Review: “The Glass Menagerie” by Pigeonhold Theatre Company

Review: “The Glass Menagerie” by Pigeonhold Theatre Company

“The Glass Menagerie” is a Tennessee Williams’ classic that needs no introduction.  Often thought of as autobiographical the piece explores the weight of familial obligations and the dangers living in the past all told through the lens of a memory by the play’s focal point, a  guilt-ridden Tom who is often thought to be a stand-in for Williams himself.

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Review: "Inside Danny’s Box" at the Origin Theatre’s First Irish Festival

Review: "Inside Danny’s Box" at the Origin Theatre’s First Irish Festival

“Inside Danny’s Box” is the latest piece to be mounted as part of Origin Theatre’s First Irish Festival. In this Irish black comedy Derek Murphy crafts a world leaden with sacrilege, adultery and love all hidden behind the guise of feigned hospitality in a small Irish neighborhood where nothing is as it seems. We follow a priest Father Francis (Ken Forman) as he navigates his way through a sea of familiar faces in the days leading up to his mission in Africa. He comes across Danny a young man who confides his love for his neighbor Marybeth to his mother and a small wooden box and things only get stranger from there.

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Review: "Simple Math" - Solving the Neurobiology of Assault

Review: "Simple Math" - Solving the Neurobiology of Assault

 In a year where it was very difficult to be a woman “Simple Math” offers a cathartic revelation for countless people who have been assaulted and then groomed or shamed into silence with its message being: you’re not alone, and more importantly it isn’t your fault. And given the current political climate one can’t help but commend that.

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Review: Normal Ave’s “Completeness” Manages to Redefine Normal

Review: Normal Ave’s “Completeness” Manages to Redefine Normal

Normal Ave, a relatively young company has started off their third season with a production of “Completeness” that is sure to affect audiences of all ages. Written by Itmar Moses and directed by Jeremy Landes “Completeness” is a love letter to non-committal relationships with a relevant exploration of how the millennial generation approaches or rather avoids approaching relationships. 

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Review: "Meshahnye" at Theater for the New City

Katherine Hebert

  • New York Contributing Critic

A new translation of a Russian classic has made a home off-Broadway and into the thoughts of any audience member lucky enough to snag a ticket before the end of its run. Presented by Double Decker productions, Meshahnye (sometimes translated as “The Philistines”) was the premiere play by socialist realism founder Maxim Gorky.  It follows a family who’s bond rapidly deteriorates as the characters wrestle with a shifting socio-economic climate all while the Russian Revolution and subsequent aftermath looms outside their window.

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A piece that primarily focuses on the generational divide between parent and child. Most of the conflict derives the weight that comes because of this generation gap. Gorky (only 33 upon the play’s publication) made the choice not to blame either party and instead present the flaws in both groups’ ideologies whilst keeping both elder and child in an empathetic light. This all too relatable conflict is aided by Jenny Sterlin’s new translation and direction which manages to breathe new life into a revered classic. While a strong and capable cast pulls off a marathon of a play (clocking in at two and a half hours) which on its own is an impressive feat. Though I should note that the strength of both the text and the cast is so great that  you barely notice the length.

Heading this unit is the family patriarch Bessemenov (portrayed by John Lenartz). Lenartz manages to garner sympathy from the audience by bringing humanity to what is on paper and in the hands of a less capable performer a crotchety curmudgeon. At his side is the phenomenal Isabella Knight portraying Akulina, the matriarch of the family clan. Knight brings a dignified desperation to her character’s feeble attempts at making peace between her husband and children. Her pleas for peace fall upon the deaf ears of her children, the perpetually miserable Tatiana (Annie Nelson) and the often angst-ridden Peter (Thomas Burns Scully). Despite the picture both Gorky’s dialogue and Jenny Sterlin’s translation paint of Tatiana’s mental state, Nelson finds her strongest moments in Tatiana’s silence rather than in her declarations of misery. While Scully’s take on Peter is earnest and endearing with more than a fair share of humor sprinkled in, making what could very easily be an unlikable character charming. Watching the familial chaos unfold is their tenant Teterev (Zenon Zeleniuch) Zeleniuch portrays Teterev with a near devilish glee often deriving pleasure from the family’s plight. But if Teterev is the devil on this family’s metaphorical shoulder than Perchikin the drunken bird-seller serves as their angel. Kenneth Cavett’s Perchikhin is jovial and brings levity to the often grim subject matter. His speeches about his birds as well as requests for connection from the children who once admired him are rapturous and tragic. As these requests are often brushed off or unheard. Another beacon of positivity in an otherwise miserable household is Perchikhin’s daughter Polya (Ninoshka De Leon Gill) who portrayed with a childlike naivete and plucky determination.

Overall Meshahnye is a riveting revelation and sure to strike a chord with anyone who has gone home winter break after spending a semester abroad. Playing at the Theatre for the New City until September 30th this is new interpretation of an all too relevant classic is not one to miss.