| /

‘November, 2009’

“The Age of Iron” puts lechery and war in a sandbox

“The Age of Iron” puts lechery and war in a sandbox

Directors in modern times have enjoyed playing with Shakespeare, often modernizing his plays, putting actors in scenes and clothes that are not of the period described. But Brian Kulick, artistic director of the Classic Stage Company and the adapter/director of this play, entwines Shakespeare’s “Troilus and Cressida,” set in Troy during the Trojan War, with “The Iron Age” by Thomas Heywood, a contemporary. Shakespeare’s is the more personal play, but much of the macho jousting seems inspired by Heywood’s war story. The amalgam is a worthy effort, though I think I’d rather have seen Shakespeare’s play. This one often lacked his poetry.

“Nightingale” is Lynn Redgrave’s less-than-completely-truthful memoir of women’s lives

“Nightingale” is Lynn Redgrave’s less-than-completely-truthful memoir of women’s lives

“Nightingale” is Lynn Redgrave’s less-than-completely-truthful memoir of the women of her family, their men and their unhappiness about marital sex. Redgrave as an actress of course does a fine professional job. And the dialogue is smart. But for a tell-all memoir, mostly about sex, it manages to eke the most lively sections out of the one part of the story that is totally made up.

“My Wonderful Day” is Ayckbourn’s witty satire of marital life

“My Wonderful Day” is Ayckbourn’s witty satire of marital life

Alan Ayckbourn’s mordantly funny satire of middle class marital life – a staple of his genius through 70 plays — is significantly enhanced by the presence, almost as a fly on the wall, of 9-year-old Winnie (Ayesha Antoine). Winnie’s school assignment for the next day is to write about “My Wonderful Day,” and she methodically records the marital spats and infidelities she observes, generally with a blank expression and fidgeting as any kid might. Ayckbourn is a master of subtle slapstick, the one liner, the bizarre situation. His dark wit is displayed here with perfect comic timing.

Film: Challenging 500 Years of Globalisation

Film: Challenging 500 Years of Globalisation

Inter Press Service (IPS), Nov 14, 2009 – To end poverty, you have to know how it began – with globalisation. No, not the 20th century variety engendered by multinationals and their friends at the IMF, World Bank and WTO. They just codified practices that kept developing countries poor.

French filmmaker Philippe Diaz, in an illuminating documentary opening in New York Friday, traces globalisation back 500 years to the Spanish and Portuguese conquests of the Americas. Diaz shows how the colonial North used the South’s resources to build its industrial base and how its continued control over resources, global trade and debt rules prevents developing countries from ending poverty.

My Stasi Files: getting banned by East German secret police in the 80s

My Stasi Files: getting banned by East German secret police in the 80s

Nov 8, 2009 – The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall has called forth a plethora of memories and celebrations. Here are mine.

I visited West Germany in 1983 as it held massive demonstrations against the U.S. plan to station medium range missiles on German territory. The peace movement – objecting to the Ronald Reagan hard line against the East — had another view of how to bring down communism from within. The German government “Ostpolitik” – East politics – though denounced by the Reagan politicians, was ultimately successful.

“The Royal Family” is a sometimes charming, sometimes comic bouquet to life on the stage

“The Royal Family” is a sometimes charming, sometimes comic bouquet to life on the stage

If there’s a “king” and “queen” in this production of “The Royal Family,” the George S. Kaufman-Edna Ferber 1927 parody of the Barrymore acting dynasty, they are Jan Maxwell and Reg Rogers, who steal the show with their theatricality.

The device of the play is that Julie Cavendish (Maxwell) and her daughter Gwen (Kelli Barrett) are torn between their love of the stage and their desire to have married lives. Julie’s mother Fanny, (Rosemary Harris), the grande dame of the family revels in having had both.

“A Steady Rain” is a gripping thriller about a violent cop who self destructs.

“A Steady Rain” is a gripping thriller about a violent cop who self destructs.

“A Steady Rain” by Keith Huff, a television script writer, is a thriller about two beat cops, partners, friends from childhood, that would seem to belong on TV. On the other hand, some of the events they describe are so bloody, that I’d rather see them described in the two interlocking monologues that make up the play rather than watch them in full color.

The stories are gripping. On the other hand, like most TV, you forget them pretty quickly.