Photo Wes Duvall
New York Theatre Workshop
Closes June 11, 2006
by Adam Ritter
"The Columbine High School motto is 'The
finest kids in America pass through these halls'...It
wasn't meant to be ironic." So speaks,
with ample sarcasm, an ensemble player in the
Theater Vérité piece Columbinus,
the thought-provoking work breathed into gigabit-screaming
existence by devoted members of the New York
the banner headlines; On April 20, 1999, a notorious
date for altered states, disenfranchised rage
was collapsed into existence by the searing
malevolence of an "irretrievable"
menace and his latchkey sidekick.
In a single gulp,
the bedrock of idyllic Americana was devoured
that day by a paint mixer of teen hatred, spewed
by the infamous collaboration of trench coat
aficionados Eric and Dylan. If it didn't actually
happen, MTV would have invented a lusciously-filmed
dramatic series about it.
culprits loomed large; peer ostracism, parental
neglect, academic ineptitude, etc… The
real cause is well known though; Marilyn Manson
entries, hostile home videos, and the testimonials
of massacre survivors, the Columbinus performers
replay with wrenching gravitas the horrors that
led up to and unraveled on that dreadful day.
Act one unfolds
with the composite caricatures of high school
life that we all remember well; the nerd, the
preppy, the jock, the stoner, the pious, the
slut and the outcasts. Each is consumed by the
indentured servitude of their confining identity.
It would be absolutely absurd except for that
nagging inner-narrative that enables you to
instantly list defacto members of each group
from your own experience. These kids were your
friends, your nemeses, the forgotten few and
perhaps even you not that long ago. How close
has such a tragedy lingered for any of us? We
breathe a sigh of thankful relief for the tunnel
vision that allows us to dismiss such suppositions
as the isolated acts of chemically imbalanced
Act two recounts
the details of the unspeakable and safely distant
calamity at Columbine, transforming the ensemble
into vessels of tragic testimony; we watch the
drama unfold in the words of the ironically
fortunate teenagers who sat astride the corpses
of murdered classmates.
Eric is as disgusted
by the figures reaching out to him as he feels
they are by him; "With his business degree
on the wall and his three day certificate in
counseling," he sneers of his guidance
counselor. "You want to help me for the
next 80 years? How about right now?"
And here, Dylan
barely amounts to perpetrator; the Barney Rubble
of homicidal mania who foolishly swallowed the
red pill and was consequently sucked into the
churning void, never to return.
The duo strain
to reinterpret social Darwinism so as to fulfill
their whims of superiority and make the collective
endure the pain that they have suffered; "You
will try to blame it on the clothes I wear,
the music I listen to, or the way I choose to
present myself - but no. Do not hide behind
my choices," says Eric in his suicide note.
"LET THIS MASSACRE BE ON YOUR SHOULDERS
UNTIL THE DAY YOU DIE…I did not choose
In allusive scenes,
the parents of Columbinus speak in fragmentary
statements and one can easily conjure recollections
of their own selective-listening snippets of
parental wisdom destined for immediate resentment.
Nothing, you discover, set this Coloradoan school
and their students apart from any other in America.
The drama of
Columbinus is punctuated by an appropriate
soundtrack that includes the soul-weary works
of the Verve ("Bittersweet Symphony")
and Gary Jule ("Mad World") whose
lyrics are virally aligned to events unfolding;
school and I was very nervous, No one knew me,
no one knew me, hello teacher tell me what's
my lesson? Look right through me, look right
those that adhere to the idea that the world
is merely a chain of cause and effect over which
we have no autonomy. Columbinus confirms
this and testifies to the rejections of life
having costly consequences. Whether or not that
is true, the story they recount is a compelling
one and perhaps there is no harm in enlarging
our worlds to include the lost souls that would
otherwise be cast aside.
show is written by The United States Theatre
Project and conceived and directed by PJ Paparelli.
Cirque Du Soleil’s
Tuesday - Saturday @ 8PM
Matinees: Friday & Saturday @ 4:00PM; Sundays
@ 1:00PM & 5:00PM
Closes July 1, 2006
Blue and Yellow Grand Chapiteau
Randall's Island | New York
by Wendy R. Williams
I have just been “Cirqued;”
I saw my first Cirque Du Solieil show, Corteo,
and am now an addict, feverisly planning a trip
to Las Vegas to see O. One of the from
out-of-town friends with whom I attended the
Randall’s Island production said, “There
is no way you can describe this show.”
And she is right. It is a circus performed by
modern dancers who are the most incredible aerialist,
acrobats and gymnasts I have ever seen, anyone
of whom could easily have won an Olympic gold
medal for their feats. And it is stunningly
beautiful and incredibly moving. That is my
attempt to put wonder into words, here is how
they describe themselves in their press release:
“Corteo, which means "cortege"
in Italian, is a joyous procession, a festive
parade imagined by a clown. The show brings
together the passion of the actor with the grace
and power of the acrobat to plunge the audience
into a theatrical world of fun, comedy and spontaneity
situated in a mysterious space between heaven
pictures his own funeral taking place in a carnival
atmosphere, watched over by quietly caring angels.
