Much that was old was new again in 2013, which turned out to be a very good year for the classics.
It wasn't a bad year for new work either, even if too many of today's most provocative playwrights are getting short shrift from this town's nonprofit heavyweights.
I was especially glad to see Samuel D. Hunter's "The Whale" at South Coast Repertory, but to catch "The Flick," the latest from Annie Baker (for my money, the most exciting American dramatist working today), I had to hop a flight to New York, where Playwrights Horizons was presenting the world premiere.
Christopher Shinn's "Dying City," a 2008 Pulitzer finalist, finally found welcome in Los Angeles, thanks to the indispensable Rogue Machine. And I must salute Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre for producing two new works on my highlight reel,
But in a year that kicked into high gear with Nicholas Martin's sparkling revival of
When was the last time I saw a production of "Prometheus Bound" as good as the one directed by Travis Preston at
Shakespeare, that perennially youthful old-timer, has certainly been riding high all year. Last summer in London at the National Theatre, I had the good fortune to see
"R II," Jessica Kubzansky's ingenious distillation of "Richard II" at the Theatre @ Boston Court, was magisterially pulled off. What's more, this beautifully designed production introduced me to an acting talent I hope to see more widely employed on our stages, Paige Lindsey White.
My sweetest Broadway memory comes courtesy of
Also working the repertory angle on Broadway, Sir
Any year that allows for the passionate inclusion of a Bertolt Brecht play has to be a vintage one. The Foundry Theatre rekindled "Good Person of Szechwan" at the New York Public Theater in a production directed by Lear deBessonet and starring the extraordinarily mercurial Taylor Mac. Let's hope someone has the sense to bring this wonderful production to L.A. next year.
As for American classics, the Mark Taper Forum's revival of August Wilson's masterpiece "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" and the Geffen Playhouse's remounting of David Mamet's "American Buffalo" were top notch. The Wilson, directed by Phylicia Rashad and starring two powerhouse actors, John Douglas Thompson and
What can you say about a year when even something as relatively new as "Shun-kin" harks back to something from the first half of last century? This collaboration between the London-based company Complicite and Japan's Setagaya Public Theatre that was presented by UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance brought a strange tale of love and sadomasochism to the Freud Playhouse from the Japanese writer Jun'ichiro Tanizaki.
The story was written in 1933, but as theater is an insistently present-tense medium, it was happening in that most special of time zones, the eternal now.