For Viewing: Robert Askins on Hand to God

Hand to God just opened in a terrific new production at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. There is a review forthcoming (which will probably be my longest theatre review yet), but in the meantime, here is an interesting episode of Theater Talk in which the author Robert Askins talks about the play, along with director Moritz von Stuelpnagel and star of the original company Stephen Boyer

Review: “Hedda Gabler” at the Cutting Ball Theatre

“Hedda Gabler will be 75 minutes long with no intermission” says the program handed out to audience members before the show begins. What? How on earth can someone transform Ibsen’s 2-and-a-half-hour masterpiece of manners into a taught one act piece? Well, judging by the Cutting Ball’s new production, the answer is: not very effectively, though you can’t fault it for lack of trying. Continue reading “Review: “Hedda Gabler” at the Cutting Ball Theatre”

Thoughts On: Movie Musicals

A few weeks ago, it was reported that Wicked was officially coming to theaters in 2019, with Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours) set to direct. For many fans of the show, this was exciting news, with the movie having been teased for years. The musical movie itself appears to be having a bit of a renaissance, with Into the Woods and Annie being recent examples and about a dozen more in the pipeline, including adaptations of Beauty and the Beast, Miss Saigon, In the Heights, and West Side Story (directed by Steven Spielberg with a new screenplay by Tony Kushner). All these new movies may be great news for the vitality of musical theatre, but I remain unconvinced that modern movie musicals ever actually work artistically. Continue reading “Thoughts On: Movie Musicals”

Read This: Hangmen by Martin McDonagh

Martin McDonagh is a master of the morbid farce. In his world, a slammed door can kill you, the vengeful lover is never ultimately harmless, and victims, er, characters don’t slip on banana peels so much as they do on blood and guts. But the audience is usually laughing all the way to the end, leaving the heavier moments of the play to stew in playgoers minds long after they go home. Which is why it is surprising to report that McDonagh’s new play Hangmen actually becomes rather heavy before it ends, but is no less finely wrought than his emotionally detached work that readers may be accustomed to. Continue reading “Read This: Hangmen by Martin McDonagh”