster Wallace dorkiness as I catch the numerous allusions throughout the room. I laugh at the reference to Consider the Lobster, and to perhaps the funniest scene in the […]