By Robert Simonson
28 Dec 2013
|Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN|
Reality is a slippery business for many of the characters inhabiting the plays that fill the winter and spring seasons Off-Broadway in 2014. Twenty-first century citizens find themselves caught in a 1930s melodrama; puppets take on shocking personalities; present-day deals are brokered to arrange for people can meet in the afterlife; a renter takes on the life of his landlord without missing a step; and the all-encompassing stream of information that fills the air we breathe these days threatened to subvert normal, everyday life.
Veteran British playwright Caryl Churchill, ever concerned with the (usually misguided, in her view) direction of society, tackles the last of these subjects in her Love and Information, a new play to be presented at Churchill's usual New York home, New York Theatre Workshop, starting Feb. 4. In keeping with the theme of too much information, the drama has 57 scenes, runs 110 minutes and asks 16 actors to play more than 100 characters. Those numbers all combine to tell a warning story about technology's speedy wearing away at our privacy and ability to feel. James Macdonald directs.
The future is not the problem for the characters in Sarah Ruhl's new play Stage Kiss, which will begin Feb. 7 at Playwrights Horizons. Their trouble is the past, in more than one sense. Two forty-something actors — once lovers in their youth — are now cast opposite each other in an obscure 1930s play about — wait for it — two middle-aged people who were once each other's first loves. Existential complications ensue. Jessica Hecht and Dominic Fumusa star.
The hand of God is just as mysterious to the protagonist of Ken Urban's The Correspondent, running at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater from Jan. 29. In this story, a husband grieving the loss of his wife hires a dying woman to deliver a message to her in the afterlife. Soon after, sure enough, he begins receiving letters from his dead spouse. Though he instigated the correspondence, he can't help but wonder if he's the object of divine intervention or a con job.Continued...