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By Samuel McCarthy
Sitting inside the furnace-like Brick theatre in Brooklyn’s uber-hip Williamsburg neighborhood, you’re watching a Victorian child, an 80s airhead, a tough 50s chick and a 2013 social outcast battling for the fate of a galaxy (“not the universe,” we are reminded) against an evil space queen named for a Super Mario character. Suffice it to say, Final Defenders is no humdrum production. Performed as part of The Brick’s Game Play festival – showcasing a series of plays based on video game culture – Patrick Storck’s satire/slapstick/sly-winking comedy provides as much nostalgia as hilarity, although it has both in abundance.
Ars Gratia Artis
The band plays an overture, and the lights rise on New York of the not-too-distant future. Mary, an MFA grad student studying painting is at a Catholic mass — to get inspiration, she tells her lover Françoise (for non-francophones that’s the female version of François), who is also an MFA student in sculpture. Kate, Mary’s sister and an aspiring art dealer, arrives to ask Mary for her signature on some documents related to their dead parents’ estate. Mary has been using her inheritance to fund her studies, which bothers both Kate and Mary’s conscience. But no matter, Mary hears a higher calling, and she feels she has no other choice: create art or die.
How many comedies about torture there are in the naked city! Maybe not all of them are comedies, but it seems like our Empire City response to 24 and the Bush years has been laughter – hysterical, terrified laughter, of the mad scientist variety.
Kyle Ancowitz’s production of Matthew Freeman’s play That Old Soft Shoe at the Brick Theater in Williamsburg is a hilariously irreverent, frenetic, and absurd send up of 24 and its genre of fear mongering drama that will keep you laughing all the way to a highly classified black site in Jordan – or more probably, Florida.