“Three Days of Rain” is one of those trick plays in which (A) the members of the cast play two parts apiece, themselves and their parents, and (B) the action runs backward in time. In the second act, set in 1960, we meet Ned and Theo (Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper), a pair of budding young starchitects about to build their first house, and Lina (Julia Roberts), the Woman They Both Love. In the first act, set in 1995, we watch their grown children quarreling over who gets the now-famous Janeway House. This being a Richard Greenberg play, they all spend the evening foaming at the mouth with glib one-liners that aren’t half as clever as the author thinks (“My mother would be with us too, of course, but she’s, um, like, well, she’s sort of like Zelda Fitzgerald’s less stable sister”), while we spend it trying to guess which one of them will turn out to be gay.
Mr. Greenberg’s plays bore me silly, but they sure are popular: “Three Days of Rain” is the second of three to be produced in New York this season. This one puts Ms. Roberts on stage for the better part of two and a half hours, which is asking too much of someone who’s never done any live theater, much less a Broadway show. She’s not bad in the first act, in which she plays a haggard Boston matron with two kids and a dull husband, but as for the second…well, you can still see the smoke wafting upward from the crash site….
Seventy-one years ago this February, the Group Theatre, a preternaturally earnest ensemble of Stanislavsky-worshipping leftists, set up shop at the Belasco Theatre, where they presented a new play by an up-and-comer named Clifford Odets. On Monday “Awake and Sing!” returned to the Belasco in its first Broadway revival since 1984, just in time for the Odets centenary, in a flawed but sumptuously well-acted production whose defects do not conceal the play’s enduring excellence….
The Roundabout Theatre Company has just opened a production of “The Threepenny Opera” aimed at theatergoers who’d rather be seeing “Cabaret.” Alan Cumming, who played the emcee in the Roundabout’s much-admired 1998 revival of “Cabaret,” is back again, this time as Mack the Knife, the toughest thug in Soho, who has been magically transformed into a bisexual punk whose “girlfriends” include a drag queen (Brian Charles Rooney). Most of his colleagues are dressed in leather, and the d
Archives for April 21, 2006
“Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face. As soon as one is aware of being ‘somebody,’ to be watched and listened to with extra interest, input ceases, and the performer goes blind and deaf in his overanimation. One can either see or be seen.”
John Updike, Self-Consciousness