Fiction

“Sunset Baby” Looks Back In Anger

by Brian Slattery | Feb 20, 2018 7:46 am

Brian Slattery PhotoDamon is a drug dealer and a robber, but a scholar too. He reads academic treatises in his spare time, it turns out. It’s enough to surprise former revolutionary Kenyatta Shakur. First they trade street talk. Then they trade ideas. Shakur has been out of the fight for decades. “We need soldiers like you out here now,” Damon says.

Then they start talking about Nina. Kenyatta’s estranged daughter. Damon’s girlfriend. Nina has letters that Kenyatta and her mother Ashanti wrote to each other while Kenyatta was in prison, letters that a lot of academics want to get their hands on now that Ashanti has passed. Letters that Kenyatta wants even more than they do. Problem is, he needs to somehow reconnect with Nina to get them, and there’s a lot of hurt in the past to get through first.

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Sondheim’s Passion Returns, Passionately

by Lary Bloom | Feb 7, 2018 7:50 am

Damn that Stephen Sondheim, always timely.

Last year, when Yale Rep plucked the composer’s Assassins from mothballs, audiences couldn’t help but feel a contemporary edge to the 1990 musical, considering the political hostility of the moment and that show features figures remembered in infamy. Indeed, during a talk by Sondheim at the theater shortly before opening, an audience member remarked that the timing of the musical’s re-staging seemed eerie.  It was a touchy moment, but Sondheim handled it well, taking a deep breath, before defusing the topic. 

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Yale Rep Stages “Field Guide” To 2018

by Jason Fitzgerald | Feb 5, 2018 12:22 pm

Joan Marcus PhotosIn the opening scene of Field Guide  —  at the Yale Repertory Theatre now until Feb. 17 —  a young woman delivers a series of awkward jokes in a standup routine that is more of a meta routine. Among the “jokes” is the announcement that she owns no property and is about to lose both her health insurance and her income stream.

In light of this revelation, her mock standup, and much of the performance that follows it, resembles an exercise in playful cynicism. Hannah speaks for a generation that has become adult in an America uninterested in protecting its former children, for whom an adaptive strategy is to hurl droll comedy into the void.

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Yale School Of Drama Gets “Passion”-ate

by Donald Brown | Jan 31, 2018 7:41 am

Passion, the musical by Stephen Sondheim with book by James Lapine, has the distinction of having had the shortest Broadway run of any Tony-winning musical. It’s been seen as Sondheim’s most personal piece, and, in the view of third-year director Rory Pelsue, who is directing a production as his thesis show at Yale School of Drama, the work is “utterly unique.” It evokes the Gothic and the Romantic, both with capital letters, and “can make you feel alive in a cynical, dissolute time.”

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“Office Hour” Stares Down The Barrel Of School Shootings

by Jason Fitzgerald | Jan 30, 2018 12:18 pm

T. Charles Erickson PhotoOffice Hour opens with a short scene that primes the audience to anticipate a terrifying event — a shooting at a university — and then delays that event as long as possible. In playwright Julia Cho’s astute hands, though, that delay becomes the point: It is the trauma we bring to the play, not the fear it invents, that she is asking us to examine.

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LWT Chief Sees Opportunity Amid Crisis

by Paul Bass | Jan 25, 2018 7:53 am | Comments (1)

Paul Bass PhotoThe scene: At a regional theater, a sexual misconduct scandal has just exploded. The artistic director, handsy and foul-mouthed, has exited the stage for good, and the steady, behind-the-scenes manager finds himself trying to hold up his life’s passion from the fallout. As the curtain rises, all the stage’s lights shine on one man, emerging from the wings, stepping, deliberately, toward the expectant audience.

Long Wharf Theatre produces a lot of social-issues dramas like that on its stages. On Wednesday the drama was playing out in real life on Sargent Drive, as Joshua Borenstein stepped into the spotlight. It was time to draw on all he’d been learning.

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