Posted inTheater Review

No country for old men

Harold Pinter’s 1974 play No Man’s Land occupies the territory between his earlier “comedies of menace,” such as The Birthday Party and The Caretaker, and the more overtly political work he’d create in the 1980s (Mountain Language, One for the Road). But it’s primarily a comedy of language, at least in Steppenwolf’s current intriguing staging […]

Posted inTheater Review

The broken double helix of pain

Donnetta Lavinia Grays’s play is about the limits of love—both in what it can accomplish, even when it feels infinite, and in what it can tolerate before it disappears. Monique (the protean Ayanna Bria Bakari) shows up at her sister’s house with her 11-year-old daughter in tow and an undisclosed agenda. (Daughter Sam is played […]

Posted inTheater Review

The lies of others

I’m just going to get the obvious adjective out of the way right now: Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night, now in its local premiere at Steppenwolf under Austin Pendleton’s direction, is definitely Stoppardian.  As in much of Tom Stoppard’s work, the story spans decades—1920-2010, to be precise. And also as in Stoppard, an object (in […]

Posted inTheater Review

Mosque4Mosque upends stereotypes

Mosque4Mosque is not a monolithic representation of the Arab American Muslim experience, and perhaps that’s exactly the point.  Written by Omer Abbas Salem and directed by Sophiyaa Nayar, this charming production challenges all preconceived notions of a play about an Arab American Muslim family.  In this sitcom-esque dramedy, Ibrahim (played by Salem) and his family […]

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First Lady fantasia

Right before the pandemic shutdown in 2020, TimeLine Theatre presented James Ijames’s sorrowful and powerful Kill Move Paradise, in which a group of Black men murdered by the police gather in a purgatorial afterlife, where a fax machine spits out an ever-growing list of more Black people killed by the state. At the same time […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The business of circus

Balancing Acts: Unleashing the Power of Creativity in Your Life and Work (HarperCollins Leadership, January 2022, $28.99) by Daniel Lamarre is a book for those who need creative inspiration. Part business memoir and part self-help/motivational, the appeal of this book will land squarely on the aspiring businessman who needs an icon. It not only celebrates […]

Posted inTheater Review

Art and appropriation

Of the two plays exploring race that Steppenwolf has on stage right now—King James and WHITE—the latter definitely stands out for being not only funnier, but more complex and satisfying in its critique of race, privilege, and power. Written by James Ijames and directed by Ericka Ratcliff, Definition Theatre’s production is a delightfully silly yet […]