Posts

Showing posts from January, 2017

Made in China

Made in China opens with 56-year-old Mary Harrison sitting naked on her sofa with her dog Lily. Mary sings:
This is me
Talking to my dog
Sitting in a fog
Eating macaroni
But in my head, I’m far away.
We soon meet Mary’s neighbor, a Chinese ex-pat named Eddie Wang (we will learn that the name is pronounced Wong) and his dog Yo Yo. Eddie sings:
I really like this place
I’m glad that I have come here
Neighbors say “Hello”
Treat me like I’m from here
Except for the woman next door
Who strangely is hiding and sneaking
But always those blue eyes are peeking
Why is she always watching me?
She’s a crazy person watching me – yet she’s
A woman watching me.
Such is the set-up for the musical, promising, as musicals do, romance. But there are many exceptional things about this musical – not least that Mary and Eddie are puppets. The whole show is whimsical and fantastic. It’s written by Gwendolyn Warnock and Kirjan Waage with help from the Made in China Ensemble, and presented by Wakka Wakka, a co-…

Fringe of Humanity

Paul Calderon packs so many obscenities into his play Fringe of Humanity that they nearly form a barrier between the audience and the characters. The scatology can’t be defended by claims to verisimilitude or naturalism; it’s just vulgar writing. Mr. Calderon doesn’t seem to be able to write a line without obscenity.
And this is a shame since Fringe of Humanity, presented by Primitive Grace and Access Theater at The Access Theatre off-off-Broadway, is otherwise a nice production. It concerns an L.A. film crew making a movie in a Latin American country. They’re in pre-production, still casting, about to scout for locations. The characters argue and jockey for alpha position, working through greed and vanity and jealousy. “You wanna make movies, you gotta deal with assholes,” says the producer, and the foul-mouthed characters confirm the postulate.
The immediate business for these movie-makers is to audition a couple of young actresses in the hotel room. But the audition doesn’t take up a…

Holden

When Mark Chapman murdered John Lennon in 1980, he was carrying a copy of The Catcher in the Rye. When John Hinckley shot President Reagan a year later, he had a copy of that book in his hotel room.
Playwright Anisa George has taken this strange confluence and used it as the basis for her play Holden, presented by George & Co. and The New Ohio Theatre. Her play takes place in J.D. Salinger’s writing retreat. Salinger himself is there, of course. We also find Chapman and Hinckley living there, acting as a sort of pair of muses.
Into this secluded haven arrives a fourth, Zev. It isn’t clear if he’s murdered anyone. It isn’t even clear if he’s read Catcher. He himself doesn’t know what he’s doing there. What is clear is that he has a murderous temperament. When Chapman and Hinckley explain the situation to him, he responds with a list of people that he’d like to kill: Bob Dylan; Bill Gates; Arnold Schwarzenegger; Alex Trebek. He’d like to break the record of 69 killed in the 2011 shoot…