Posts

Showing posts from August, 2017

Navigator in Love

Red Lab Productions and Otar Margania have just produced The Georgian-American Theatrical Feast at Teatro Circulo, Off-off-Broadway. The festival presented readings and full productions of plays by playwrights from The Republic of Georgia. One of the plays produced was Navigator in Love, by Lasha Bugadze.
This sad, funny play is about an office worker named Rostom who’s reassigned by his company to monitor its construction sites in the provinces. He’ll be driving for considerable distances, in spite of the fact that he hasn’t driven in 10 years, and in spite of the fact that he’s not qualified for the job. What’s more, he’ll be near “conflict areas” - read “war zones”. “Remember,” he’s told, “it’s like being sent to the front lines.”
Rostom is in the habit visiting a co-worker, Clara, in her office, and his reassignment prompts him to tell her about his attraction to her. “I only like coming to work because of you,” he tells her. Clara, unfortunately, considers their relationship strict…

Lili Marlene

The new musical Lili Marlene owes so much to the old musical Cabaret that its producers should be paying royalties. It’s set in Berlin only two year later than Cabaret. Its songs are sometimes sung on the cabaret stage as part of an act. The singer has a romance with an aristocrat, as in Cabaret the movie. There’s a Christian-Jewish romance, and there's a gay element in the script.
The show is produced by Tamra Pica and Write Act Repertory at St Luke's Theatre. Its book, music and lyrics have been written by Michael Antin. They’re all unremarkable. There’s no important conflict in the plot and the melodies are unmemorable. The lyrics vary in quality, sometimes interesting, sometimes cliched.
There’s a single moment of surprise in this play - and it’s an excellent one - when a song is interrupted. But the territory has been well covered, and Lili Marlene has hardly a single original idea.
The action is set immediately before and after Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor in 1933. Th…

Jessica

Robots are a well-covered subject, and since Karel Čapek wrote R.U.R. in 1920 it’s has been discussed on the stage. And so it’s good to see a playwright address the topic creatively. In Patrick Vermillion’s play Jessica (produced Off-off-Broadway by Sanguine Theater Company with IRT Theater at the IRT Theater), the title character has been missing for four years. Her boyfriend, Allister, hires a Lyfe Industries engineer, Rudy, to create a duplicate of her. Life Industries generally makes sex robots, or “companions”, as Rudy prefers to call them. The new Jessica, less a robot than a sort of clone, is perfectly life-like and animated. She’s charming; she converses in the ordinary way. Rudy turns her on and off. “She has a working brain,” he says.
Allister and Rudy research the real Jessica’s life and input memories into the robot Jessica. The idea is to recreate her personality so that she’ll remember what she was doing the day she disappeared. They’re aided by Mari, Jessica’s life-long …