Come Thursday, all we seem to talk about at the Atelier is: “What are you doing this weekend?” To this, my answer is almost always, “Seeing a play with Jason!” See, when I was engaged to Jason, I knew I was marrying myself to theater. He truly appreciates the art, knows every major actors’ name and career highlights, is on the board of an off-off-Broadway theater company, et cetera, et cetera. Me, I get briefing about the play we’re seeing at the dinner right before the show. And that’s when we go out for dinner! Although, sometimes Jason manages to get me invested with “Daniel Radcliffe/Jake Gyllenhaal/Cynthia Nixon is in it!” Theater world is hard to navigate! If it wasn’t for Jason, I would never see a single show. It’s all too confusing. Especially if you’re someone like me, who is not a big fan of commercial musicals. And critics’ reviews? They’re lengthy, wordy, make my brain steam, and always sign off without a clear consensus. I feel like a perpetual dummy when it comes to picking a show. And so are so many of my friends who want to go out to the theater more, but are too confused in a sea of choices. So, when Veronica told me “You should write reviews for the site!”, I thought, I guess my fellow dummies could use some help in finding good shows. So, here are a few shows I enjoyed, that are still running in New York:
Playing at Bernard B. Jacobs Theater. Written by Jez Butterworth, directed by Sam Mendes.
This is an already acclaimed play, that had great success in London. Now in previews in New York, hopefully, to stay here for a while. The Ferryman is inspired by the real life events of the writer’s wife’s family (and she also plays the lead role!) The show takes place in Northern Ireland in 1981, during The Troubles. Even though the play starts off on a dark note, that hangs like a thunder cloud for the whole duration of the show, you’re quickly immersed into the lives of the Carney family and their farmhouse. It’s a hilarious mix of characters, who don’t hesitate to yell out “FUCK” in the most Irish of accents. Even kids (which I most enjoyed)!! You learn to love this family very quickly, while pushing off anxiety that something tremendously bad is going to happen at any moment.
The Lifespan of a Fact
Playing at Studio 54 Theater. Written by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell and Gordon Farrell. Based on the book by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal. Directed by Leigh Silverman.
This is the one that Jason got me with, “Dan Radcliffe is in it!” Ok, ok, I know I might be biased here, but he was truly great at inhabiting his character–young, intellectual, neurotic, and very annoying at times. He still played a goodie though. Gryffindor at its best! Okaaay, I’ll stop my Harry Potter references here. I just have to remind myself that Daniel Radcliffe is an actual human being and an actor. A Muggle, just as I am–not The Boy Who Lived. UGH. This is another play that is inspired by true events. To describe it simply, three actors, two of whom are serious OGs of the craft – Cherry Jones and Bobby Cannavale (last one got Vanessa interested in maybe seeing the show one day) – suck you into an 85 minute-long vortex of questions: do facts matter more than context? While the answer may seem obvious to you, I guarantee your perspective will be challenged by the end of this play. But, hurry up, Dan won’t be waiting for you forever! See it with him in it before January 13th, 2019!
What The Constitution Means To Me
Playing at the New York Theater Workshop. Written by Heidi Schreck. Directed by Oliver Butler.
This play is achieving such success in the Off-Broadway scene, that it’s expected to be reworked into a Broadway production in the near future. Yet again, the play is based on the true story of writer/performer Heidi Schreck, who you might know as a co-writer of the TV show ‘I Love Dick’. Schreck, who put herself through college by giving speeches about the U.S. Constitution, in this play, explores exactly what title says. With all the whit and bluntness, the story she tells is especially relevant today. And if you’re already starting to panic thinking of current political events, I get you! But do not fear, you will feel rewarded having seen this show. Signing off here, but phleeeaaase, if you decide to see one of the above (or already have seen), share your thoughts below!