November 24, 2008


Filed under: Reviews — offoffbway @ 8:00 am

My Favorite AnimalReview of MY FAVORITE ANIMAL

A Play by Tom Sime

Directed by Phyllis Cicero

Review by Joshua Plant

Through November 30th
Click here for tickets

Turn off your pagers and cell phones and enter Room 201 for a delightful romantic comedy by Tom Sime. My Favorite Animal is a flirtatious love story about Randi, a work-at-home gay man, that one day wished to be a beautiful young woman for a week to gain the attention from the straight men he so desired.

July 10, 2008


Filed under: Reviews — offoffbway @ 10:25 am

Hana IchimommeReview of HANA ICHIMOMME

A Solo Play by Ken Miyamoto

Performed by Seiko Tano

Review by Stefan Matthew

Through July 13th

Click here for tickets

In Bertolt Brecht’s Messingfkauf Dialogues the German translates as “Der Messingkauf” literally as “the purchase of brass.” This is not an homage to the abstract equivalence of that fine metal; rather, Brecht as “The Philosopher” is interested in raiding the theater for what is useful, like a brass-merchant who doesn’t care that the metal he melts down comes from some musician’s cherished instrument.


June 26, 2008


Filed under: Reviews — offoffbway @ 10:30 am



A Play by Daniel Roberts

Review by Stefan Matthew

Through June 28th

Click here for tickets

Daniel Roberts’s “Monsterface” at the Irish Arts Center should be applauded in its ambition. Its ambition and expanse, its tapestry of plot-lines, and subthemes renders it a quite courageous production and presents an interpretive crisis for the audience. A tragic byproduct of American Cold Warrior fall-out is that dialectics is not really taught in the schools. I’m not even talking about the Hegel-Marx-Engels-Lenin-Mao variety. Your run of the mill Heraclitus: “Can’t walk into the same stream twice” is absent from our “shared” American sensibility. That combined with an equally brutal onslaught of anti-intellectualism+ pressure of commerce renders ambition risky. Straight up dangerous, actually. This deficiency has everything to do with the danger and ambitious courage of this kind of production. Because we are so un-dialectical in our thought processes, its hard to juggle sometimes a theory of mediation to make sense of all the levels going on in a work of this scope. Roberts must know this—yet, he presents a New York audience with “Monster Face”. This in and of itself should be rewarded.


May 15, 2008

Review: ME

Filed under: Reviews — offoffbway @ 2:55 pm

MeReview of Me

A play by Kirk Wood Bromley

Review by Stefan Matthew

Through May 10

Click here for tickets

I want to preface this review with a personal disclaimer—

I used to live in the backyard of a family of dolphins in Egypt and am very sensitive to the beauty of those creatures and the need for their conservation. I also really, really wanted to like this production.

If in fact as “Me 6” proclaims in Kirk Wood Bromley’s Soho Think Tank/Inverse Theater production of Me that, “…we act some more, but the more we act, the less we know what to do”, the playwright of Me might have thought to follow his 6th personae’s advice before he reinforced in both script and program notes a vapid American cold-war anti-communism. If as another persona (I counted 12 “Me’s” on stage at any given time in this ambitious but in the last instance politically frustrating piece) recounts—“Belief is the first sign of wrong”, then perhaps the playwright of Me might have found it prudent to complicate simplistic arguments indirectly positing ridiculous eco-super human historical super-powers to an already maligned (in a usually racist fashion) Chinese revolutionary leader.

The production note entitled “The Goddess of the Yangtze” asserts that the Yangtze River Dolphin (Bai Ji in Chinese, i.e. white fish) “was targeted by Mao Tse-Tung in his ‘Great Leap Forward.’” The actor playing Baiji asserted the same logic and protested against its being driven to extinction by Chinese revolutionary communist zeal.

There is a huge problem in these assertions, which was part of what spoiled my reception of this production despite its impressive qualities.

