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Showing posts from June, 2014

The Story of Yu-Huan

The Story of Yu-Huan by Joanna Chan produced by Yangtze Repertory Theatre directed by Joanna Chan

Yu-Huan, Chinese, lived during the Tang dynasty, in the eighth century. She was taken by the Emperor Xuan Zong, to be his wife (she was already his daughter-in-law). During a revolt, and through the machinations of politics, through no action of her own, she was ordered to kill herself.
Yu-Huan’s story has been made into a play by Joanna Chan called, appropriately, The Story of Yu-Huan, recently closed. It’s performed in Mandarin and English.
Your curious critic, always eager to uncover stage oddities, thought that this sounded highly promising. Unfortunately, the bulk of the play is in Mandarin, and for those of us unskilled in that language it’s largely undecipherable. Even the brief synopsis above could only be written with the aid of a press release. This problem obviously puts limitations on a reviewer.
The Story of Yu-Huan, however, managed to provide some satisfaction even without a dis…

Carnival Kids

Carnival Kids
By Lucas Kavner
Produced by Lesser America
Directed by Stephen Brackett
With: Jake Choi
Danielle Eliav
Max Jenkins
Randall Newsome
Laura Ramadei

Carnival Kids is a new play by Lucas Kavner being presented by Lesser America. It concerns a young professional type, Mark (played by Jake Choi), whose father (Randall Newsome), come upon hard times, moves in with him and his housemate, Eckland (Max Jenkins). Dad decides to earn some money by marrying a young Syrian woman who needs a green card, Kalina (Danelle Eliav). It's a secret from Mark who, in the meantime, is is exploring sex with a college friend (Laura Ramadei).

Carnival Kids is well served by Lesser America. Laughter clears the head and heart (Peter Brook, no less, said that it "brain-washes" us). It leaves our emotions open to artfulness. Director Stephen Brackett mines the early part of the play for its comedy. He keeps the dialogue funny and revealing. By the final scene, then, we've been primed, …