Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp Review
EST Marathon 2007— Series B
By Les Gutman
At the top of the heap is the most discordant entry -- the only serious play in the mix -- "Beirut Rocks". Though it feels like a molotov cocktail thrown into a roomful of lightheartedness, it's a welcome bit of political theater. Playwright Israel Horovitz manages to wage the entire mideast conflict in a hotel room in, asking: "what happens when you bring together a Jewish-American college student (Enver Gjokaj) and a Palestinian girl (Stephanie Janssen) raised in America after her entire family was killed by the Israelis?" Well directed by Jo Bonney, the piece is also the best written play of the evening. All four actors do fine work here, with Frank Solorzano and Marin Ireland helplessly watching the conflict play out, as if they are, say, the United States and Great Britain.
"Is it always good news for a couple to learn they've just inherited a lot of money from a rich aunt?" The answer is "no" in "Priceless" when things start to unravel as the spendthrift wife (Morgan Hallet) comes to blows -- almost literally -- with the frugal husband (Michael Izquierdo). It would be nice to say that no Pratesi sheets are harmed in this play, but I can't. Elizabeth Diggs' script may not be priceless but it's very good, and both actors are strangely endearing under Mary B. Robinson's direction.
Pete Sagal's "Milton Bradley" may be the first play to ask the question, "How do you eulogize someone about whom no one has anything good to say?" The answer prompts the biggest laughs of the evening. Jason Shuchman sets things up nicely as the "Bereaved". ("Bereaved?", he asks the Rabbi (Stephen Singer). "Did they give you a course in like, Talking to the Sad?") The real payoff is in Singer's second scene monologue, er..., eulogy. Susan Einhorn stages it effectively.
The third of the two-handers is "Self-Portrait in a Blue Room," by Daniel Reitz. Though thinner of subject than the others, and cast against type as to both Larry Pine (playing an famous old gay artist) and Chris Stack (his young lover), any excuse to put Larry Pine onstage has its virtues. Our question is: "What's it like for this couple to wait for an audience with George and Laura Bush in a White House anteroom? Though the actors acquit themselves well, Reitz never veers far from the predictable in either politics or psychology.
There is no question in "Casting," and also no question it's the weak link in the evening's chain. Amy Fox's play about an unhappy teen (Sutton Crawford) with a fantasy life in which she gets to recast her family is dramatically limp and, so far as I could discern, pointless. Nela Wagman's directing choice may make it more embarrassing for some of the actors than necessary. That said, Polly Adams is at least believable as the girl's mother.
I always marvel at the Marathon's ability to coordinate transitions so nicely. Credit goes to the designers and, I'm sure, many others. Five shows, all with production elements fully formed.
Try onlineseats.com for great seats to
The Little Mermaid
Shrek The Musical
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide