July 4, 2022

When Life Gives You Risk, Make Risk Theatre: Three Tragedies and Six Essays

In When Life Gives You Risk Make Risk Theatre, Edwin Wong proposes a new paradigm for tragedy.

Wong claims that the engine driving tragedy shouldn’t be viewed as Aristotle’s fatal flaw in a great man, or Hegel’s conflict between two ethical goods, or even Nietzsche’s struggle between the Apollonian and Dionysian. It should be seen […]

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June 29, 2020

The Other Richard III

With The Other Richard III, John Birney crafts an ambitious and creative retelling of Shakespeare’s Richard III.

Whereas Shakespeare’s Richard is an archetype of corruption—a manipulative tyrant who becomes king through a series of murders— Birney takes an entirely different tack. Noting that Shakespeare’s character is “impossible to reconcile with historical fact,” he presents Richard […]

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May 25, 2020

Explicit Healing

Troy Chavez’s Explicit Healing is a collection of dense prose poems that, near the fulcrum of the book, gives way to a highly compressed, six-act screenplay called The Kings [sic] Court.

Chavez’s poetry is generally energetic and rhythmical, perhaps intended to be performed as spoken-word, almost like hip-hop, as in “The Rambling Lover: “Spread to […]

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May 25, 2020

Streetcar Sandwiches

Curtis Orloff’s screenplay, Streetcar Sandwiches, centers on hiring practices required of a mom-and-pop sandwich shop in New Orleans, and one owner’s quest to end the wide-reaching governmental oversight that threatens her business.

Anonymous bureaucrats have imposed extreme requirements in an effort to foster a more diverse, inclusive work environment within the city limits. Streetcar Sandwiches […]

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June 3, 2019

Lincoln and Booth

With Lincoln and Booth, William Vincent offers a free verse, closet drama or “reading play” in the tradition of Stephen Vincent Benét’s John Brown’s Body. Lincoln and Booth, like the latter, addresses the Civil War and covers much the same timeline, beginning before Lincoln’s election and extending just beyond John Wilkes Booth’s death. In this […]

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October 8, 2018

My Mother’s Front Porch: And Other Plays

Mature women characters take center stage in Mimi Gisolfi D’Aponte’s six-play anthology, My Mother’s Front Porch: And Other Plays.

Four siblings deal with the cognitive impairment and failing health of their 87-year-old mother in the title play. Among the other offerings, a 60-ish woman is confused by modern technology (“Staying Connected”); 67-year-olds who […]

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April 23, 2018

On Tour With the Seven Deadly Sins: Six Morality Plays for the Modern Age

Author Mike Hood’s thumbnail bio mentions his Ph.D. in English and 31 years of teaching literature/medieval literature and “the history of ideas.” This background is undeniably reflected in his On Tour with the Seven Deadly Sins, a collection of plays reflecting a sardonic look at the human condition.

Addressing teachings from Aristotle to Carl Jung, […]

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June 6, 2016

Eli’s Children: Bright College Years

This nostalgic novel, seemingly based on the author’s undergraduate years at Yale—thinly disguised as “Laurelton”—is  observant and elegantly written. Many of Gerard G. Nahum’s fellow alumni will likely recognize his detailed reflections on the intellectual challenges, social hurdles and growing pains his character faces in leafy New Haven, here called “South Winford.”

Nahum’s book […]

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January 14, 2016

Memories of No Consequence

Memories of No Consequence by Bhaskar Dasgupta is half musical play and half poetry, with one short personal essay between the two sections.

The book begins with the play Umrao Mary Jaan, based on the 1899 Urdu novel by Mohammad Hadi Mirza. The tragic melodrama concerns Mary Jane, a Victorian lady, and Umrao Jaan, a […]

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