Dueling Reviews

Here in Philly, in the past three months, two separate companies have produced Kenneth Lonergan's Bright Lights Big City-era drama This Is Our Youth. What I found most interesting about the productions was the difference in directorial perspective on the character Dennis Ziegler. Where the first director saw him as a threat (Revolution), the second saw him as a plain old loser (Simpatico), and I suspect the difference may lie in the fact that the first director is a man and the second a woman. 

Maybe a young male director has more at stake in Dennis'  self-mythologizing. If Dennis is completely full of crap and bluster, well then, what does that say about a director who identifies with him? Apply this question to Lonergan's constant reminders that the guy you are in 20 years will be a pale reflection of the guy you are today, and you've just provided the bellows that will fan Dennis' bonfire of the vanities into an inferno. A woman can see right through Dennis' bluff without any ill personal effects. However, I'm sure it's no coincidence that in the second production, the female character, Jessica, is far more sympathetic than in the first. 

Here's today's review from the Philadelphia Inquirer coupled with my review of the earlier show. 

October 13, 2008 9:30 AM | | Comments (2)

2 Comments

Thanks Jim.

Philly is absolutely a serious theatre town and it's high time the regional Tonys also recognized that fact.

"Maybe a young male director has more at stake in Dennis' self-mythologizing."

Very insightful, and much appreciated. I wish the Inky gave you the space to write comparative reviews like this. Not only do I like this type of commentary far more than the "consumer guide" reporting, but it treats Philadelphia as a serious theatre town worthy of analysis and artistic criticism.

Leave a comment

AJ Ads


AJ Blogs

AJBlogCentral | rss

culture
About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Dewey21C
Richard Kessler on arts education
diacritical
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Flyover
Art from the American Outback
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

dance
Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

jazz
Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
ListenGood
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Rifftides
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

media
Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
On the Record
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Overflow
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
PianoMorphosis
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
PostClassic
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Sandow
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds

publishing
book/daddy
Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

theatre
Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world

visual
Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
Artopia
John Perreault's art diary
CultureGrrl
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Modern Art Notes
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.