Archive for the 'My Life at the Theater'

My Life in the Theater: AN ILIAD

We saw this last week at the Performance Network Theater in Ann Arbor. The play sold out for its entire run and it was easy to see why. John Manfredi is amazing in a one-man show that tells the story of THE ILIAD, but also makes a case for the history of war-which coincides with the history of mankind.

AN ILIAD was written by Lisa Peterson and David O'Hare, based on the work of Homer, of course. It won a 2012 Obie award.

If it comes your way, you won't regret seeing it.

My Life in the Theater: A Walk in the Woods

I saw this play by Lee Blessing twenty years ago at least when it was far more timely than it is now.  It concerns two men, one from the US and one from the USSR negotiating SALT talks in Geneva. Because it focuses solely on that subject rather than on the men or anything else, it seems pretty dated now. It was a decent production at the Quoridian Theater in Bethesda, Maryland. Its original production was in 1986 when this subject was highly relevant.


NEXT TO NORMAL won the Pulitzer Award for Drama in 2010 despite not being nominated. It is a spectacular musical, unlike any other. It deals with the affect of mental illness on a family-and the difficulty of treating it despite all the pharmaceuticals we have to treat it with. Amazing performances, great set, great play. Loved it.

We saw it at the Meadowbrook Theater in Rochester, Michigan. Yes, local theater is great. Say what you want about Detroit, we do have local theater and plenty of it.

My Life in the Theater: GEM OF THE OCEAN

August Wilson wrote GEM OF THE OCEAN a year or two before he died. It is part of his cycle of plays about the lives of African-Americans throughout the 20th century and actually is the first in the cycle despite being written near the end of Wilson's life. It is set 1904 in Pittsburgh and concerns a woman who is a healer and the man who comes to her for healing. The Cyngnet Theater in Old Town (the oldest section of San Diego) put on a very fine production and any faults lay in the somewhat didactic text. My favorites are PIANO LESSON and FENCES. But it is nice to see another piece of the 12-play cycle.

My Life in the Theater: Clybourne Park

We saw this at the San Diego Repertory Theater last week. It was an outstanding production of a thoughtful, funny, sad, truthful play about racism. Hard to think of a better play in the last five years and the acting by the company here was sublime. Local theater can be such an enriching experience.