An Ordinary Muslim Review

Azeem is angry. The title character of “An Ordinary Muslim,”a British-born son of Pakistani immigrants, is angry at his wife Saima for her wanting to wear a hajib at her office, fearing that announcing her faith by covering her hair would expose her to bigotry, and could jeopardize her job. But Akeem is also angry at his colleague David at the bank where he works – a man who is helping Akeem get promoted as a manager — because “you colonized my country for two hundred years.” He is angry at his parents, and at the local Muslim community, and maybe, just maybe, he’s angry at himself.

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Relevance: Review and Pics

It might sound unenlightened to call Relevance a catfight between two feminists. Jayne Houdyshell and Pascale Armand, after all, are portraying characters explicitly identified as “public intellectuals” in JC Lee’s play… [but the playwright] has created a remarkably unsympathetic portrait of two feminists – and therefore, intentionally or not, of feminism. Luckily for the playwright, director Liesl Tommy has assembled a terrific cast and a fine design team…

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph by Joan Marcus to see it enlarged

Assistance Review. David Mamet Has Written A Play about Harvey Weinstein. Leslye Headland Wrote One a Decade Ago

David Mamet has revealed in an interview in the Chicago Tribune that he has written a play about Harvey Weinstein. “I was talking with my Broadway producer and he said, ‘Why don’t you write a play about Harvey Weinstein?’ And so I did.” Currently titled “Bitter Wheat,” its future is uncertain.
What is certain is that Leslye Headland, a woman who once worked as an assistant for Harvey Weinstein, wrote a play called “Assistance” in 2008, quite clearly based on her experiences. Below is my review of “Assistance” when it was produced at Playwrights Horizons in February, 2012:

The finale of “Assistance” is an abused employee’s revenge fantasy: A woman curses out her boss, and then dances defiantly as the office around her self-destructs in spectacular fashion: The papers whoosh out of the photocopy machine and thicken the air like a reverse avalanche; desks topple over, the air ductsbreak open, the sprinkler ignites, drenching her gloriously. Read more of this post

Jerry Springer the Opera: Review and Pics

Jerry Springer the Opera is profane, vulgar, obvious, offensive and irresistibly entertaining – at least in the first act, when it offers a high art version of the TV talk show that has aimed low since 1991. The New Group production, directed by John Rando and featuring a pitch-perfect 17-member cast led by Terrence Mann and Will Swenson, contrasts the high and the low to hilarious effect.
After Act I of this sing-through musical, though, it’s easy to wonder: What’s the point?

Full review at DC Theatre Scene


Click on any photograph by Monique Carboni to see it enlarged.

Kings Review: How Money Corrupts American Lawmakers

”There is one thing about which we all agree, left, right, center: Money has corrupted our politics,” says Rep. Sydney Millsap (Eisa Davis), summing up the point and the plot of “Kings,” a new play written by Sarah Burgess (“Dry Powder”) and directed by Thomas Kail (“Hamilton”) that opens tonight at the Public Theater. The Congresswoman, a Gold Star widow newly elected as the first black woman to represent her district in Dallas, Texas, learns the bitter lesson of money and politics while fighting to resist the moneyed interests and do what’s right on a particular bill.

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In the Body of The World Review: Eve Ensler, Fighting Cancer and Injustice, Ranting, Riffing, Raging, Revealing

Perhaps you’d think it chutzpah that in “In The Body of the World,” the latest solo show by Eve Ensler, best known for “The Vagina Monologues,” she merges her story of her fight against uterine cancer with world crises such as mass rape in the Congo and the deadly oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Maybe you’d be squeamish at her graphic storytelling of her illness, treatment and recovery, during which she literally bares her physical scars, and exposes her emotional ones, which are more disturbing. You could well disapprove of her self-defeating and dubious speculation about what might have caused her cancer – from tofu to Tab to bad reviews.

You could grapple with all these reactions to Eve Ensler and her show – I certainly did at one time or another during its 90 minutes – and still find “In The Body of the World” (as I did) eye-opening, entertaining, and one of the most satisfying works of theater so far this year.
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Fire and Air: Pics and Review

Fire and Air could not have looked more promising –a starry cast performing a new play by Terrence McNally about one of the most celebrated of dance companies, the Ballets Russes. Picasso, Matisse, and Coco Chanel designed their sets; Debussy, Stravinsky, and Richard Strauss composed their music. George Balanchine created nine of their ballets when in his twenties.
And at the center of the Ballets Russes was its impresario Sergei Diaghilev; its greatest dancer Vaslav Nijinksy; and the tempestuous relationship between the two.
Who better to dramatize all this than the playwright who won one of his four Tony Awards for Master Class, presenting the opera singer Maria Callas as impetuous, passionate, enlightening and inspiring?

Full review at DC Theatre Scene