South by Southwest 2018 Preview

"Analysis paralysis" is slang for an inability to make a decision. When the condition becomes chronic, it's known as aboulomania. And when it involves 132 feature films screening for a week-plus in March (alongside shorts, TV episodes, virtual reality, musical and comedy performances, gaming and interactive  ...

Water by the Spoonful

Addiction is as hot a topic now as it was in 2012 when Quiara Alegria Hudes won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play, "Water by the Spoonful." It may not be your number one topic, but do not turn away too quickly. Ms. Hudes pays as much  ...

Casanova: The Seduction of Europe

Yes, there was an actual person named Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) from whence the epithet originated. The Venetian libertine and adventurer, author of his "Histoire de ma vie," a gaudy and glamorous 12-volume account of his sexual adventures in the mid-18th century, proudly described his amorous pursuits and seductions, as  ...

The Importance of Being Earnest

The trouble with drawing room comedies is that drawing rooms are intrinsically boring. This is part of the problem with the Old Globe's The Importance of Being Earnest - even Oscar Wilde's spirited dialogue can't quite overcome the production's inherent stiffness. Set in a posh London bachelor pad and  ...

Passing Strange

The rock musical Passing Strange was co-composed by Stew and Heidi Rodewald a decade ago and in its short run on Broadway was a sensation, garnering six Tony noms and two wins for Stew. It wasn't your typical jukebox musical or a stylized rock concert. Spike Lee filmed it  ...

Streetcar Named Desire

The vital, welcoming, multicultural Ubuntu Theater Project, founded in Oakland in 2012, is currently performing one of Tennessee William's best written and most iconic plays, "Streetcar Named Desire." It's the drama set in 1947 New Orleans in which the unstable erstwhile Southern belle Blanche DuBois (Lisa Ramirez) moves in  ...

Widowers’ Houses

It's a pleasure to see a fine production of any play by George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), but especially one of his infrequently produced first three "Plays Unpleasant," as Shaw called them. He explained that he called the theatricals unpleasant because, in addition to pleasing the audience, they raise awareness of  ...

Nice Girl

Josephine is the nice girl. She’s so nice that she remains living at home with her mother, working in a dead-end job, when she really wants to do what she wants to do. One problem is that she doesn’t know what that is. "Nice Girl" by Melissa Ross  ...

The Insult

This stunning drama from the Middle East called "The Insult," could have been titled 'A Simple Apology,' with the conflict, the story's entire premise resolved quickly and easily with those two ever elusive words, "I'm sorry." Instead it proves there would be nothing simple about an apology as there's  ...

Blind Date

The blind date actually took place on November 19, 1985, in Geneva. Nothing much happened diplomatically; the world order wasn’t changed. But the two leaders of the U.S. and the then-USSR had a couple of long, personal talks and the summit was considered a good sign for the future. Just  ...