If you hadn’t seen the announcement in last week’s New York Times,the winner of my Award at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is “Mouthpiece” by Kieran Hurley, which was developed at Traverse Theatre, Scotland’s new-writing home.
The two characters, a middle class blocked playwright and a 17 year old working class artist-to-be, are at first close friends— then, Libby is inspired to write using Declan’s life story. What’s an artists responsibility? Was this an act of kindness and admiration, or self-serving exploitation? Although there were many plays audiences were buzzing about, none was as uniformly well reviewed and thoroughly discussed.As soon as plans have been made for its New York run, you’ll read about it here!
Coming back to New York’s Fall line-up, there’s little time to breathe— it’s packed with must-see plays.
First, run and buy tickets to two brilliant productions transferring from London. I can guarantee both are worth the cost— “The Height of the Storm” by Florian Zeller (“The Father” and “The Mother”) stars two monumental actors, Eileen Atkins and Jonathan Pryce. And, “The Inheritance” by Matthew Lopez— a two-part masterpiece of epic proportions explores the AIDS epidemic. Although an update of E. M. Forster’s “Howards End,” you needn’t read it to find the play truly astonishing!
A bit less costly, but no less powerful, is “Novenas for a Lost Hospital” by Cusi Cram, starring the always wondrous Kathleen Chalfant. Act quickly, it’s having a short run at Rattlestick. I saw this when a work in progress, and it mesmerized even then.
I’ve been impatiently waiting to see Mary Louise Parker reprise her role in the Lincoln Center/Williamstown Theatre production of “The Sound Inside” by Adam Rapp, directed by the gifted David Cromer. You may be equally impatient once you’ve read this New York Times’ review!
Another piece coming to NY with stellar reviews is “American Moor” at Red Bull, a company known for presenting classic plays. I’m looking forward to seeing Keith Hamilton Cobb perform his own work about a black actor tackling Shakespearean roles.
A world premiere which sounds intriguing is “Kingfishers Catch Fire” at Irish Rep. Known as the “Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican,” Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty meets his jailed Nazi pursuer after WWII has ended. O’Flaherty was actually responsible for saving thousands of Jewish civilians and Allied servicemen, using the Vatican as his cover.
Although not new, I couldn’t omit the great Anna Deavere Smith’s“Fire in the Mirror”at Signature. Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1992, Ms. Smith’s work continues to be relevant today and, I fear, it will be in another quarter century. Don’t miss this, whether you’ve seen it before, or not.
I’ll close with a pair of plays, both written by women, coming from terrific, new-writing theatre companies:
Please try to see Playwrights Realm’s “Mothers” by Anna Moench, about competitive motherhood and WP Theater’s exquisitely entitled “Our Dear Dead Druglord” by Alexis Scheer, about a gang of teenage girls looking for Pablo Escobar– a comedy, I’m told!
I’m certain I’ve missed many, but if you get to these, you’re off to a good start for a promising season.
See you at the theatre!
Carol Tambor publishes a monthly newsletter, which announces worthy shows coming to New York, along with occasional information about London theatre and, of course, the Edinburgh Fringe.