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February 9, 2007

TT: We are all hypocrites now

Courtesy of Our Girl, who is tending the blog in my absence, here’s the weekly Wall Street Journal drama-column teaser. I review two new plays in this morning’s paper, Alan Ball’s All That I Will Ever Be and Yasmina Reza’s A Spanish Play. Neither one, alas, did much for me:

Broadway is for big-budget musicals, celebrity revivals and the annual snob-friendly British import. If you want to see new American plays, you pretty much have to go Off Broadway nowadays. Even an author of such demonstrable commercial appeal as Alan Ball, the creator of “Six Feet Under” and the author of the screenplay for “American Beauty,” opened “All That I Will Ever Be,” his first stage play in a dozen years, not on Broadway but way downtown at the New York Theatre Workshop. Not that it deserves an uptown run, though I won’t be surprised if it gets one. Like all of Mr. Ball’s work, “All That I Will Ever Be” is glib, pretentious and very well made, a sure-fire recipe for success….

I’ve never much cared for Yasmina Reza’s brand of what I think of as boulevard surrealism, and “A Spanish Play,” her latest effort, strikes me as an especially wan specimen of that clever-clever genre. It’s a pretentious play about a pretentious play, meaning that the real-life actors play made-up actors who are acting in a play-within-a-play whose progress they periodically interrupt to give imaginary interviews about the art of acting. Or something like that: I was so bored that I lost track, especially when it turned out that one of the characters in the play-within-the-play (Linda Emond) is an actor who is rehearsing a play-within-the-play-within-the-play. Did I mention that “A Spanish Play” is two hours long, with no intermission? I checked my watch five times, wondering at one point whether I might possibly have died over dinner and awakened in hell….

No link. Go buy a paper, or go here to subscribe to the Online Journal, which will give you access to my column and the rest of the Journal’s Friday-morning arts package.

Posted February 9, 2007 12:00 PM

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