Confounding Witch Leaves Much to Be Desired

At some point recently, the theater, at least in Los Angeles, has changed from a medium of thematic exploration and development to one of undisguised political posturing and heavy-handed morality.  The latest victim of this sophomoric writing style is Witch, written by Jen Silverman and playing now at the Geffen Playhouse. 

Photo by Jeff Lorch
Continue reading “Confounding Witch Leaves Much to Be Desired”

Formula Fuels A Funny Thing

By Patrick Hurley

A funny thing happens when derivative contrivance fuels a play’s engine; namely, compulsory catharsis drawn from formulaic content, wherein a distrait attempt to entwine pathos with dark humor simply can’t rise above its own prosaicisms because of the Rom-Com insistence of containing the whole thing as a neatly packaged, sugary-sweet trifle. Continue reading “Formula Fuels A Funny Thing”

Long Day is Worth the Journey

By Patrick Hurley

In today’s fast paced theatrical world, where ninety-minute plays are all the rage, there is something immensely pleasurable in the investment of the three-and-a-half hour slow burn that is Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Eugene O’Neill’s loquacious masterpiece, playing now at the Geffen Playhouse. Continue reading “Long Day is Worth the Journey”

Barbecue Cooks up Some High Comedy

By Patrick Hurley

Robert O’Hara’s new play Barbecue, playing now at the Geffen Playhouse, want us to understand that things aren’t always what they seem. Not everything is black and white. Playing with dramatic irony, nimble dialogue and exaggerated stereotypes, this production is swift, surprising and often hilarious. Continue reading “Barbecue Cooks up Some High Comedy”

Small Stakes for Big Sky

By Patrick Hurley

Returning to our primal nature, where instinct trumps human drama, takes on extreme white privilege in Big Sky, written by Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros, playing now at the Geffen Playhouse. Continue reading “Small Stakes for Big Sky”

American Privilege Invades Barcelona

By Patrick Hurley

White American privilege, a topic of much discussion as of late, completely propels the narrative of Barcelona, a new play by Bess Wohl, making its West Coast Premiere at the Geffen Playhouse. The story takes place four years after the Madrid train bombings, which were a terrorist retaliation against American aggression in Iraq, a tragedy that severely heightened anti-American sentiments throughout Spain.   Continue reading “American Privilege Invades Barcelona”

Pain is a pure Pleasure

By Patrick Hurley

Will Eno’s 2005 Pulitzer-Prize finalist play Thom Pain (Based on Nothing), playing now through Feb 14 at the Geffen Playhouse,  features a wonderfully dry Rainn Wilson as it’s title character. Continue reading “Pain is a pure Pleasure”

Outside Mullingar is a Predictable but Sweet Love Story

By Patrick Hurley

The course of true love definitely does not run smooth in John Patrick Shanley’s new play Outside Mullingar, playing now at the Geffen Playhouse.  Yet with all the bumps along the way, it never really surprises either.  Continue reading “Outside Mullingar is a Predictable but Sweet Love Story”

Extreme Guards Makes for Great Theater

By Patrick Hurley
Average men having to do unimaginable things strikes a violent and elegiac chord in The Geffen Playhouse production of Guards at the Taj, playing now through November 15. The play, written by Rajiv Joseph is a two-handed exploration of truth, beauty, and friendship at its most heightened extreme. Continue reading “Extreme Guards Makes for Great Theater”

Bullets is Paper Thin, But It’s Also Entertaining.

By Patrick Hurley
The idea of updating, modernizing, and reimagining Shakespeare’s plays is nothing new. And for the Yale Repertory Theatre Production of These Paper Bullets, Presented at the Geffen Playhouse in association with Atlantic Theater Company, with its self-proclaimed “modish”ness, is an updated, kind of modernized, somewhat reimagined Much Ado About Nothing, and the whole thing is a frothy, watered-down, clunky affair. Continue reading “Bullets is Paper Thin, But It’s Also Entertaining.”

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