The Class Menagerie

The People Speak! Thirty-Four NYC Theater Types Pick Their Favorite Shows of the 2000–2001 Off-Broadway Season.

Karen FinleyMud in Your Eye
John Fleck's show was very poignant and intimate in terms of his personal life. And as he was also one of the members of the NEA Four, I found it very moving. It was so satisfying. It made me feel alive.

Sarah East JohnsonCircus Oz
They blew me away with their humor, subversiveness, creative variations on traditional circus acts, and stupendous performers. They did a Chinese pole act with a race-car driver theme and a "hair hang" where the performer was hanging by her hair, and hanging from her was a television with a video of her on it.

Martha ClarkeMnemonic
It seemed fresh, unpredictable, very well performed, and it made me think. The company was excellent—an exceptionally physically well-trained group of performers. It's too bad a piece like this probably couldn't be created in this country because of the funding situation.

Mia KatigbakMnemonic
A theater experience about science through art, or art through science, and ultimately about the interconnectedness of history, spirit, archaeology, politics, and emotion. An experience in which the intellect and the senses are engaged, and in a very muscular way.

Mac WellmanUttar-Priyadarshi
This dance-theater performance was an extraordinary piece of work, extremely elegant, wonderfully performed, and very moving. I am always delighted to encounter kinds of theater that really, really take me to a place at some imaginative remove from the here and now of These States, so often a grotesque, overtheatrical parody of itself.

Lee BreuerTip-Top Tappers
What do you do when you're a white woman in your seventies from Sugarland, Texas, and you don't want to lose it? When you were Miss Universe around mid century, or you've had a hip replacement, or you used to sing for Jimmy Dorsey? You join the Tip-Top Tappers, choreograph some sexy geriatric routines, and do a one-night stand at St. Bart's. The Tip-Top Tappers as theater are the realest of all realism. Life against death.

Jim SimpsonPeking Acrobats
Even though the theatrical equivalent of Muzak, Cirque de Soleil, has crept a bit into their mise-en-scène, this troupe still delivers the most hallucinatory, surrealistic, beautiful display of virtuosity and derring-do. When I see their work I feel like I am in heaven.

David GreenspanKit Marlowe
It was very intelligent and well written. The characters who were the most corrupt had in some ways the best speeches, but the play showed that the more enlightened character was ultimately the most interesting. I appreciated that.

Basil Twist10
Kevin Augustine's almost solo puppet show, about a puppeteer-artist-creator, was very simply and elegantly done. I loved the presence of the puppeteers in it.

Rinne GroffReferences to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot.
The acting was fantastic, especially the domestic drama—it was riveting. The interplay of the spiritual world and the nitty-gritty reality was effortless. It was both magical and simple.

Maria StriarSpargel Time
Written and conceived by Sibyl Kempson, this piece was one of the strangest, most surprising things I've ever seen. It had this early Brecht feel of a cruddy town in Bavaria where unspeakable things happen. At one point 12 people—mostly men—came out in tutus and did a magical dance. It was weirdly moving.

Moisés Kaufman And God Created Great Whales.
It was terrific. It is rare to find a piece that so unites form and subject matter. A piece that dares to tackle the big questions. It was really stunning.

Hazelle Goodman Lackawanna Blues
I loved so much about it: its simplicity, its honesty, and Ruben Santiago-Hudson's brilliant performance. It reminded me of a Zora Neale Hurston story, the rural setting and the real, gritty country life it so warmly depicted. It tells our story—our black American story.

Eric DyerThe Sea and Poison
Goat Island performs ecstatically. Maybe explode? Maybe dissolve? Images seared into memory: Matthew Goulish is still standing in the dark, lovingly nurturing the seedbed on his head.


Related article:

The full roster of Obie winners, for this year and the past.

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