I had to go straight from a meeting of the New York Drama Critics’ Circle to an off-Broadway show, so I didn’t have a chance to post the winners of our annual awards, on which we voted this afternoon. To find out who won what, go here.
Archives for April 30, 2010
Some anonymous scoundrel for whom hell isn’t nearly hot enough hacked ArtsJournal on Monday night, thereby bringing down the whole site and all of its associated blogs, this one included. Our Girl, CAAF, and I haven’t able to post anything since Tuesday morning, and though the malicious malware that shut us down is long gone, the lights didn’t go back on for many readers until just a few minutes ago.
Doug McLennan, who runs ArtsJournal, explains what happened–and why Google has wrongly kept you from reading this blog for the past couple of days–in this posting.
As of this hour, all of our accumulated postings are now published and we’re back in business again. Profuse apologies if you’ve been trying in vain to pay us a visit. Believe me, we’re glad to be back!
In today’s Wall Street Journal drama column, I cover the opening of the Broadway revival of August Wilson’s Fences, a great American play in which Viola Davis is giving the performance of a lifetime. I also have a few things to say about Enron. Here’s an excerpt.
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Denzel Washington is by far the biggest name associated with the first Broadway revival of August Wilson’s “Fences,” but my guess is that it’s Viola Davis whose performance is going to stick with you. Not that Mr Washington is anything less than solid, but Ms. Davis is something else again. I knew she was a remarkable artist–anyone who saw her in the Off-Broadway premiere of Lynn Nottage’s “Intimate Apparel” or the film version of John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt” knows that–but what she’s doing this time around goes straight into my scrapbook of stage performances from which you learn how brutally true to life great acting can be….
It was Wilson’s special achievement to forge the everyday speech of working-class blacks into a language poetic enough to encompass tragedy. Time and again in “Fences” the actors utter sentences so pointed that they make you want to laugh out loud with delight: “I told him if he wasn’t the marrying kind, then move out the way so the marrying kind could find me.” “The only thing I knew was the time had come for me to leave my daddy’s house. And right there the world suddenly got big.”
Ms. Davis speaks her share of these sentences with relish, but she also makes us see their meaning. When Mr. Washington confesses that he has betrayed her, she appears to shrink before your eyes. “You telling your wife this?” she cries. “I have to wait 18 years to hear something like this?” Then her arms flail at random, as if she were a puppet whose strings had been clipped by despair….
Can good topical theater be spun out of nine-year-old news? Maybe, but you won’t prove it by Lucy Prebble’s “Enron,” a ripped-from-the-headlines black comedy about the rise and fall of the corporation whose 2001 collapse sent shivers through the world of finance that are felt to this day. Rupert Goold’s ultra-flashy production abounds with high-tech stage trickery, none of which manages to conceal the thinness and triviality of Ms. Prebble’s surprisingly unamusing script….
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Read the whole thing here.
In Saturday’s “Sightings” column for The Wall Street Journal, I pay tribute to Gene Lees, the song lyricist and music journalist whose passing I noted last week. Gene, whom I had the honor to know for the last twenty-odd years of his life, was a greatly gifted writer and a lovable–if difficult–man, and I did my best to convey something of his complex essence in this piece.
If you’re curious, pick up a copy of tomorrow’s Journal and see what I have to say.
UPDATE: Read the whole thing here.
“Passion persuades me one way, reason another. I see the better and approve it, but I follow the worse.”