Tuesday, November 24, 2009


This weekend I saw two amazing shows at New Leaf Theatre. The first was the overwhelmingly excellent The Man Who Was Thursday. Bilal Dardai, Jessica Hutchinson, and the whole creative crew have here created, from a slick and delirious novel that jumps in time and space across Europe's secret underground rooms and open fields, an eminently theatrical force of nature. It's the kind of play so deliciously entertaining, I neither knew nor wondered what the "point" of it was until the final electrifying moments when it hit me like a truck. And then, I was so invigorated by its perfect relevance and execution, I could not sigh or roll my eyes at an obvious moral or a sudden swerve, but I gasped for air and sighed finally with wonder and delight. This is a night out at the theater.

It was funny, fun, fast and moving; it created a universe of its own while eschewing the currently requisite tedium of arguing with itself about its own rules. Also, truly, the design was amazing. This is the thing about adaptation: the piece lives necessarily in two times. As the text did, so did the costumes and - perfectly - the sound design. The ensemble exuded a kind of fearless fun in sharing the story with us: I was completely impressed with this show. Fantastic.

THEN. I came back the next day to attend one of the New Leaf's Treehouse reading series, this one Leocadia by Jean Anouilh, directed by my friend Jack Tamburri and featuring a great ensemble including members of The Plagiarists, New Leaf, and Strawdog. This play is amazing, I had never heard of it but it is hilarious and strange and brilliant. Every character is presented with utmost sympathy and yet blatantly mocked with his/her every word and gesture. Tamburri and the cast did a fantastic job balancing the comic and the tragic, the absurd and the true, and I can't wait for a full production of this play.

A great weekend.

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