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Tag: philadelphia inquirer

“We’ve become relevant again.” Love it, love it.

by on Jun.10, 2012, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Today’ Philadelphia Inquirer.  Thrilled to be a playwright-in-residence and now a board member at Plays & Players…

Tom Stoppard's TRAVESTIES now at Plays & Players.

Philadelphia’s Plays

By Amy S. Rosenberg
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

…At Plays & Players, the old guard has turned the reins over, somewhat reluctantly, to the youngsters: Daniel Student, 30, producing artistic director, and Rachel Dukeman, 28, managing director, both former volunteers who are now on staff. The two have a master plan to save the building, with $2.5 million in renovations and a vision of reinvigorating the private social club and remaking the house company as a professional group for emerging actors and playwrights.

“We’ve become relevant again,” said Student.

CONT’D AT PHILLY.COM>>

 

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Philly Inquirer sez Joe Turner Rocks

by on Jan.26, 2012, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

A hoodoo man and a searcher: Damien Wallace (left) and Kash Goins, who meet at a boardinghouse. (DREW HOOD / Throwing Light Photography)

‘Joe Turner’s Come and Gone’: A tale of searching, tinged with mysticism

By Toby Zinman, for The Inquirer

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone is a big, strong, juicy play, and Plays & Players’ production is just as big, strong, and juicy. Representing the second decade in August Wilson’s “Century Cycle,” Joe Turner takes place a hundred years ago in 1911, a suitable choice for Plays & Players Theater’s 100th anniversary. While the building may be old, the company is new; it’s led by Daniel Student, who is rapidly proving himself a young director of range and vision.

Joe Turner – brother of Pete Turner, a late-19th-century governor of Tennessee – arbitrarily seized black men off the streets and forced them into slave farm labor for periods of seven years. Herald Loomis (the excellent Kash Goins), the mysterious, half-destroyed visionary figure at the center of Joe Turner, has spent three years since being freed walking with his young daughter Zonia (Lauryn Jones), searching for the wife who vanished while he was captive. They arrive at a Pittsburgh boardinghouse – the perfect locale to represent the comings and goings of the Northern Migration – run by the practical Seth Holly (James Tolbert) and his comforting wife, Bertha (Cherie Jazmyn).

 The other residents are a hoodoo man named Bynam (the thrilling Damien Wallace), who can bind people with a song and spell; Jeremy, a hotshot country bumpkin (Jamal Douglas); Mattie, a sweet, often-betrayed woman (Candace Thomas); and Molly, beautiful and dangerous (Mle Chester). There is a boy (Brett Gray) next door, who befriends Zonia, and a traveling peddler (Bob Weick), the “people finder” who is the grandson of slave traders.
Their lives briefly intersect – as they would in a week-to-week boardinghouse – mingling romance and business and desperation and pain and storytelling. The play powerfully suggests significance far beyond the plot: In the vision Herald Loomis sees of bones walking on the water and of people “shaking hands and saying goodbye to each other and walking every whichaway down the road,” Wilson give us the Middle Passage, to slavery, to the diaspora, to freedom.

The play lays down a solid layer of mundane detail – lots of biscuit-eating and coffee-drinking and dishwashing – allowing the extraordinary to stand out, especially the terrific Juba scene: wild, African-derived dancing after Sunday night’s fried-chicken dinner. The interesting set designed by Lance Kniskern is, suitably, half realistic, half suggestive, allowing the mysticism to mingle with the commonplace.

Get your tickets here.

 

 

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Philadelphia City Paper also sez PMI Rocks

by on Nov.13, 2011, under Politics, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Pardon My Invasion

Through Nov. 19, $15-$20, Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia

by Mark Cofta, City Paper

Smart and silly, Joy Cutler’s Pardon My Invasion receives an impeccable première by director Cara Blouin in Plays & Players’ 50-seat studio. Emily Gibson plays Penny, announcing, “There’s a man inside me.” Soon soldier Pvt. Mac takes over, requiring Gibson to play him trapped in a teen girl’s body, accomplished brilliantly. Pulp fiction writer mom Jennifer Summerfield copes not only with Penny’s boyfriend (Julian Cloud) and a curious cop (Theresa Leahy), but imaginary characters from her fiction and CONT’D AT CITYPAPER>>

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Philadelphia Inquirer sez PMI rocks

by on Nov.08, 2011, under Politics, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Review: Pardon My Invasion

by Wendy Rosenfield, Philadelphia Inquirer

So here’s a real surprise: On the third floor of Plays and Players Theatre, there’s a world premiere by an under-the-radar local playwright — Joy Cutler — filled with amateur actors, directed by a relative newcomer. All outward signs indicate a hot mess; instead, it’s a blast.

Cutler’s oddball black comedy, Pardon My Invasion, features an AWOL Iraq war soldier hiding, Exorcist-style, inside the body of Penny, a 13-year-old American girl whose single mother Rita (Jennifer Summerfield) writes pulpy detective novels for a living. And that synopsis only covers the first few scenes.

Last season, director Cara Blouin created Dan Rottenberg Is Thinking About R@ping You, a sharp comedic, feminist response to the Broad Street Review editor’s article blaming CBS News reporter Lara Logan for her own sexual assault. Blouin’s the right woman for this job too, blowing up Cutler’s surreal take on sexual politics into Roy Lichtenstein territory with big, bright cartoons whose primary-colored confidence threatens to either saturate the mere mortals around them or smother them.

The Army, particularly tough-as-nails moustachioed Sarge (Joe O’Brien, who literally somersaults onto the stage and maintains that momentum throughout), teaches men to kill or be killed; Rita’s novels show women, particularly her main moll Honey Babe (an outrageously busty, lusty Angela Smith), as red-dressed, red-lipsticked carnal dynamos.

Meanwhile, Rita and Penny — along with that body snatcher, Pvt. Mack Jack (Emily Gibson, both vulnerable and hilarious in each role) — exist much further down the charisma spectrum, sorting through their own CONT’D AT PHILLY.COM>>

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Yeah, What She Said

by on Jan.04, 2011, under NYC, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Brooklynite Theresa Rebeck

Today I’ll let Theresa Rebeck do my whining for me, via her smart discussion about her new play The Understudy now in previews at the Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia; a play in which she says “she has tried to strike a balance among three needs – to entertain; to tell the truth about our lives; and to let that spiritual thing called drama happen” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

“A lot of what happens in show business is just horrible,” she says, drawing on her experiences in film, TV, and theater, “and with next to no reason for it. Your life is out of your control. Constantly, you’re wondering, ‘Why did they pull the plug on that production? Why did they do that to me? What are people behaving like this for?’

“And after a while I came to see that the capitalist cruelty growing out of the drive for profit was behind it,” she says. “It’s a kind of senseless, dehumanizing, totalitarian force. The New York theater world is very often just as weird as the world of TV and film.”

Couldn’t agree with her more. Looking forward to seeing The UnderstudyFull Inquirer story by John Timpane here.

[image via philly.com]

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