Tag Archives: Jim Gibbons
Thinking Cap Theatre’s opening performance of Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men might have been among the best nights of theater in South Florida so far this season. I say “might have been” because I can’t be sure. The evening was crippled by drunken thoughtless, self-centered, rude patrons who learned their audience etiquette from watching Jerry Springer reruns in their underwear at home.
Critics and award judges have been talking about it for weeks: The sheer amount of high quality work has made evaluating the last 12 months unusually challenging, but also an opportunity to remember one of the most rewarding calendar years in recent memory. So here’s a supremely subjective stab by all three critics here at Florida Theater On Stage at recognizing the shows and performances that stood out from a pack of productions.
A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay about the Death of Walt Disney is not easy theater, by any means, but not one that Thinking Cap would ever shy away from. Their tagline is “theatre exploding with thought” and if any play fits the mission, this one does
In Evening Star’s Murdered To Death, this comic murder mystery satire becomes so supremely silly with slapstick, overheated melodrama and an endless supply of verbal blunders that the actors have little recourse but to succumb to the infectious laughter from the audience.
Sometimes the daring efforts of Outré Theatre Company work beautifully such as Back of the Throat, An Illiad and Thrill Me, sometimes not so well such as Bed and Sofa, and Othello. Often, it’s both as with the current world premiere of The Violet Hour, A Modern Medea.
Thinking Cap Theatre sets The Importance of Being Earnest in a madcap lampoon of New York City’s disco era. The urbane and farcical elements are irreconcilably at war, but each facet – one of the funniest literate scripts ever written and a zany hoot of a production – is so strong on its own merits that the result is a mostly satisfying gigglefest worth the investment.
Evening Star and Infinite Abyss co-produce Tracy Letts’ surreal depiction of spiraling paranoia complete with copious amount of blood in an edition that slogs too slowly too long but ratchets up into an emotional and psychological fireball of horror.
More so than the play’s sudden violence or its firecracker bursts of profanity, it’s The Gin Game’s references to nursing homes as God’s waiting rooms that stick with you in Evening Star’s production.
The temptation is to describe the nightmarish Back of the Throat as Kafkaesque as Outré Theatre Company depicts an America gone mad. But it’s not. That’s the real horror. The extremities unfolding before the audience are a logical if artistically exaggerated extrapolation of the paranoia and xenophobia unleashed against Arab-Americans after 9/11. It’s naturalism not surrealism.