Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Review: Series C, Ensemble Studio Theatre Marathon of One-Act Plays

For New York Press. A nifty chance to review a play by Michael Feingold.

Here's a longish tease:

"On the rare occasion you spot them in the daytime, theater critics are natural targets. Playwrights, actors and directors hate them especially: not for telling the truth, but for typically having the compassion of a prison guard in an execution chamber. Perhaps that’s why director Peter Brook once wrote that a critic serves the theater best 'when he is hounding out incompetence.'

"But Brook also wrote that critics understand incompetence best when they see it in themselves—by 'putting his hands on the medium and attempting to work it himself.' And that’s the reason, in Series C of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s 30th annual marathon of new one-act plays, all eyes are on Michael Feingold’s 'Japanoir.' As the Village Voice’s chief theater critic for over half my lifetime, Feingold is already known as a crackerjack translator and adaptor of other people’s plays, more so than a creator of original works. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that 'Japanoir' is the only Series C piece with a program disclaimer: 'This play is a Westerner’s fantasy/meditation on Japanese film…not an actual Japanese movie…' "

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