Monday, June 4, 2012

Theater: New Shows (June 5-11)

No longer writing this column for a website, I don't have to recommend just one play. And frankly, I'm looking forward to half of this week's debuts! Two classics get remounted: a traditional (probably) As You Like It in Central Park and an Uncle Vanya in modern vernacular. These Seven Sicknesses is a myth cycle worth the 5+-hours time; I saw it in January, & I'll see it again. To balance these, I'll catch the forward-looking Space//Space, an avant-garde comedy set in deep space! And if I have any evenings left over, I'll visit 3C, by one of my favorite young playwrights, David Adjmi.

where:  Delacorte Theater
first night:  Tuesday, June 5
Celebrate this NYC institution's 50th anniversary by heading to the Forest of Arden. As Rosalind, Lily Rabe continues to stake her claim as a great Shakespearean, after her subtle turn as Portia in summer 2010. Oliver Platt plays the Fool, Stephen Spinella gets the “All the world's a stage” speech, and Daniel Sullivan directs, presumably in his typical low-key manner.

where:  Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
first night:  Wednesday, June 6
A pastiche of Three's Company―seriously. But David Adjmi also wrote Elective Affinities, a stunning and dense monologue about art, existence, and (obliquely) the War on Terror that may've been the best play of the '11-'12 season. So expect less farce and more absurdism. Plus, the cast looks great, with the intriguing Hannah Cabell in the, uh, “Janet” role.

where:  The Flea Theater
first night:  Wednesday, June 6
The Flea remounts an astonishing evening of theater. This five-hour work adapts the complete works of Sophocles, transforming them into a cunning, often hilarious cycle on Oedipus and Troy. Dinner's included with the ticket, served at the first intermish. I recommend TSS unreservedly.

where:  59E59
first night:  Thursday, June 7
A small British play that made a big noise in its original production a decade ago. It's a three-hander, a bittersweet love triangle, about how lives can be altered by a small, random event.

where:  Soho Rep
first night:  Thursday, June 7
One of the most anticipated shows of the summer, this take on Chekhov has been couched in a contemporary idiom. The heat comes partly from collaborators Annie Baker (adaptor) and Sam Gold (director), whose Circle Mirror Transformation and The Aliens were two of the most memorable shows in the last few years. But it's also because of a stupendous cast that includes Maria Dizzia (In the Next Room), one of the most gutsy actresses around.

where:  The Wild Project
first night:  Friday, June 8
A version of the Bad Seed trope, as a child does some very naughty things. Playwright Eliza Clark makes her rent by writing for The Killing, a smart TV show about murder, so she should know from evil. She also describes her script as a “sci-fi play” set in an “alternate present.”

where:  Collapsable Hole
first night:  Friday, June 8
Subversive science-fiction from Banana Bag & Bodice, a Brooklyn troupe that pushes the adjective “experimental” in bold directions. In this oddity, two brothers get launched into deep space; one swaps genders, the other gets existential. A claustrophobic absurdity with futuristic SFX and mod projections. I can't wait!

where:  The Beacon Theater, CBS, and online
first night:  Sunday, June 10
Neil Patrick Harris returns to MC; that may be enough for you to enjoy Broadway's night of plaudits. I'm bored by awards ceremonies, however, so I'll sit this one out.

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