Monday, January 14, 2013

New Shows: Jan. 15-21

I shine my spotlight this week on Life and Times: Episodes 1-4. This one, all the cool kids are buzzing about. The Nature Theater of Oklahoma has become a big deal in NYC's experimental scene over the last few years, big enough that their latest piece is a co-production with the Public, Under the Radar, and Soho Rep (as well as Vienna's Burgtheater). Which is to say, the companies are lending legitimacy and a subscriber base to NTO's work in return for cache. Life & Times is a long-form biodrama, one person's response to the question: “Can you tell me your life story?” Catch the work in four chunks or better yet, see all 4 parts in an 11-hour marathon.

where: The Public Theater
first night: Wednesday, Jan. 16

And here are the other notable productions who raise their curtains this week:

where: PJ Sharp Theater
first night: Saturday, Jan. 19
A one-man show about the mechanism of fury. A mild-mannered man attacks his step-mother and later investigates an act of torture.

where: The New Group at Theater Row
first night: Thursday, Jan. 17
Ethan Hawke directs this adaptation of Brecht's 1918 debut, Baal. In this version, it's a 1990s songwriter whose hedonism leads him into a self-destructive nightmare of redemption. Hawke also acts, alongside Zoe Kazan, Vincent D'Onofrio, and adaptor Jonathan Mark Sherman. But the true theatrical temptation is music by GAINES, a duo of sculptors who invent instruments. Their work turned Hawke's Lie of the Mind from a well-done classic into a mind-blowing sensory experience.

where: Theater at St. Clement's
first night: Friday, Jan. 18
Julien Sorel, fueled by ambition, climbs the social ladder of post-Napoleanic France. Stendahl's novel is revered for the psychology of its protagonist and the social analysis of the period. The former quality is incredibly hard to adapt from prose to drama, making Red/Black an iffy choice.

where: New World Stages
first night: Friday, Jan. 18
This musical parody of Silence of the Lambs reopens after a holiday hiatus. By all accounts it's a fun evening.

where: BAM Harvey
first night: Thursday, Jan. 17
Peter Brook returns to BAM once more, this time adapting a short story from South Africa. If you haven't seen Brook's primal approach to stagework, you should take this opportunity. It's supposed to be his best work in years, and he's getting old (88 in March).

where: The Flea
first night: Friday, Jan. 18
Actor Hamish Linklater (who I generally like) moonlights as a playwright this winter. Fortunately he and his director have cast a strong trio of performers behind his writing debut―even without Holly Hunter, who bailed around the first rehearsal. Despite that, advance word is strong on this dark, emo drama.

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