Monday, February 4, 2013

New Shows: Feb. 5-11

I'll pick an oddball for this week's spotlight: Nectarine EP at the Flea. It's a sort of radio-play based on The Odyssey. But before you skip ahead, note that it's not a simple adaptation―it's a weird aural experience, crazy downtown theater in a hip sonic style, the sort of work you're more likely to catch at Ars Nova or St. Ann's (see This Clement World below). Frankly, I'm not sure what to expect but I love sonic experiments and radio drama. And I also enjoy the Bats, the Flea Theater's young, in-house troupe. But there's plenty more to see if that doesn't interest you. I'd like to catch Zorro and a robot double-bill at the Japan Society. How about you?

where: The Wild Project
first night: Wednesday, Feb. 6
I mention this dance piece because it's based on the love poetry of Will Shakespeare. The concept is that it looks at the romances of three couples―aged 20, 40, & 60―to gain perspective on Shakespeare's own views.

where: Irish Rep
first night: Thursday, Feb. 7
A musical adaptation of The Quiet Man, that classic cinematic slice of Irish-American cornpone by John Ford and John Wayne. An American prizefighter, retires to Ireland after killing an opponent in the ring, falls for a lass, and tries to avoid a fight with her mulish brother. Actually, it's perfect material for a musical adaptation.

where: Theater Row
first night: Wednesday, Feb. 6
A sort of essay on food and life leavened with literature and staged for audiences. A half-dozen actors take on roles from Homer to Hemingway. Inexplicably, food is neither cooked nor served during the performance.

where: Signature Theater
first night: Friday, Feb. 8
This show's creative process sounds great. The company mounts a work, from script to production, within four months. It opens opportunities for more relevant and current drama. But this play―which is about coming out, gay violence, and taking responsibility for youthful indiscretion―doesn't sound especially a la mode.

where: Access Theater
first night: Friday, Feb. 8
The Bedlam Theater had a surprise hit last season in Saint Joan. Their fresh take on Shaw will be revived in March. In the meantime, catch their new work, a four-person Hamlet. Such a small cast should make this famously long play move briskly.

where: The Japan Society
first night: Thursday, Feb. 7
These two one-acts address the integration of robots into the home as caretakers and servants. Unlike most scifi theater, however, robots and androids actually play the roles! A Japanese theater company has collaborated with Osaka University's cybernetics department to stage this show. It raises all sorts of cool questions about live performance, doesn't it?

where: Incubator Arts Project
first night: Friday, Feb. 8
A classic Noh drama by the master of the form (a 17C gent by the name of Zeami) gets a 21C American upgrade. The sentimental script has a prostitute pine for her aristo lover till she goes mad. The staging, however, sets this Zen tale of seasons and emotions in a modern context of maximalism and plastic disposability.

where: City Center Stage 1
first night: Tuesday, Feb. 4
MTC builds their winter programming around strong middle-aged actresses, and everybody wins! Laurie Metcalf has lifted the company's Broadway show above a mediocre script; this premiere stars Edie Falco. She's a woman who abandons her comfy life. So it's a middle-class comedic drama. But a woman wrote this play, another directs; it's great to see that.

where: New Victory Theater
first night: Friday, Feb. 8
A rapier slashes the letter Z―the mark of Zorro! The masked avenger from Mexican California, the original Hispanic-American hero, takes the stage of the New Vic, to the delight of kids and youthful adults like me. This Scottish production has three actors play all the roles of a rousing adventure.

where: Classic Stage Company
first night: Friday, Feb. 8
Sondheim's '94 musical divided audiences in its premiere & led to his temporary devaluation. CSC gives the show its first NYC revival and hands the reins to John Doyle. He's the Brit who reinvigorated SS by putting musical instruments into his perfomers' hands.

where: Roundabout at the Laura Pels
first night: Friday, Feb. 8
Lanford Wilson's two-hander about a last chance at romance won the Pulitzer in '80;  in recent years, its quiet, heartfelt style has come back into style onstage. This Off-B'way revival costars Danny Burstein and Sarah Paulson, a brilliant pair of actors perfectly cast, but the director (Michael Wilson) has rarely impressed me.

where: St. Ann's Warehouse
first night: Tuesday, Feb. 4
If you haven't seen the work of Cynthia Hopkins, you really ought to. Here's another chance, with her eclectic music and fiction backing documentary footage of her trip to the Arctic Circle. The subject, naturally, is the environment, but it's less pessimistic on the subject than you'd predict.

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