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Ask yourself a question and be honest. Why do you go to the theater? You can be entertained in a crowd at the movies. You can see live music and dancing at a club. You can get first rate dramas with name actors on your phone during your morning commute, if that’s what turns you on. On Broadway, you might shell out two hundred dollars to see a “name” actor in the flesh, but why spend twenty on a bunch of anonymous Millennials in a home grown production? You may visit one of New York City’s many “classical” theaters to see productions of historically important plays — if you’re a historian — but does anyone, anyone outside of the theater that is, think that plays are educational or politically influential?
“The world breaks everyone … those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”
Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
Two guitarists take a seat on the stage, and a woman in flamenco dress steps into the spotlight, her heels tapping a Spanish tattoo like a brace of castanets. A dandy in a ruffled tuxedo shirt and another in a tweed suit are drawn into the light with her, and each takes turns playing the bull to her matador. She is the ánima of España, and these are her most famous artists, Federico García Lorca and Salvador Dalí.
Though Halloween is gone, the terror lingers on. Brew of the Dead II: Oktoberflesh is a feature length homage to “horror” (notice the scare quotes) that will literally make your skin crawl.
Welcome to the machine.
Cut by Crystal Skillman is a theatrical piece about TV, a play about the seriousness of the entertainment industry, a post-modern meditation on Post-modernism. If that sounds like a lot to chew on, it is. Cut is a theatrical essay on the socially constructed nature of “reality,” the brass ring to which all serious artists aspire. And Ms. Skillman has fostered a reputation as a downtown playwright who isn’t afraid to take on The Big Questions. Take, for instance, her play The Vigil or the Guided Cradle, a play about the universality and timelessness of torture in the human experience. The “cut” of the play’s title is its guiding metaphor. A “cut” is what an editor does to film to create a story; what your boss does to your job to save his own skin; and – the cruelest cut of all – what the critic does to put you in your place.