This August, a group of fourteen Teen Reviewers and Critics (TRaC) and their intrepid instructor, Brian McCormick, ventured out into New York City to take in some culture. After exploring two exhibitions/installations on Tuesday, and speaking to representatives from each, everyone wrote reviews. They then reconvened the following Thursday for a discussion and workshop. Their work is published here in the second of a two-part series featuring writing from Summer TRaC!
“The Murder of Crows” at the Park Avenue Armory is the largest sound installation to date by artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. Check out the excerpts and full reviews below….
“Her nightmare is that she is in a factory where the machines are being fed cats and babies. In this sound installation you are completely enveloped in sound, making the dynamics of sound artistic.” - Darliz Ortiz
Read Darliz’s full review.
“Here is the space itself: spectacular in size and eerily vacuum-like in character; dimly lit; sepia toned. Here is the sound: a nightmarish mix..” – Marisa Liu
Read Marisa’s full review.
“It was like a lame haunted house that doesn’t make you scream–just hurts your eyes with strobe lights.” - Maggie Gutmann
Read Maggie’s full review.
“Like a surround-sound system, The Murder of Crows is able to grasp your attention and captivate you inside another dark, but spectacular, world. - Emmeline Mele
Read Emmeline’s full review.
This August, a group of fourteen Teen Reviewers and Critics (TRaC) and their intrepid instructor, Brian McCormick, ventured out into New York City to take in some culture. After exploring two exhibitions/installations on Tuesday, and speaking to representatives from each, everyone wrote reviews. They then reconvened the following Thursday for a discussion and workshop. Their work is published here in the first of a two-part series featuring writing from Summer TRaC!
“Surface Tension: The Future of Water” a traveling exhibition developed by Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin was on display at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center from May 31- August 11. Check out the excerpts and full reviews below….
“With an underwater microphone and an amplifier, artist Katie Paterson gave people world-wide a chance to call nature which, as it turns out, is much grungier-sounding than its distant American cousins: the running faucet and the water fountain.” - Olga Lebedeva
Read Olga’s full review.
“If poverty and politics are at the heart of the water crisis, then this exhibition about the future of water did not have much information about why they are or how to solve those problems.” - Harry Katz
Read Harry’s full review.
“Science-inspired artwork and design is what Surface Tension is all about. This amazing show is an excellent way to educate and reveal fantastic artwork to the public; this is only a small preview of what can be seen there.” - Isabel Ng
Read Isabel’s full review.
“Coverage. Download. Breaking. These are ordinary words that you will find all over the news. But when they are individually and massively spelled out in water, each getting a few seconds to captivate the audience before they vanish as a waterfall and are then replaced by another word, they are something else entirely: art.” - Dawn Rafal
Read Dawn’s full review.
“The exhibit was very hands-on…visitors were able to experience what it would be like if every time you needed water you had to pump it from the ground.” - Analise Rode
Read Analise’s full review.
I have always adored the Arts. I play both piano and classical guitar, and enjoy drawing, painting, writing, singing, and attending performances of all kinds. As a longtime New Jersey resident (although I was born in New York) I first became exposed to the New York City art scene when I was in third grade and was lucky enough to audition for and get a spot in the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus. Nine years later I have performed in 19 productions.
That was how I got started. However, it was not until I learned about High 5/Teen Reviewers and Critics two years ago that I was exposed to the vast panoply of art NYC has to offer. From Broadway, to Off-Broadway, MoMA, to the Whitney Museum of American Art, I have experienced some incredible art I never would have seen or heard without High 5. Participating in the Theater TRaC program taught by Winter Miller was one of the highlights of my junior year as it gave me a chance to improve my writing, see thought-provoking shows, and meet other artistically inclined teenagers.
I am currently editing the High 5 Review as an intern with TRaC Program Director, Eric Ost. I thoroughly enjoy reading all the reviews submitted by TRaC students and the High 5 Review Freelancers Corps— and I hope you will, too! The sheer number and diversity of art-going opportunities offered by High 5 is truly staggering. Be sure to sample some of the events available ASAP and as often as possible!
(Me: pictured above in the MET production of La Boheme in Fall 2011.)
When we look at a painting, our eyes naturally begin viewing the image from the lower left, then sweep upward and to the right. Throughout history great artists (including Leonardo Da Vinci and Jacque Louis David) have taken advantage of this biological quirk by arranging the subjects of their portraits in triangular composition in order to draw the viewer’s eye to the most significant aspects of the painting. Composition is important not only for art, but also for the stage. In the Keen Company’s revival of Painting Churches directed by Carl Forsman at the Harold Clurman Theater, playwright Tina Howe poignantly portrays the psychosomatic tension between grownup children and their aging parents via the triangular juxtaposition of painter Mags Church (Kate Turnbull), and her eccentric and acclaimed parents Fanny Church (Kathleen Chalfant) and Gardner Church (John Cunningham). [click to continue….]
