“Magic/Bird,” Eric Simonson’s new play at the Longacre Theatre about the eponymous basketball players, does a terrific job at capturing the rivalry and friendship between the two stars. The charm of the basketball stars is depicted perfectly by the actors; Magic (Kevin Daniels) is smiling and easygoing while Bird (Tug Coker) shows his characteristic calculating introversion. The atmosphere is generally lighthearted, but we see sincere emotion. The other actors, Peter Scolari, Dierdre O’Connell, Francois Battiste, and Robert Manning, Jr. all play about five characters each. They shift from role to role, giving each part very energetic performances.
The play brings in hype at the very start, opening like a basketball game, with the names of each actor announced as they run onto stage. The stage resembles a miniature basketball court, with benches and wardrobes on the side. [click to continue….]
Batsheva Dance Company performed “Hora” at BAM with absolute impeccable coordination and choreography. The simply set stage transformed into the background of an incredible machine, with the dancers forming the gears. However, the machine must have been designed by a mad engineer; the gears hardly seemed to fit, one could practically see springs and rivets jumping off, and the whole thing jerked and creaked along. Yet in the end, the machine ran beautifully, every part doing its own little dance that made everything fit together.
Eleven dancers, dressed simply in cotton shorts and tank tops, stayed on stage for an hour, either dancing or sitting along a long wooden bench in the back. The whole arena was a green box that dimmed or brightened in accordance to the choreography. Dancers shifted their bodies in jerky movements around each other, occasionally interacting. However wildly set the dancers, we could see the vision of the creater Ohad Naharin. The dance, at parts, was almost surgical; every movement was deliberate and carefully arranged. Occasionally motifs would emerge; the dancers would form a wave pattern as they held out their arms, bent at a precise angle. [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,
This letter an expression of outrage and concern after watching THE AGONY AND ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS by Mike Daisey. Although the Apple company’s trade practices and manufacturing partners are widely known, Mike Daisey shows us both the innovation and ingenuity of Apple, Steve Jobs and the horrible conditions and practices used to produce the shiny glass and aluminum products that we love. This isn’t an accusation that you are purposely commissioning sweatshops and abusing foreign workers, but the system used to produce electronics and other products for the first world is unsustainable. Ultimately, this is class warfare. [click to continue….]
Playwright Jordan Harrison on set for "Maple and Vine." Photo Credit: Sara Krulwich.
Maple and Vine, a play by Jordan Harrison, tells a complex story as it compares and contrasts life in 1955 and the present. We are offered an intriguing premise of a society and organization that endlessly perpetuates a lifestyle from 1955. The play manages to show us the suburban culture from this era but fails to deliver a unifying message or to demonstrate an overall theme. The overall narrative ends in two directions at the end. [click to continue….]
Stephen Pucci and Jennifer Lim in "Chinglish." Photo Credit: Sara Krulwich.
David Henry Hwang’s new play Chinglish deals with communication and loyalty in today’s world, two large aspects of doing business. Thus, the hapless Midwestern businessman Daniel Cavanaugh (Gary Wilmes) opens the play with an explanation of chinglish, which describes the loss in translation of words between Chinese and English. He is trying to revitalize his failing signage company by finding a new market in a smaller Chinese city; he is convincing Minister Cai Guoliang and Vice Minister Xi Yan, Larry Lei Zhang and Jennifer Lim respectively, to contract him. To this end, he hires Peter Timms, an english teacher/business associate played by Stephen Pucci, to both translate and coach him. Here we learn the important concept of guanxi which describes the interpersonal relationships, social debts and capitol, and human networks in China. Guanxi forms the basis for business in China and remains an important theme throughout the play. [click to continue….]