A Matter of Time — “Hickorydickory”

If one goal of good theatre is to make you think, the play Hickorydickory by Marisa Wegrzyn certainly achieves that goal.  The overall concept of the play makes physical and mechanical the very metaphysical idea that each of us has a mortal clock which predetermines the time of our death.  In the play, most people are unaware of their mortal clocks, tucked comfortably behind their hearts, although an unfortunate few are born with them in their heads, making them aware of both the mortal clock and the time of their death. The play is set in a watch and clock repair shop; a special one where several generations have secretly worked on mortal clock repair, tweaks and even removal, as may be necessary. I saw the production at the Dragon Theatre in Redwood City and...

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TheatreWorks Silicon Valley — Your Tony Award Winning Regional Theatre!

As you probably know by now, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has won the 2019 Regional Theatre Tony Award! I join the entire TheatreWorks family in being very proud and happy about this and hope to catch a part of our founding Artistic Director, Robert Kelley, accepting the award live from Radio City Music Hall on television June 9 (at this point it is not certain if CBS will show this or not).  In announcing the award in a joint statement, the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing could not have said it better: “The work they produce celebrates the human spirit, they have helped develop hundreds of vibrant new plays and musicals that are now being performed in theaters across America, and they have pioneered education programs that inspire thousands of...

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Lauren Gunderson on New Plays

The prolific and ever-eloquent playwright Lauren Gunderson gave this speech a few days ago at the Artists Rep Theatre in Portland, Oregon where they will be mounting her play The Revolutionists in May. It’s already a sensation on Twitter and, with her permission, I am posting it here as I think it is simply wonderful. “I’m here to talk about new plays. So of course I’m going to talk about very very old plays. Because they do now and always have done the same things: they bring us together physically, intellectually and emotionally; and they teach us how to be better humans. New plays and live storytelling accomplish this feat all over the world in every culture on earth. Why do they do this? Because we need them to. Because we have co-evolved with live...

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A Fresh Look At An Age-Old Question — “Spending the End of the World on OK Cupid”

Half of the world’s population has vanished; the other half expects to go at midnight. How do you spend that day?  Your family and friends are gone.  Do you spend it mourning alone? Or do you turn to social media and find someone to talk with or meet and do some things on your bucket list?  That is the concept behind Jeffrey Lo’s Spending the End of the World on OK Cupid now playing at the Pear Theatre in Mountain View. As we watch the (mostly millennial) characters in this little gem of a play navigate those choices we are not only totally engaged and invested in their choices but we can’t help start thinking of what our own would be.  A well directed and generally strong ensemble cast (with a great break out performance by Tasi Alabastro as Ben) mixes...

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The Show Must Go On – A Rick By Any Other Name

I saw such a wonderful example today of why live theatre is so captivating.  When people ask “why not just see a movie” or try to explain to me that with television and film the performances, setting and all the production values can be so much more polished and perfect and unlimited, etc., I reply that it’s a totally different experience altogether. I love television and film, but theatre can be even more special. With theatre, it’s a group experience.  The group of artists that have worked so hard to build the art you are seeing, the group of artists that are performing it in the moment, the audience group experiencing it together and reacting back to the performers  –  we’re all partially responsible for how this all goes — and it...

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Autumn in New York

I am often asked for theatre suggestions from friends travelling to New York. One of my favorite times on the East Coast is now – cooler weather, changing leaves, new plays opening…  This year, I only have two recommendations based on personal experience from seeing them in London, but I read a lot of theatre news and I’m greatly intrigued by a few other new openings.  If you’re going to New York in the coming months, check out these possibilities: The Ferryman  I was fortunate to see this new play written by Jez Butterworth (Tony nomination in 2011 for Jerusalem) during its multiple-award-winning run in London.  Set in 1981 in rural Northern Ireland, the play is a sprawling epic about a family that draws from the revolutionary history and myths of...

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Meet Eliza Bent

One of my favorite benefits from writing TheatrePlayByPlay is meeting playwrights.  My Eliza Bent story is illustrative both of that benefit and of how engaging and committed many young playwrights are. Years ago when it was still conceivable that one might not have heard of Kickstarter, I had just discovered it and wrote a post called Help Kickstart a Dream about this great way for artists to crowd fund their projects.  As an example, I found and donated to a project to produce a new play called The Hotel Colors by a new playwright named Eliza Bent, whose name I recognized as a writer from American Theatre Magazine.  Well, she was pleased with the donation from a stranger and recognized my name a couple of months later on the attendees list of the Humana...

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