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Lost in Translation
By Clifton Lemon (Apr 5, 2007)
Federico García Lorca was by all accounts a complex, gifted, but deeply troubled character. Like Rimbaud and other hardcore romantics, his flamboyant and brief life (he was executed by Nationalist Fascist troops at the age of 38) still allowed him plenty of time to churn out enough poetry and plays to earn a spot in the pantheon of Western Art. More
Chekov’s Gun Control (Or Lack Thereof)
By Clifton Lemon (Mar 15, 2007)
David Denby, writing in The New Yorker on March 5th of this year, commented on the recent trend in films of deploying increasingly complex, overlapping, fractured narratives. Think Memento, Pulp Fiction, Babel, and Amores Perros. It’s not only a film trend though, and it’s actually been going on for several decades -- or more if you look back to the early twentieth century. More
Trigger Happy
By Chrissy Loader (Feb 23, 2007)
What does a girl do when she has it all? Say beauty, brains, a happy childhood with a view of the fjords of Norway, and a fortunate marriage to a promising young scholar? Add to that a six-month honeymoon with a visit to the seven wonders of the world with a dip into Rome’s Trevi Fountain, only to return -- potentially enceinte -- to a new home brimming with fancy furniture, books, and a few pistols? Well, if you’re Hedda Tesman, née Gabler (played by René Augesen), you start shooting things. More
A Bit of Schadenfreude You Can Live With
By Nirmala Nataraj (Feb 16, 2007)
Fifty years ago, playwrights like Harold Pinter were amassing scathing reviews and death threats, but now the thespian trademark of self-conscious menace and making spectators squirm in their seats is just par for the course. After all, it’s inarguable -- awash as we are in pop culture froth and the constantly impending threat of censorship -- that schadenfreude and shock value are the unspoken standards of modern theater. More
Help Me Do the Right Thing
By Clifton Lemon (Feb 12, 2007)
This tasty and sometimes disturbing work explores the transformative and healing powers of sexuality. In it we witness sweet, prim Midwestern girl Peggy, masterfully played by Jennifer Claire, steadily unraveling as her inner erotic fantasy life begins to merge with her drab, staid real-world life. It’s by turns funny, scary, gripping, and sexy, with overtones of Sex Lies and Videotape, Michel Foucault, and BDSM master/slave interrelationships. More
A Ripping Social Satire of Love and Marriage
By Chrissy Loader (Jan 12, 2007)
W. Somerset Maugham’s plays concentrated on social commentary and the conventions of marriage, and in his clever satire, “The Circle”, Maugham presents his audience with a circuitous dilemma -- is marriage for practical purposes, or is marriage for love and passion? The drama here is in two generations of upper-crust marriages where characters are confronted with similar impulses, with wives who seek to abandon stability for a shot at romance. More
And the Tummler Rolls Along
By Clifton Lemon (Dec 15, 2006)
Fred Raker’s solo show is an exorcism, a thinly veiled vehicle for nonstop impressions, a tribute to great comedians, and a poignant parable, all rolled into one. Riffing on the general shape of the Frank Capra holiday classic of similar title, Raker has crafted a tight, multi-layered, clearly autobiographical piece in which he charts his journey through the Show Biz School of Hard Knocks, exploring success and failure, Jewish identity issues, and his own spiritual transformation as an artist. More
The Spaces Between Film and Stage
By Chrissy Loader (Dec 7, 2006)
A bare stage with a projection screen, the image of two men walking amidst a dusty, black and white cinematic landscape, the sounds of piano rumblings reminiscent of the music from the silent film era. This is where Berkeley Rep’s production of “All Wear Bowlers” opens, with Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle, both the authors and stars of this production, exploring the permeations between film and stage, performer and audience, vaudeville and postmodern theater. More
Lustaholics Anonymous
By Clifton Lemon (Dec 7, 2006)
Hi, I’m Clifton and I’m a cochino. You know, the holidays are always difficult, and this last week has been especially hard for me -- with so many temptations -- all these little cochinas walking around in Santa Baby outfits, winking at me from every street corner. I’m really on the edge, you know? But after I shared at the last meeting, I was thinking, you know, I’m making progress on my first step. I mean, I am powerless over my cochinismo, but I’m struggling -- do I just give in, or do I try to stay on the straight and narrow way? More
Fundamentally Free
By Clifton Lemon (Nov 17, 2006)
René Descartes, in his Principles of Philosophy (1644) states “We experience within ourselves a certain freedom, which enables us always to abstain from believing anything which is not obviously certain and established.” For him, doubt was man’s fundamental freedom. John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt” brings the full weight of the existential dilemma of the existence of God in every line, every gesture, every scene. More
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