Alec Duffy’s direction, Jill Guidera’s choreography, the confident interdependent workings of the ensemble, John Gideon’s suiting score, the lighting, even the puppetry – these elements almost redeem this problem. Bromley’s piece interestingly stretches the boundary of the performative—a bunch of “Me’s” greet the audience and engage you in light conversation prior to the show. I talked to at least two very charming and attractive “Me’s” before the show. Bromley, with great thoughtfulness and care, sets up the entire art space as a “museum of the playwright” for the audience to view on the way to their seats. So why obsess over some flip references to Mao. I don’t want to argue Marxist history, Chinese history, or questions of causality as it relates to ecology; I want to make a point about theater. But in case you were curious—from Brendan O’Neill’ “China’s River of Life”:


April 29, 2008


Filed under: Reviews — offoffbway @ 8:46 pm

Bridge Over LandReview of Bridge Over Land

A Triptych written and directed by Gilbert Girion

By Stefan Matthew

Through May 10

Click here for tickets

People come to art events with their own idiosyncratic references, associations, semblances in order to make meaning of the soon to be unraveled spectacle. People come to death events and such events’ transference to realized and unrealized acts of intimacy with the same laundry list (peep actor Josh Liveright as Math Professor Michael in the third installment “Number Land” and his inability to move his feet “glued” to a spot on his ex-student’s lawn). I came with my own list anticipating a work on mourning and melancholia; specifically, the depiction of hell in Hieronymus Bosch’s Millennium Triptych painted in the 1500’s and Amiri Baraka’s explanation of the modal insistence and pointillism of Miles Davis’s 1959 recording Kind of Blue.

Brecht once said, “I’m writing this down because I like precision” so let me go into a bit more detail.


March 20, 2008


Filed under: Reviews — offoffbway @ 11:39 pm

Every Girl...Review of Every Girl Gets Her Man

Written By Emma Sheanshang

Directed By Michael Melamedoff

By Stefan Matthew

Despite Jouissance Theater’s program-notes proviso that “there is no ‘outside’ to the text,” during my viewing last Sunday of this highly entertaining, visually enthralling glimpse into the dating lives of five beautiful New York women, my mind ventured outside. To Germany of all places. One of the aphoristic, didactic Geschicten (stories) in German Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht’s collection—Stories of Mr. Keuner fits right at home with this charming dramatic exposition on the absurdity of dating in New York City. It’s about ideal types, ideal objects of desire, painterly objects of desire. I couldn’t help but think of this fragment while watching the cast execute perfect dialogue to discuss the travails of Margot and her mercurial, never on stage, painter boyfriend Tristan. (Brief aside and admission—Sarah Wilson, who plays Margot in the production beats every crush I have ever entertained including Lisa Bonet, Cristina Ricci, Alyssa Milano, and Punky Brewster). Brecht:


August 13, 2007


Filed under: Listings,Reviews — offoffbway @ 4:15 pm

Mary Jane Wells in ‘Transit’
click for full-size image

The Stage Left Studio, part of the Midtown International Theater Festival
review by Naneh Israelyan

‘Transit’, written and performed by Mary Jane Wells, most definitely moves at the speed of a train in motion—except that the train stops are entirely unconnected. The journey was almost as if I was transferring from one train to another so often that keeping track of the storyline (more…)

July 15, 2007

Review: Spitting in the Face of the Devil

Filed under: Last Chance,Listings,Reviews — offoffbway @ 5:45 pm

‘Spitting in the Face of the Devil’
John Montgomery Theatre Company at The Kraine
review by Naneh Israelyan
Spitting in the Face of the Devil
click for full-size image

In a compelling performance, Bob Brader, or Little Bobby as referred to by his family, animates for the audience the story of his childhood through the upbringing of his abusive father. Bob Brader enters the stage to announce the death of his father and thereafter slips into a simple wooden chair centered in the middle of a simple wooden desk—and at this desk Brader draws the audience into his childhood through the magic of storytelling.

December 8, 2006

Review: ‘The Scarlett O’Hara Complex’

Filed under: Last Chance,Listings,Reviews — offoffbway @ 11:55 am

The Scarlett O’Hara Complex
Review by Caroline M. Sun
Scarlett O'Hara Complex

The Scarlett O’Hara Complex is a southern-fried comedy about a group of close-knit, middle-aged women who suspect “murder” when one of them catches her husband in a compromising position. A cross between Nancy Drew and The Golden Girls, these chatty, catty amateur sleuths set about trying to discover and thwart the plot of their wounded friend. In the process, the looming shadow of gentility cast over southern women by the movie Gone with the Wind is juxtaposed against the real-life violence of southern belles like Blanche Taylor Moore and Lorena Bobbitt.

October 11, 2006

Two from

Filed under: Links,Listings,Reviews — offoffbway @ 5:50 pm

Reviews of two shows that look interesting from
El Conquistador!, which in addition to having an exclamation point on it appears to be a ‘telenovela’-style show, “involving suspense, seduction, murder and revenge.” (Mmmm… revenge…).
Also of note: OFF Stage: the West Village Fragments, which we’ve also mentioned.