Monday, August 5, 2019

Weekly Margin 2019, W31: Hannah Senesh, Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoots Macbeth, In the Green

7/29/19: Hannah Senesh
What: National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene and the Museum of Jewish Heritage present Lori Wilner and David Schechter's play based on the diaries and poetry of Hannah Senesh, a Jewish Hungarian Zionist and paratrooper during the second world war, whose heroism made her a symbol of hope for the resistance.
And? I think it would benefit from a different director (perhaps one who is not also the playwright), in terms of finding new and unique ways to stage evocative moments. I kept waiting to be surprised. The story is a good one, and Hannah Senesh is a true hero and an inspiration, but too often this performance couched itself in cliches which sapped moments of their full emotional potential.

Lexi Rabadi as Hannah Senesh. Photo by Victor Nechay.

8/03/19: Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoots Macbeth
What: PTP/NYC presents Tom Stoppard's paired one-acts about two separate troupes putting on Shakespeare: the first, a schoolgroup who speaks Dogg (a regrammared English that starts to make sense if you listen with your ears crossed); the second, a troupe of unemployed actors in someone's living room, interrupted repeatedly by a government official making sure they're not being subversive.
And? I read this script years ago and assumed it was too bizarre for me to ever see it produced. Seeing it produced ... it's still bizarre, but it hits a lot of the Stoppard standards: playing with familiar material, intellectual absurdism, political subversion. Mostly good performances, with Christo Grabowski (Fox Major/Hamlet/Banquo/Cahoot) and Christopher Marshall (Macbeth) strong standouts.

Lucy Van Atta, Peter Schmitz, Christo Grabowski, Zach Varricchione, and
Connor Wright as Gertrude, Claudius, Hamlet, Osric, and Laertes. Photo by
Stan Barouh.

8/04/19: In the Green
What: Grace McLean's new musical, presented by Lincoln Center based on the life of Hildegard von Bingen, a medieval philosopher who spent thirty years in seclusion with anchoress Jutta.
And? I think I was ultimately more engaged by the storytelling than the story itself, which waited until the final moment to surprise me. But the physicality of the music, of the vocals, was astonishing and such a cool extension of the characters. Exciting work.

Ashley Perez Flanagan, Hannah Whitney, Grace McLean, and Rachael Duddy.
Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

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