Laurence Klavan


True Drama

By Laurence Klavan

True Drama
Large theaters in 2010 seemed to mostly recycle earlier images of Jews, familiarly corrosive or sentimental (“Angels in America,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Collected Stories,” even “The Merchant of Venice”). It was left to smaller theaters to take fresh approaches to modern Jewish life and recent history. David Greenspan portrayed hilarious and hair-raising marital discord in his superb one-man show, “The Myopia,” from the Foundry Theatre; Deb Margolin made something fascinatingly eroticized and religious out of a front-page financial scandal in “Imagining Madoff” at StageWorks/Hudson; the resourceful Flux Theatre Ensemble re-imagined the Old Testament on a shoestring in “Jacob’s House”; in “Lingua Franca” at Brits Off-Broadway, gifted veteran playwright Peter Nichols conjured a sexy German émigré clinging to her anti-Semitism while teaching English in post-World War II Italy; and Vern Thiessen tackled infrequently dramatized Soviet prejudice in his effective black comedy, “Lenin’s Embalmers,” produced by Ensemble Studio Theater.Read More


Reproducing Madoff

By Laurence Klavan

Reproducing Madoff
When the Bernard Madoff scandal broke in 2008, some Jews feared a rise in anti-Semitism, predicting that age-old stereotypes of the greedy Hebrew would be awakened and again perpetuated. Now, nearly two years later, despite a minor increase in typically anonymous, bigoted comments on websites and blogs, it remains mostly a Jewish obsession: How could he have done it to his own tribe?Read More


The Replacements

By Laurence Klavan

The Replacements
The Book of Genesis is filled with replacement and impersonation: Jacob disguises himself as his twin, Esau, to get his father’s inheritance; Rachel replaces her sister, Leah, in Jacob’s bed. So maybe it’s fitting that the new Bible-based show, “Jacob’s House,” at New York’s Flux Theatre Ensemble, is itself a replacement.Read More


It’s a Sin

By Laurence Klavan

It’s a Sin
Dramatic adaptations are both a sort of marriage and a kind of alchemy: a mystical merging of two artists to produce a new creation in a different form. This is fitting for Isaac Bashevis Singer, since matrimony and magic both provide subjects for much of his work, including his short story “The Unseen,” which has now morphed into a play called “Sin” by Mark Altman.Read More


Heads of Clay

By Laurence Klavan

Heads of Clay
The February 2 announcement of the Academy Award nominations will include five nominees for Best Animated Film, instead of the usual three, a testament to the large number of worthy contenders this year (or maybe just the pressure applied by major studios to push their most lucrative product). It means there may be room for a dark horse: the Australian Claymation feature, “Mary and Max.”Read More



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