Last week I decided to go a little adventure, by that I mean off my usual beaten path. Get more…
I love how this show manages to quickly shift genres, from farce to tragedy, without feeling forced. Constellations turns on the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which suggests that a potentially infinite number of parallel universes exist simultanteously. British playwright Nick Payne has applied this brain-teasing idea to the most basic of stories, a love story.
Playwright Christopher Durang has figured out why Chekhov should be funny – transposing Chekhovian characters to 21st Century Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Durang has made sense of how rueful melancholy can be hilarious. It might not make sense for us to laugh at landowners missing all the serfs they used to have, but we can easily “get” a fifty-something missing his three channels of black-and-white TV from the 1950s and 60s. It also helps that Durang doesn’t write in a realist style like Chekhov, but a style altogther more absurd and impishly laugh-seeking.
This production has just gotten tighter and more joyful since it opened. It also has added depth, thanks in no small part to two additions to the cast. You Can’t Take It With You celebrates the joy of being different, being yourself, more than almost any other play out there, which long ago earned it a special place in my heart.
There is definitely fun to be had in the Met’s new production of Franz Lehar’s operetta The Merry Widow, directed and choreographed by Broadway stalwart Susan Stroman. While this is neither her best work, nor the best production of The Merry Widow ever, it has enough virtues to make it a real pleasure, if not quite the lush, effervescent fun-fest it should be.