• featured
  • Arrabal

    Arrabal, at American Repertory Theater (Photo: A.R.T.) Every country has its dark chapters. But once it becomes possible to assemble a narrative, the way those stories are told matters immensely to the ongoing health of a nation. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa (now called The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation) used a […]

  • Theater
  • Full Brow

    Jim Lichtscheidl, Louis Jenkins, Mark Rylance, and Kayli Carter in Nice Fish. (Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva) The term highbrow was first used in the late 19th century, a reference to the arcane practice of phrenology. In this head measuring methodology, people of intelligence were believed to have a higher brow line. While phrenology was eventually discarded […]

  • Theater
  • Riding the Comet

    “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” (Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva, courtesy of the A.R.T.) Diane Paulus‘ theatrical vision and aspirations are the driving force behind some of the most successful “immersive” theater events in Boston since she took over as artistic director of the A.R.T. at Harvard*. While previous productions have offered the audience […]

  • Aesthetics
  • The Confirmation Bias

    Imagined map of the word, Japanese I am reading a book recommended by my daughter Kellin Nelson: The Art of Thinking Clearly, by Rolf Dobelli. It’s designed with the 21st century reader in mind—succinct, straight talking advice on rampantly human cognitive errors in 99 chapters, each only a few pages long. Dobelli nails all of […]

  • Theater
  • Still Watching

    Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) (Production Photos: A.R.T.) Suzan-Lori Parks, playwright, Pulitzer prize winner, MacArthur genius fellow, talks about her writing in a manner that resonates deeply with me. She openly speaks about how she lets the spirit inspire her. (A Sanskrit tattoo on her arm reminds her to […]

  • Theater
  • Prosperian Enchantments

    The Tempest, at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge MA (Photo: A.R.T.) Ah Prospero. You are my favorite character in all of Shakespeare! The masterful conjurings, the lonely exile, the fierce revenge still raging after twelve years away from the lost Dukedom of Milan, the Other embodied in ethereality and earthiness, the willingness in the end […]

  • Theater
  • That’s Extraordinary

    Rehearsing for Pippin at A.R.T. (Photo: Dina Rudick/Boston Globe) In my previous post I wrote about how surprising it was to find such striking beauty in the overstated, extremist interior of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia. It brings to mind one of my art professor’s words to me from so long ago, “To make a great painting […]

  • Current viewings
  • Futurity

    Sammy Tunis as Ada Lovelace in Futurity (Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva/Boston Globe) In an interview with Tony Kushner that took place when his landmark play in two parts, Angels in America, had just opened in Los Angeles, he talked about the genesis of the idea for AA. It was the 1980s and he was living in […]

  • Science
  • Bucky for the Ages

    R. Buckminster Fuller Content-rich theater is hard to do. Tom Stoppard is probably our most exemplary contemporary playwright of that genre. In so many of his plays, ideas and intellectual constructs take on theatrical forms, functioning almost as characters in the story. The Stoppard experience is deeply layered and yet neither didactic nor instructional. Which […]

  • Theater
  • A Compass Demagnitized

    The Blue Flower, A.R.T. Tom Stoppard’s last two plays, Coast of Utopia (a 3 play trilogy) and Rock ‘n’ Roll, explore the historical periods preceding significant events as a way of contextualizing and unpacking those outcomes. To make sense of the 1917 Russian Revolution, Stoppard placed his 9 hour Utopia trilogy in the years between […]