Posts tagged American Conservatory Theater
The Lizards Doom 'Seascape'

Edward Albee’s Seascape begins as a minor but searching marriage play to become—in all its high concept glory—a play about an older, married couple’s encounter with a pair of human-sized talking lizards, also married, and in the midst of some crucial life decisions. Is this a good idea? That’s probably not the right question, but it is one that might lead us to another, perhaps more apt one: can Albee make this work?

Well, it all depends on your definition of make this work. But, if you crave in your theater anything approaching sense, art, emotion, intelligence, comedy, tragedy, or a few good jokes, well then, Albee’s lizards end it right there. And it’s not because it’s a bad idea, though it is, but because he doesn’t care. The most hackneyed science fiction writer would have understood scores of implications that Albee doesn’t bother with or only haphazardly addresses.

The most moving aspect of Seascape is that Albee would recover to write The Goat.

‘Seascape’ runs through February 17 at the Geary Theater in San Francisco. For tickets and information click here. For Full Review click here.

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'Men on Boats' Is An Illusion Of Imagination

Men in Boats is as an incredible failure of imagination even as it touts the imagination as a theatrical force in representing the past. The actual story of John Wesley Powell’s 1869 trip down the Colorado River is stirring and complex, a wild adventure worthy of investigation, critique, celebration, whatever your game. Yet you can’t get to any of that without a real vision or philosophy of history. And a real vision would never reduce the complex Powell and his crew to stick figure goofballs, which is what happens here.

What we get from Men on Boats is an illusion of real engagement and experimentation. It’s selling radical critique, revisionist history, feminist ideals, and theatrical invention, but it’s all packaging without soul or sense or care, just idle gestures to make us feel that something has happened. And nothing has and that’s a shame. A free audience should revolt and demand more.

‘Men on Boats’ runs through December 16 at the Geary Theater in San Francisco. For tickets and information click here. For the Full Review click here.

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'Sweat' Has Too Much Research And Not Enough Feeling

Explanation is the prime aesthetic concern of Lynn Nottage’s 2017 Pulitzer-prize winning Sweat. The playwright tells us, rather than trusting that we can intuit and feel our way through the material. Everything feels controlled, deliberate, and perfunctory. We know that Nottage has done a great deal of research, gone to Reading and talked to a lot of people—the program and countless articles tell us so with a kind of awe and reverence. But I would say to what end.

There’s no real philosophy here, there’s no real ideas, there isn’t even anger. People in the play get angry, but the play itself is curiously distant. Everything is meticulously explained, rather than alive with human imagination, and some of the lines, especially the speeches, seem culled from interviews rather than how people actually talk to lifelong friends.

‘Sweat’ runs through Oct 21 at the Geary Theater in San Francisco. For tickets and information click here. For the full review click here.

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