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Recent Review

Its greatness is confirmed

“It’s a joyful thing when a great play that seemed to be lost is found. How much more so when its greatness is confirmed and the play takes root in the soil of a new time.

That was my experience seeing Alice Childress’s “Wedding Band” this summer at the Stratford Festival, in Ontario.

It was always a tragedy for the couple and, by implication, the country, whose attempts to encompass all races in a loving union have been notably fitful and remain unfinished. But the director Sam White’s production unexpectedly adds another layer of tragedy. Her staging emphasizes the hard-won pleasures of the central relationship, so that something valuable is felt to be lost when the world intervenes. But distinctively it also suggests the tragedy of the white characters — especially the man’s mother and sister — who are nominally the villains.

When I saw the play in Brooklyn, those women were brilliantly rendered grotesques. As played here by Lucy Peacock and Maev Beaty, they are no longer monsters though their behavior remains monstrous; we see how the tragedy of racism makes victims of everyone.”

[Note: this review is part of a collection in the CRITIC’S NOTEBOOK]