Ferocious Lotus unfolds a lovely Crane

Sep 22

Ferocious Lotus unfolds a lovely <i>Crane</i>

The Ferocious Lotus world premiere of JC Lee's Crane is the kind of theater that makes me happy. Here's a small company taking a step up with its first solo production. They're tackling a notable playwright (Lee's work has been seen locally at Impact Theatre and Sleepwalkers Theater and he's a writer for ABC's "How to Get Away with Murder" and HBO's "Looking"), and with a small budget in a small theater (NOHspace), they're making something beautiful.

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Blood, gore, giggles galore at Impact Theatre

Mar 07

Blood, gore, giggles galore at Impact Theatre

Blood is fun – at least it is within the confines of Impact Theatre's omnibus presentation Bread and Circuses, a collection of nine short plays fairly dripping with the thick red stuff.

As you'd expect with such an assortment, there's a wide variety in style and substance here. There's also one easy-to-draw conclusion: endings are hard.

The most satisfying entries in this two-hour experience at LaVal's Subterranean include...

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Tell ‘em that it’s human Nature

Aug 08

Tell ‘em that it’s human <i>Nature</i>

If only the actual apocalypse were going to be so enjoyable.

Hand it to playwright JC Lee for making the end of the world – and after – so lyrical, so funny and so, well, human. That's one of the things I loved about Into the Clear Blue Sky, Part Two of the This World and After trilogy, which kicked off almost exactly a year ago with This World Is Good. There may be monstrous things happening in the world, things that would require millions of dollars worth of CGI to represent on a screen, but Lee's focus is essentially human and relatable.

And that's only appropriate when the topic at hand is the very survival of the human race. In each of his three plays, Lee creates a stage full of seekers, and for his final chapter, they are seeking the future, which is in clear jeopardy. In The Nature Line, Part Three of the trilogy, neither sex nor any human contact of any kind is allowed anymore. Women's wombs have become unable to handle the stress of pregnancy, so that duty now belongs to scientists who help the process along. “Aren’t you relieved to see a corporate model can survive the apocalypse?” asks a crisply dressed fertility nurse.

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Apocalypse wow! Clear Blue Sky captivates

Apr 09

Apocalypse wow! <i>Clear Blue Sky</i> captivates

There are cannibals in Hackensack. A tsunami swallowed South America live on TV. And there are dogs the size of Chevys ransacking libraries.

Welcome to, as the producers put it, "your friendly neighborhood apocalypse." Playwright JC Lee is in the midst of unfurling his world-premiere trilogy This World and After, and he's getting some big-time help from Sleepwalkers Theatre, the company that produced Part One, The World Is Good and is now unveiling Part Two, Into the Clear Blue Sky.

If this is what post-apocalyptic life looks like, I don't think I'll mind so much when everything goes to hell. Not that life isn't wretched. In addition to the horrors mentioned above, there are sea beasts to contend with, not to mention the fact that, due to acceleration of global warming, the very shape of the earth is changing and you can now, for reasons more poetic than scientific, find your way through the ocean to the moon.

But in Lee's ravaged world, human beings are, mercifully, still human beings. His play, directed with flair by Ben Randle, is full of horror and wonder, but it's all on a human scale. Lee has a graphic novelist's flair imaginative drama and a playwright's love of the poetic. He can be comic-geek funny one moment and Gabriel Garcia Marquez beautiful the next. As I said, human scale.

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