Bowled Over: American Fiesta’s Steve Tomlinson
This week in the Village Voice’s theater section, Michael Feingold gets locked up in The Brig. It’s not exactly hard time: “Kenneth H. Brown’s The Brig is a play of consequence, both aesthetically and politically.” He also enjoys Peter Morgan’s Frost/Nixon, although he notes that Without the stature [Frank] Langella brings, Frost/Nixon wouldn’t be much, despite Michael Grandage’s skillful staging and fine work in smaller roles by the likes of Stephen Kunken, Corey Johnson, Armand Schultz, and Stephen Rowe.”
Feingold also purrs a fond farewell to Broadway grande dame Kitty Carlisle Hart: “in a world where even garden-variety good manners have almost vanished, Kitty Carlisle Hart practiced a democratic version of noblesse oblige: She knew very well that she was one of the elite, but for her this meant practicing straightforward give-and-take rather than demanding deference. She was wholly considerate of you, and expected you to be so of her.”
Feingold also finds the Pearl’s production of S.N. Behrman’s Biography sufficiently lapidary: “this solid but slightly too earnest revival directed by J. R. Sullivan, only wants an extra squirt of fizz in the playing to make both its satiric acid and its clear-eyed compassion look-—to use a period expression-—as fresh as paint.”
I went to The Sea, but found Edward Bond’s lone comedy a supremely choppy experience. I also collected a performance of American Fiesta, a not-quite-a-play in which the genial writer-performer Steve Tomlinson compares Fiestaware to “repressed emotions, lost childhoods, familial tensions, love, terror, imperfection, acceptance, the divide between red and blue states,” well everything.
Meanwhile, Garret Eisler finds Anthony Neilson’s day-in-the-life play Realism, a none too fantastical drama.