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  • Article

    Small Packages

    By June 28, the end of its third season, City Theatre's Summer Shorts festival will have put on 48 new plays on its main stage, about three times the number of productions from your average professional company. In fact, as you read this, fifteen pre...

    by Robin Dougherty on June 11, 1998
  • Article

    Dirty Hands

    There's nothing like a loud bang at the end of Act One to make you impatient for the end of the intermission so you can scurry back to your seat and find out what happens next. Especially if that bang shreds every notion you had about the play up to ...

    by Robin Dougherty on June 4, 1998
  • Article

    No Merit Badges

    Of all the theatrical hams that have wandered across the stage of American pop culture, none have endeared themselves as much as the tiny papier-mache morsel that wanders home atop the legs of Scout Finch near the end of To Kill a Mockingbird. She h...

    by Robin Dougherty on May 28, 1998
  • Article

    All That Chazz

    Roughly the size of a double-wide trailer, the performance space at the Hollywood Boulevard Theatre is so small you can stare into the eyes of the actors, size up their varicose veins, and follow the trajectories of their spit with dumbfounding intim...

    by Robin Dougherty on May 21, 1998
  • Article

    Hold the Pickles, Hold the Poison

    Of the potentially kooky types of people that could be dumped into a play -- lawyers, clairvoyants, fast-food servers, and dying parents -- the most unwieldy are the clairvoyants. Even if an audience buys the notion of second sight, the playwright is...

    by Robin Dougherty on May 14, 1998
  • Article

    Notice of Eviction

    If you sat through three hours of the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning, mega-publicity-hyped musical that promised to change the face of Broadway forever only to wonder, "Is that all there is?" -- read on. If you heard about the ballyhoo last w...

    by Robin Dougherty on May 7, 1998
  • Article

    Rocky Road

    Antisemitropolis is the city Hitler never built. Blame that on playwright Dan Kagan, who imagines it as the name the Nazis gave their section of Heaven -- "a place with only people like them," explains Jerry, a character in Kagan's spirited black com...

    by Robin Dougherty on April 30, 1998
  • Article

    Ship of Fools

    Icebergs figure prominently in Titanic, Christopher Durang's absurdly wild 1974 deconstruction of family life, but then so do hamsters, marmalade, and tortured slices of Wonder Bread. There's no Leonardo DiCaprio, but there is a captain. He's the one...

    by Robin Dougherty on April 23, 1998
  • Article

    Cruz Control

    Crack open a playwright whose career has just gotten under way and you'll more than likely find a dreamer wrestling with the ghost of Anton Chekhov. American theater festivals are littered with reworkings of The Three Sisters, the Chekhov classic in ...

    by Robin Dougherty on April 16, 1998
  • Article

    Muddy Waters

    Moments after the legendary showboat Cotton Blossom pulls up to its Natchez, Mississippi, berth, skipper-cum-thespian Cap'n Andy, declares, "You've never seen a show like this before." Chances are, though, you've seen many shows like this before. Ind...

    by Robin Dougherty on April 9, 1998
  • Article

    It Takes Two to Tangle

    When Seinfeld fans joke ad nauseum that the popular TV show is "about nothing," they mean that the sitcom doesn't have a traditional story hook. There's no overarching premise along the lines of, say, "Widowed dad raises three kids with help from Jap...

    by Robin Dougherty on March 26, 1998
  • Article

    He Wrote, She Wrote

    Valentine's Day is long gone, but the utterly charming revival of the 1963 musical She Loves Me at the Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables proves that romance is lasting. Certainly the story of feuding shop clerks who unwittingly fall for each other as...

    by Savannah Whaley on March 19, 1998
  • Article

    A Pigment of the Imagination

    "A man walks into a bar." Stand-up comics have launched into routines with that line so often that it's no surprise comedian-turned-movie actor Steve Martin chose the same setup to fuel the many laughs in his first effort as a playwright. In the case...

    by Savannah Whaley on March 12, 1998
  • Article

    Up on the Roof

    Nothing brings theater to life like a little death. Let a doctor say someone has only a few months to live and you've got drama. In recent years some of the best productions have posted alarming mortality rates. Gay characters in particular have stru...

    by Savannah Whaley on February 26, 1998
  • Article

    The Divine Miss R

    Having to wait for one month out of the year to buy candy hearts with cute sayings printed on them is no big deal. After all, those hard little wafers have lost much of their appeal now that they're more likely to break my aging molars than to attrac...

    by Savannah Whaley on February 19, 1998
  • Article

    A Puzzling Affair

    In an example of last-minute housecleaning before the February ratings sweeps began, ABC network executives pulled the plug on the cop drama Cracker. While I liked the few episodes I saw about the raffish psychologist who solves homicides, I'm glad i...

    by Savannah Whaley on February 12, 1998
  • Article

    Brotherly Hate

    Touted as a comedy-thriller, Corpse! is more accurately a thriller-comedy in which the suspenseful plotting of the first act gives way to farce in the second. Picture a film adaptation of an Agatha Christie mystery starring Benny Hill and you'll have...

    by Savannah Whaley on February 5, 1998
  • Article

    The Devil Made Him Do It

    The Othello Project, on-stage at the Florida Shakespeare Theatre in Coral Gables, takes its Deep South setting and part of its title from the Mississippi Project, in which more than 800 college students went down to promote black voter registration i...

    by Savannah Whaley on January 29, 1998
  • Article

    Stifling Joyce's Voice

    James Joyce's work is an acquired taste. Whereas the Irishman's short-story collection Dubliners (1914) is an easy read, his later novels have been banned from my beach bag because of his experiments in style. Not willing to thread my way through the...

    by Savannah Whaley on January 22, 1998
  • Article

    Give 'Em What They Want

    The recent referendum creating Miami-Dade County is just the latest sign the area is suffering from an identity crisis worse than Sally Fields's in Sybil. While the county government proffers the moniker as an all-purpose consumer label, many residen...

    by Savannah Whaley on January 15, 1998
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