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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

 

Fabulousity: Wigs, Watches, and Lilies

Three great plays in one week...when does that happen? In all my born days (and there have been plenty), I may never have had a week quite like this one.

The trifecta completed on Monday night at the reading of Lilies by Deconstructive Theatre Project, which I pimped in this space last week (and it was great to see so many ModFabbers in attendance!). The play is rougher and simpler than the movie adaptation, and it lacks some of the cinematic punch that dazzles onscreen. But this reading (photos here), thankfully, benefited from some marvelous actors, including a perfectly-cast Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Spelling Bee) as Vallier, Arnie Burton (The 39 Steps) as his mother, Vince Romoldi (Camp) as the duplicitous Bilodeau, and most marvelously, Colman Domingo as the elegant French balloonwoman, Lydie-Anne de Rozier. The beautiful confines of Middle Collegiate Church, replete with its male quartet of singers, gave the reading a grandeur that few of their ilk have (and in a town that has dozens of readings each and ever night, that's saying something). I can't wait to see what this young company does next. A full production, hopefully?

A reading, of course, can't compare to a fully-staged play...especially one as exquisitely directed as Black Watch, the startling work from the National Theatre of Scotland, now enjoying a two-month return engagement at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn. It's subject is the Iraq War in general, but the specifics are unexpected -- the 266-year old Black Watch regiment, who joined the war effort as part of Great Britain's military force. The play has much to say, but its truly breathtaking quality is in the way it says it: its use of space, its wild imagination, its genre deconstruction, its superb acting ensemble. There are very few absolutely essential artistic experiences in our lives. Black Watch is one of them.

And as crazy brilliant as Black Watch is...it isn't even the best play in New York right now. That would be Wig Out!, Tarell Alvin McCraney's modern masterwork that just extended its again for a second time, to November 16th. Here's a teaser video...after which you should immediately grab one of the good seats that just opened up.


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