• Politics
  • Bring on the Counter-Narratives

    Fingersmith, at A.R.T. (Photo: A.R.T.) Counter-narratives become much needed palliatives when the storyline of daily life becomes poisonous. Watching the transition to a new regime of power in Washington is like a flashback to the most addled aspects of the 1950’s. As Thomas Friedman recently wrote in the New York Times, “There is actually something […]

  • Politics
  • Doing Time: Anna Deavere Smith

    Most of us have a list of artists, writers and musicians who have touched us so consistently that we are ever ready to reach out to each new work that emerges. Once ensconced in my personal hall of fame, my list of carefully chosen creatives are my personal canonicals. I show up for everything they […]

  • 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
  • Doing Neverland

    J. M. Barrie How does it happen, that a something—an image, a story, a meme—secures a spot in the cultural collective, that shared image/idea database full of entities everyone in our cultural milieu recognizes? Some are ancient, like the stories from the Greeks (Aphrodite, Apollo, Zeus) and the Bible (Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham), and […]

  • 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
  • The Light Princess

    (Photo: A.R.T.) A young woman possesses no powers of gravity. She can neither walk on terra firma nor can she possess serious thoughts or tears of genuine emotion. She must take the journey to claim that quality of groundedness for herself that the rest of us take for granted. This fairytale, based on a Victorian […]

  • Theater
  • A Stunning The Glass Menagerie

    Zachary Quinto as Tom, Cherry Jones as Amanda Wingfield, and Celia Keenan-Bolger as Laura in the A.R.T.’s production of “The Glass Menagerie.” (Courtesy A.R.T./Michael J. Lutch) The Glass Menagerie is a play that has touched me in a tender place for a long time. I grew up with this Tennessee Williams masterpiece, first seeing it […]

  • 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 […]