THEATER REVIEW: In Marcus/Emma, History Seen Through a Lens, Hiply

Susan Riley Stevens and Akeem Davis is Marcus/Emma at Interact Theatre Company. (Photo by Kathryn Raines / Plate 3)

Susan Riley Stevens and Akeem Davis in Marcus/Emma at Interact Theatre Company. (Photo by Kathryn Raines / Plate 3)

It was the moment when legendary anarchist Emma Goldman yells, “I just figured out how to turn my labia into a hand puppet!” that I realized Marcus/Emma would not be an easy play to review.

Mary Tuomanen’s 90-minute historical fantasia imagines an encounter between Goldman and another celebrated, charismatic activist, Marcus Garvey.  Tuomanen is best known as a Philadelphia actor, and much admired (often by me) for her intriguingly off-center, hip theatrical persona.  She brings similar quirks to her writing, with far more mixed results.  Read more »

Arts List: 6 Reasons to Go to the Theater

The Plough and the Stars is at the Annenberg Center. Photo by Ros Kavanagh

The Plough and the Stars is at the Annenberg Center. Photo by Ros Kavanagh

The Plough and the Stars @ Annenberg Center’s Zellerbach Theatre | October 13-16
Abbey Theatre’s revival of The Plough and the Stars, set during Ireland’s Easter Rising 100 years ago, stops in Philly as part of a limited U.S. tour. The play was first performed at the Abbey, Ireland’s national theater, in 1926. On Friday there’s a cast meet-and-greet after the performance.

Grounded @ InterAct Theatre Company at the Drake | Through October 23
Kittson O’Neill plays The Pilot, a role Anne Hathaway is tackling for the upcoming movie version, in InterAct’s production of Grounded. The story is about a fighter pilot whose unexpected pregnancy leads to an assignment operating military drones in the Nevada desert.
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THEATER REVIEW: Straight White Men Are Not What You Think

Tim Dugan, Kevin Meehan, Steven Rishard, and Dan Kern in Straight White Men at InterAct. (Photo by Kathryn Raines)

Tim Dugan, Kevin Meehan, Steven Rishard, and Dan Kern in Straight White Men at InterAct. (Photo by Kathryn Raines)

“Oh, great,” I thought, as soon as I read the title. Just what we need — another play about America’s most maligned underclass. (As if David Mamet and Neil LaBute haven’t given us more than enough.)

Of course, I should have known. This is InterAct, after all, a company whose artistic director, Seth Rozin, consistently thinks out-of-the-box about politics and culture. Sure enough, while Straight White Men is, indeed, true to its subject, Young Jean Lee’s complex, often wonderful, probably deliberately destabilizing play is considerably removed from the traditional perspective (starting with the fact that the writer is an Asian female, and known for her experimental work). Read more »

Theater Review: The Nether at InterAct is a Visceral, Sometimes Creepy Experience

Bi Jean Ngo & Greg Wood in The Nether at InterAct. (Photo by Kathryn Raines / PLATE 3)

Bi Jean Ngo & Greg Wood in The Nether at InterAct. [Photo by Kathryn Raines / PLATE 3]

“I want to go home,” announces Sims, in a tone that implies he’s used to getting his way. And why wouldn’t he want to leave? A successful businessman, Sims (actor Greg Wood, in a sensationally disquieting performance) is clearly not accustomed to the kind of brutal interrogation he’s receiving here, from a relentless detective called Morris (played by Bi Jean Ngo, with dour authority).

But what if the “home” Sims pines for isn’t an actual place at all — rather, a fantasyland where away from prying eyes, anything and everything can happen? Read more »

REVIEW: #therevolution

Anita Holland, Brett Ashley Robinson, and Mary Tuomanen in #therevolution. (Photo by Kathryn Raines / Plate3)

Anita Holland, Brett Ashley Robinson, and Mary Tuomanen in #therevolution. (Photo by Kathryn Raines / Plate3)

Location, location, location. This realtor’s mantra is not just for house-hunters — it’s at least as significant for theater companies, for whom space is often a critical factor in defining an individual production, even a company style.

For decades, InterAct, under Seth Rozin’s leadership, has been devoted to cutting edge, politically-steeped theater that sometimes seemed at odds with its rather boxy, conventional home at the Adrienne. Rozin and company always made the best of it, but now, thanks in large part to his influence, InterAct and four more theater companies have a new venue, tailored to their specifications. So it was especially intriguing to see how Rozin would launch his first project at the Drake — #therevolution, a world premiere play by Kristoffer Diaz. Read more »

SNEAK PEEK: Our Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the New Drake

A mural by Aaron Krolikowski depicting Omar Sharif's bridge competitions at The Drake.

A mural by Aaron Krolikowski depicting Omar Sharif’s bridge competitions at The Drake.

“God knows there are a lot of theaters in this town. Our purpose is for this to be a hub.”

That’s what InterAct Theatre Company‘s Producing Artistic Director Seth Rozin said about the highly-anticipated opening of their new space at The Drake during my behind-the-scenes tour. The massive space is, indeed, designed to be quite a hub, with two brand new theater spaces, plus two lobbies, a conference room, a green room that’s actually green in color, dressing rooms, gender-neutral restrooms, plus a super unique mural.

Jason Lindner, InterAct’s marketing director, explained that the subject of the mural, Omar Sharif, used to host bridge competitions at The Drake in 1971. The mural depicts what these gatherings would look like, and features plenty of open space for visitors to make their own mark. Lindner will install a bucket of Sharpies for guests to “sign” the mural, leaving a little piece of themselves at The Drake. Read more »