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Archive for July 2012

american river, a new play

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I had a good surprise at Theatre for the New City tonight. Still upset that I missed Buddy Guy on Wednesday, I trekked downstairs for American River, a production of the lesser america company .I usually don’t like going to a basement unless there’s a pool table or an air raid, but the set designed by Daniel Zimmerman transformed the usually grim TNC cellar into a grim-less small town, simple and real.  The audience was filled with pretty women in their 30’s, perhaps friends of the writer, Micheline Auger, who has already built up a lot of steam with various theatre companies, starting with her first play Poop- A True Story. Ah titles.  American River is about a couple of meth addicts and the incredible difficulties they face in breaking patterns. The writing is fast and funny, but always with a sense of trouble ahead of more trouble. Ms. Auger seems to really understand the addiction dance and the dialogue is authentic. The middle section becomes a bit more surreal, with a wise-ass gay pizza guy, Brendan Spieth, doing send ups that are fun, though a bit wearing. By the third section, and the entrance of the dealer, we are all just relieved to know the baby hasn’t been thrown out with the bath water.  The actors are all terrific, Laura Ramadei, as Liz, is a force, challenging her boyfriend, talented Robbie Collier Sublett, at every turn. They are fun to watch, though I don’t know who decided that she should wear only underpants through a great deal of the play. Her body is great, but it’s a distraction and wasn’t necessarily to establish her lifestyle. John Patrick Doherty as the cool dealer dude is at once both frightening and charming. Solid directing by Stephen Brackett – he seems like a good pairing with Ms. Auger. Hope to see more of them all.

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Written by nancykoan

July 13, 2012 at 4:58 am

Eozen Agopian

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ImageArmenian descended Eozen Agopian spends most a great deal of time in her native Greece but has been gracing the New York art scene with a successful group show at the Lesley Haller gallery. Eozen works with paint and thread and cut canvas, creating a world of color and line that draws the eye into the spectacular material.

Agopian lived and went to art school in NYC, first training in graphic arts where she developed her high sense of precision. Later she got her masters at Pratt and supported herself in Astoria for many years before returning back to Athens with her husband, the famous guitar and bouzouki maker, Karolos Tsakirian.

 

Agopian lived and went to art school in NYC, first training in graphic arts where she developed her high sense of precision. Later she got her masters at Pratt and supported herself in Astoria for many years before returning back to Athens with her husband, the famous guitar and bouzouki maker, Karolos Tsakirian.

She was accepted  by the prestigious Triangle Arts for the autumn in NY whose mission is to support mid-career international and national visual artists, encouraging dialogue and experimentation through workshops, residencies and exhibition opportunities.

Written by nancykoan

July 10, 2012 at 6:21 am

Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret

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Imagine sitting through 3 hours without an intermission.. if this had been the opera, one might begrudgingly understand …but a movie without Elizabeth Taylor? Remarkably, this oftimes operatic like film by uber talented Kenneth Lonergan moves swiftly like the city it takes place in..New York.

A teenaged Anna Paquin witnesses and is somewhat responsible for something that becomes the trigger for the rest of the story…and everything else supports her in this tale of growth, confusion, and search for connection.  All of the acting is top rate, J. Smith Cameron, Mark Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Allison Janney, Mathew Broderick and Elaine May’s now skinny kid, Jeannie Berlin (remember her from Heartbreak Kid)?

Paquin as Lisa Cohen is an intelligent piece of molten lava who manipulates those around her while desperately trying to find her internal balance. She is lit in many ways, offering her up as seductress in one scene, and pimply raging monster another. The many faces of burgeoning womanhood.

Longergan writes beautifully for his female characters… 38 points for that as well as seeming to understand the New York Jewish defnese mechanism …especially when Jean Reno, playing a Columbian software guy, makes a comment about it…innocently revealing the bias that lies hidden in us all.

In this longer version, the director writer inserts rambling street conversations,giving the viewer the sense of NY as a fishbowl, with everyone talking at the same time. It’s effective, as well as the slow moving crowd scenes, reminding how time rarely stands  still in a city on the move.

I was an easy teen, but I imagine many parents, especially in divorced situations, can identify the family struggles.

Lonergan succeeds in bringing many issues to the fore in this film ==the idiocy of ‘justice’ through monetary rewards; the pull of sex; and the struggle to find peace with each other and with the world. All issues deserving of an opera which he also provides by way of Renee Fleming and Tales of Hoffman.