QUINCE: An Unforgettable Immersive Experience Blossoms at The Bushwick Starr

Anyone who has tended a garden (even on a rooftop or fire escape) or owned a houseplant knows that a living thing needs proper care, time, nourishment, and nurturing to grow, flourish and reach its potential. The same is true of a new work of theatre. It does not sprout from the playwright’s head or the director’s vision fully actualized but requires an investment to cultivate the seed and make it bloom. I have seen no finer example of this in the past two years than the journey of the interactive play celebrating modern Mexican American culture playing (on extension) at

Fat Ham at The Public Theater: Succulent Joy Triumphs Over Tragedy

  For a play premiering on Memorial Day weekend, what could feel more festive than a family gathering at a backyard barbecue served with a side of Shakespeare, a heaping portion of pop culture references, simmered in family drama, seasoned with violence and a dash of glitter to taste? Ay, there's the spice rub! Shakespeare's plays have had many adaptations and updated versions that take creative licenses with the Bard's works and themes. A favorite choice is the tale of the brooding, tragic prince with intense and questionable family dynamics. The Guardian recently published a piece examining the obsession that dramatists of stage and

The Accidental Futurist Ensemble: SITI Company’s “The Medium” at BAM

The year is 1993: Bill Clinton becomes president of the US; the World Trade Center is bombed by Islamic Fundamentalists; the FBI raids Branch Davidians, a religious cult in Waco, TX; Russia and the US sign a treaty; an earthquake and tsunami devastate Japan; brush fires ravage Australia; ethnic fighting causes turmoil in Bosnia; Ty introduces plush toys called Beanie Babies; the tech company Intel launches its Premium Processor. And an ensemble-based theater company called SITI Company devises the play The Medium in Toga-Mura, Japan. The Medium returns almost 30 years later to BAM Fisher, Fishman Space from March 15-20. As Shakespeare

Interview with Daniel Alexander Jones

The transcendent Black Queer Artist Daniel Alexander Jones (aka DAJ) puts his “slashes” to good use. The multi-hyphenated artist is having a very busy 2021. He’s had a book release, a podcast, a Howlround, and Christmas show, Jomama Jones’s Celestial Holiday Spectacular on December 3rd at New York Live Arts all in one season.  I first encountered DAJ in his luminous performance as Jomama Jones in Blacklight. I was immediately transfixed by his mystical charms, chameleon-like abilities, extraordinary talent, and tender vulnerability that brought the cosmic character of Jomana Jones down to earth. Reading his recently published collection of plays and performances,

SHEEP #1: Tiny Toys Captivate Hearts at Japan Society

There comes the point in life when one embarks on a Hero’s Journey toward self-discovery and finding the meaning of life. In the case of SHEEP #1, now playing at Japan Society through November 7, that remarkable journey belongs to a tiny plastic sheep toy.  NYC-based Japanese artist Sachiyo Takahashi creates a unique, imaginative world and theatrical experience through her “Microscopic Live Cinema-Theatre,” a real-time manipulation of miniature objects projected on a screen with silent dialogue and live musical accompaniment.  The result is a performance that is extraordinarily tender, whimsical, and perspective-shifting. Inanimate objects become sentient beings with complex desires, interactions and

Under the Radar Festival 2021: Re-envisioned Virtually

It’s 2021. We made it. Now what? For those of us fortunate enough to have survived (though not without scars) the year that no one could have imagined, we enter the new year less naive and more prepared for the unexpected.  Fortunately, one of the annual delights that kicks off each January with surprisingly fresh performances from local artists and exciting international companies has returned. The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival is back for its 17th triumphant year, albeit differently than before. Like everything else, the festival’s offerings are confined to virtual viewings and one very personal phone call.  The artists

Theater Markers Summit 2020 Offers Investigation & Inspiration Amid Uncertainty

Over a weekend and one bonus day, 103 theater professionals from Broadway, the USA, and worldwide assembled virtually for the most well-attended Theater Makers Summit in the event’s history. Participants from NYC, across the USA, and globally were eagerly hoping to glean some spark of light in a very dark year for the theater industry. The Summit was hosted on the app and web service Whova, which enabled more direct interaction than possible with an in-person event. The community chat rooms, comments, and direct messaging were all abuzz with energetic chatter and networking attempts throughout the Summit. Another benefit provided by the

Radical Adaptations of Dracula & Frankenstein Ignite Classic Stage Company

For as many adaptations and interpretations as there are of the classic gothic horror novels Frankenstein and Dracula, it is hard to imagine two more creative, unique, radical and timely works that deal with the well-known tales and characters than the pair playing in a repertory cycle at Classic Stage Company (CSC). They are also strikingly contrasting works. Both are deeply engaging, provocative and compelling explorations of the source material -- each of which was written in the 1800s, one slightly predating the other near the end of the Victorian era. They remind the audience of timeless themes investigated in

Under the Radar Festival: THE UNKNOWN DANCER IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

When the lights come up, one immediately observes what could only be a silverback gorilla. The gait, the strut, the way he pounds his chest and paces the stage -- anyone who has seen a nature film or visited a zoo would find these distinctive characteristics undeniable. But why is he there, what is this about? Suddenly and unexpectedly, after the attendees have spent some time with the ape, the performer morphs into a couple, then an obnoxious and rowdy child, followed by a gentle yet absent-minded mother, a passionate but perturbed photographer and, finally, an annoyed older man. This

THE BLACK CLOWN Theatricalizes the Experience of Black Americans at the Mostly Mozart Festival

The triumphant, masterful production of The Black Clown—that performed its New York City premiere from July 24-27th as part of the 2019 annual Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival—offered a theatricalized glimpse into the journey and experiences of a Black person in America. When I encountered what bass-baritone Davóne Tines—who performed the title role and adapted the piece along with composer Michael Schachter from Langston Hughes’ poem about a Black man’s resilience against a legacy of oppression—said about The Black Clown, I knew had to witness it firsthand: “When I first read The Black Clown it was like receiving a revelation that

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