Tag Archives: tolerance

THEATER REVIEW: “Raft of the Medusa” at Cherry Lane Theater

Revised from its previous version (reviewed in 2001 by the New York Times as a production-in-progress, and even then the reviewer mentions it’s already a decade old) Raft of the Medusa hasn’t quite caught sight of land. Titled after the French Romantic painting of the same name, the play tells the story of a group of AIDs-positive folks who meet for group therapy every week.

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The start of America’s Tahrir square? Photos from #occupywallstreet

I went downtown today and spoke to some of the people who are in the process of trying to occupy wall street, as part of the #ourwallstreet protest.

The actual protest is not taking place on Wall Street – Wall Street has been barricaded off, and some of  the video I uploaded to YouTube earlier today shows NYPD officers talking to individuals. (I saw a number of NYPD and there did not appear to be conflict between the police and the demonstrators, interactions seemed peaceful.).

The dislocation between physical and mental space is is somehow appropriate, since the actual centers of power being protested – lobbyists, corporations – are probably not located on Wall Street, ether. I don’t think this dislocation invalidates the symbolism of the location that has been picked.

Here are some photos I took. Videos will be added to my YouTube channel.

THEATER REVIEW: “Insidious” at Road Less Traveled Productions, Buffalo, New York

Xavier Harris as the titular Insidious

Sex can be deadly. Anyone who came of age during or after the AIDs crisis knows the line, “Every time you sleep with someone, you’re sleeping with every person they ever slept with.” And yet, people persist in making unwise and unsafe decisions when it comes to having sex – and, as shown in Insidious, currently being reprised at Road Less Traveled Productions in Buffalo, New York, unwise decisions can result in unintended, undesirable consequences.

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THEATER REVIEW: “Teeth of the Sons” at the Cherry Lane Theater

Teeth of the Sons by Joseph Sousa, at the Cherry Lane Theater, examines family and faith from the perspective of two brothers, each vying to be the one regarded as successful by the rest of their family – and in one’s case, his God.

Jacob, played by Sousa, is the younger of two Jewish brothers. Jacob looks after the family house, studying Torah and being pursued by all the families at temple with girls of a marriagble age. His older brother is the family fuck-up, or so we are shown throughout the character’s familial interactions. It turns out that Sam, who has a habit of disappearing on his family for extended periods of time, has re-connected with the boys’ estranged father and his side of the family – who are Greek Orthadox. Meanwhile, Sam’s fallen for – and knocked up – a Polish girl, and now they want Jacob to let them stay for a while.
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THEATER REVIEW: “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” Aunt Dan, and Searching for Humanity through Theater

During recent visits to the theater, two plays have raised questions about how our society confronts and copes with our basic animal instincts, and the complicity of individuals in destructive acts performed by their societies. They’ve also presented complex existential arguments about the limits of communication and the need to be satisfied by what is, rather than by what one wishes could be. The two plays? Rajiv Joseph’s current Broadway production of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Robin Williams’ Broadway debut) and a production of Wallace Shawn’s Aunt Dan & Lemon from Buffalo, New York theater company Torn Space.
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Celebrity Meltdowns – On Opposite Day

Celebrity Meltdowns – On Opposite Day.

Recently, Pakistani actress Veena Malik was taken to task by a conservative cleric in her country for her perceived “shameful” representation of herself and of Pakistan on the Indian version of “Big Brother,” “Big Boss.”

Please consider reading my thoughts, linked above at the show blog, on Ms. Malik and her incredible stand for women around the world, and donating to “Celebrity: The Meltdown Monologues” at Kickstarter if you find the commentary engaging, interesting, or insightful.

THEATER REVIEW: The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller at the ArcLight Theater

"The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller"

Daniel Morgan Shelley as Designing Man, as the audience enters.

First, a brief, contextualizing history lesson. Feel free to skip ahead, but I highly recommend you take a moment to read the Wikipedia entry on Michael Rockefeller, the son of the American billionaire. Even without knowing the history you’ll enjoy this production, but an appreciation of Rockefeller’s story will increase your appreciation of the show.

Cool, creepy, and kind of like one of those stories of Roanoake, or Amelia Earheart, right?

At the opening of THE MAN WHO ATE MICHAEL ROCKEFELLER (written by Jeff Cohen and based on the short story by Christopher Stokes), the audience has been entering as a lone man appears to sleep – though it’s hard to see the motion of his chest that would imply he was breathing. In an opening scene that plays with language and quickly sets up a device by which the audience understands when the characters on stage are speaking the Asmat language and when they speak English, Designing Man and his friend (with whom he shares an oath of brotherhood), Half Moon Terror (David King), greet Michael Rockefeller (Aaron Strand), who has come from the kingdom of New York to meet the man who carved the beautiful pieces that have captured his imagination.

One of the themes that spoke to me in Cohen’s play was the way that even though Rockefeller expressed negative feelings in regards to globalization (“Much more ominous is the economic and spiritual future of the Asmat. The Asmat like every other corner of the world is being sucked into a world economy and a world culture which insists on economic plenty in the western sense as a primary ideal.”), his desire to bring Designing Man’s work to a wider audience was the thing that brought enough wealth to the village to make a commodity of Designing Man’s talent. There are some gaps in the tale, but in my mind it was Half Moon who was responsible for the events that damn Rockefeller (that’s not a spoiler, the title gives it away), and as for Designing Man’s child…

The way Cohen juxtaposes and contrasts the vocabularies of his characters (actually, potentially Stokes – I’d need to read the short story to be sure) shows a deft understanding of the limitations of speaking in ones own native language. It reminds me of a novel I read as part of an English (as in, in England) class on Postmodern Literature which has designated itself as “THE CAY but from Timothy’s POV” in my mind. Actually, not positive the guy’s name was Timothy. The reason the book was part of the syllabus was because it introduced the idea of speaking in the language of one’s oppressors. There was something in the novel about one or the other of the two of them not having a tongue – physically being unable to make the sounds that would allow them to communicate, I think – or maybe that was just a topic of discussion one day? At any rate, the idea of speaking in the language of one’s oppressors is what stuck with me, and I think Cohen has artfully illustrated an attention to and respect for language in this play – one that the talented cast and director carry into the production.

(Incidentally, linguistics is a passing side interest – the kind of thing I’d like to read more about, or gain a better appreciation for it, because it seems like the structures and etymologies of words, and the connotations that attach themselves to words because of those structures/etymologies), often wind up playing a role in the narrative connections contained in my own writing…)

Definitely recommended; there are plenty of other things I could say about this show but hey, that’s what discussions in the comments are for.