Juxtaposing the large with the small, the ridiculous
with the tragic and the magic of perfection
with the charm of imperfection, the show highlights
the strength and fragility of the clown, as
well as his wisdom and kindness, to illustrate
the portion of humanity that is within each
of us. The music, by turns lyrical and playful,
carries Corteo through a timeless celebration
in which illusion teases reality.”
The show starts with three beautiful beaded
chandeliers, watched over by a flying angel.
Gorgeous aerialists then perform a beautiful
“air dance,” dangling from and through
the chandeliers. And then there is number after
number, each more spectacular than the other.
The cast is huge and the costumes and lighting
are superb. One of the most moving “sets”
was performed by a male and female aerialist,
using only two long rubber bands that hung from
the huge ceiling of the tent. They simply tied
these long bands around themselves, picked up
the other aerialist (yes the woman can hold
the man), and flew through the air in a moving
romantic “air dance.” It was totally
see shows where I would be willing to return
the next night; Corteo is definitely one of
those shows. It is my Phantom of the
Corteo was created
by: Daniele Finzi Pasca, Creator and Director;
Line Tremblay, Director of Creation;Jean Rabasse,
Set Designer; Dominique Lemieux, Costume Designer;
Philippe Leduc, Composer and Musical Director.
On to some practical
matters: You can get to Randall’s Island
via New York Waterways. Go to www.nywaterway.com
and then click on Catch on Event. The round
trip ticket is around $20.00 and can be reserved
and paid for online. There are two choices 6:15
and 7:15. I took the earlier boat and should
have taken the later boat. It is about a twenty
minute ride (there is no traffic on the water
after all). You cannot use one of those red
and blue Waterway busses to get to the 34th
Street pier to go to Randall’s Island
(they only go to the Westside piers), but the
34th Street bus lets you off right in front
of the pier. There is no where to wait inside
at the pier and the boat can be pretty chilly
on the top deck. You can also drive to Randall’s
Island and there is free parking.
Tickets: $60.00-$95.00 Adult; $42.00-$66.50
Children; $54.00-$85.50 Student/Senior (weekdays
only) at http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/CirqueDuSoleil/en/default.htm.
Everything Bad and Beautiful
Daryl Roth Theater
Tuesday 8:00PM - Friday 8:00PM
Saturday 7:00pm & 10:00pm
Closes July 9, 2006
Reviewed by Terry Maloney
The divine Ms.
Sandra Bernhard is back in her beloved New York
City and she's funkier and sexier than ever!
From the moment she enters the stage of the
Daryl Roth Theater (wearing a sexy, slinky,
ankle-length dress) she captivates her devoted
audience of "Bernhard groupies" with
her sultry stylings and pointed observations
about today’s political and cultural scene.
Is she somewhat
less outrageous then she was in her first two
one-woman shows? Perhaps, but who cares? This
is classic Bernhard. Starting with her opening
number, Christina Aguilera's "(I Am) Beautiful,"
she not only skewers such easy targets as George
W, and Laura Bush and Condoleezza Rice, but
also John and Theresa Heinz Kerry, Meg Ryan,
Celine Dion, gay drama queens, and the very
theater in which she performs. "I can feel
the ghosts of De La Guarda...all those Brazilian
acrobats who fell to their deaths!"
The story of
Condi Rice meeting the ghost of Rosa Parks at
the Lorraine Motel (where Dr. King was assassinated)
is hilarious. "You don't belong here, Condi
Rice!" says Ms. Parks, "Get out of
here!" The proud mother of a seven-year
old girl herself, Bernhard mocks the "motherhood"
book/calendar collaboration of Dion with photographer
Ms. Heinz Kerry
is depicted as a spaced-out elitist obsessed
with her neckwear. ("Don't you just love
my scarf?"). Her husband is described as
an "arrogant prick." Mrs. Bush is
rather harshly attacked by Bernhard for daring
to visit New York City. "How dare you!
Don't you ever come back here, you c--t!,"
screams Bernhard to the cheers and applause
of the blue state audience.
Like all Bernhard
shows this is also a rock concert, and the should-be
superstar equates herself quite well with her
smoky interpretation of classics such as "Like
a Rolling Stone," "Respect,"
and "I Would Die for You." She is
very ably supported by her hot backup band,
The Rebellious Jezebels (with musical director
Yes, some critics
say that Bernhard has mellowed since her last
one-woman show, but I'd rather describe it as
an evolution. Now in a hard-to-believe mid-forties,
Bernhard is finally in a long-term relationship
with a woman she dearly loves and together they
are raising a young daughter. Yes, parenthood
and stability do tend to change one's perspective
on the world, but not to worry. Bernhard is
still Bernhard and she does not disappoint..
I came to the
show a casual Bernhard fan, but I left a devoted
Bernhard groupie. She is contagious, she is
habit-forming and she is amazing!
Tickets are $35-$70
Daryl Roth Theater
|20 Union Square