From the opening scene of Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize winning How I Learned to Drive, directed by Kate Whoriskey at the Second Stage Theatre, it becomes clear that Ms. Vogel’s play is not really about driving a car. It is immediately obvious that Lil’bit’s driving lessons with her middle-aged uncle “Peck” will devolve into something much more sinister and inappropriate. This sense of inevitability does not detract from the play’s suspense, however. As Uncle Peck slowly and carefully seeks to seduce Lil’Bit, the tangible tension in the audience slowly builds to climax. In her portrayal of Lil’ Bit, Elizabeth Reaser’s pouty, flirtatious facial expressions often seemed to be a facade. That is not to say that Reaser’s performance seemed unreal, in fact, Reaser’s stock expressions emphasized Lil’ Bit’s inability to express her inner confliction and confusion.
Akin to Lil’ Bit, the audience is also conflicted. Although the inappropriate relationship seems unavoidable, I never stopped hoping for Lil’Bit’s sake that nothing serious would actually happen between her and Uncle Peck. The brilliance of this performance was that Uncle Peck was not vilified; instead I could not help but empathize with Uncle Peck and wish him a happy ending. This empathy for Uncle Peck could not have been achieved were it not for Norbert Leo Butz’ tremendous performance in the role. Mr. Butz pulled off a precarious and paradoxical balance of vulnerability and disturbing power. [click to continue….]
Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee for President of the United States recently told a CNN interviewer: “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.” Playwright Katori Hall presents a resounding rebuttal of the presumed efficacy of this great American “safety net” in her production Hurt Village, directed by Patricia McGregor at the Pershing Square Signature Center. Even for those audience members who, like Governor Romney, do not concern themselves with the very poor, it is impossible to avoid being sucked in to the rotting tenements, garbage strewn streets, and fiery rap battles of Hurt Village.
Reminiscent of Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark play A Raisin in the Sun, Ms. Hall’s Hurt Village follows a very poor and often dysfunctional African American family lead by the steely (and weary) matriarch Big Mama (Tonya Pinkins) as they prepare to move away from the crumbling Memphis Hurt Village projects. The palpable sense of entrapment sets in when Big Mama learns she has made $387 too much to qualify for the low income housing in a nearby Tennessee suburb. [click to continue….]
Top: Tim Cook and Steve Jobs; photo credit to James Martin/CNET. Bottom: Mike Daisey at the Public Theater; photo credit to Mike Daisey.
[Editors' Note: This letter to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, is one of several written by participants in the Fall 2011 Theater Teen Reviewers and Critics program after attending a performance of THE AGONY AND ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS at the Public Theater. At the end of Mike's Daisey's solo performance, fliers are distributed with information about the labor practices he discusses in the show, along with Tim Cook's email address and a call to action. Mr. Daisey suggested emailing Mr. Cook with concerns. He politely asks that you do not send SPAM. We obliged, and decided to publish them as open letters as well.]
Dear Mr. Cook,
I recently saw THE AGONY AND ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS by Mike Daisey at the Public Theater, and I was appalled by what I heard about the working conditions of employees at Foxconn who probably made my iPhone. I’m sure you are aware of Mike Daisey’s show and his horrific stories of child labor and crippled workers. As a devoted Apple customer, I was deeply disturbed by what I heard. But I am also hopeful, because I know that you can change the lives of the Foxconn workers for the better. [click to continue….]
Gary Wilmes and Jennifer Lim in "Chinglish." Photo Credit: Sarah Krulwich.
David Henry Hwang’s new Broadway play Chinglish at the Longacre Theater, directed by Leigh Silverman, follows the bumbling escapades of American Businessman (and former Enron executive) David Cavanaugh (Gary Wilmes) as he tries to win a deal for his sign-making company in China. The story begins as Mr. Cavanaugh listens to advice from his “consultant” Peter Timms (Stephen Pucci) about how to succeed in corporate China. Mr. Timms explains that the Chinese admire big gamblers, regardless of whether or not they win or lose. This is a fitting opening to the play; which, as a bi-lingual Broadway show, is a big gamble itself. The super-titles projected onto the set in translation of the Chinese offered many laugh-out-loud moments as only the audience could understand the comic miscommunication occurring onstage. The biggest laughs of the night were achieved through the super-title translation; and yet the necessity of constantly reading the super-titles distracted from the facial expression and nuance of the actors. [click to continue….]