On one level, Theresa Rebeck's Seminar satirizes the class with the mean, witty, highly critical, entertaining, terrifying professor and his mix of articulate students of ambition. Audiences won't leave with any deeper insight or unique perspective on what the play purports to depict: the insider's view of breaking into the New York literary world. However, they will be entertained. The play provides a witty tour, juggling ideas of the subjectivity in writing, the existence of true talent, and the reality, power struggles and compromises in selling one's work. After the play, several writers to whom I spoke, referenced lines, jokingly admitting that they would rather have a "whorish piece" in The New Yorker than end up a "talented nobody". Yet on a very subjective level, as an Asian American woman, one aspect of the play made me feel uncomfortable and queasy, with the reminder that words and laughter matter and have consequences.
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At first I thought these rushes to judgment were satiric, comments on a culture of short attention spans and instant opinions. And it is kind of funny when the magisterial Leonard, Mr. It is also a pleasure to hear Mr. And if they seem a tad overhasty in reacting to the works of others, it is only for reasons of dramatic expediency. The creation of art is notoriously difficult to depict on stage as in film , so leeway must be allowed those who would evoke this slow and tortuous process in a brief, digestible narrative.
Full of efficiently mapped reversals and revelations, the play feels as if it were written according to some literary equivalent of a mileage-saving GPS device. Rabe , whose family owns the apartment; the well-connected, preppyish Douglas Mr. Linklater and the lubricious, opportunistic Izzy Ms. And each of course is pretentious in his or her own preordained way.
Leonard reserves his most annihilating eloquence for shredding the egos of his students. But even Mr. And it provides some familiar sitcomish shtick as comfortable padding. And Ms. Linklater give real comic substance to skeletal parts. Finally there comes a turning point, about an hour and 15 minutes into the show, when Mr. Rickman is allowed to embody something more than brisk intellectual sadism.
Handed a really good piece of writing by one of his students, Leonard responds with a quietly potent mix of antagonism, humility, fear and something like joy. Rickman, is arrived at after Leonard has only glanced at the first couple of pages of a vast manuscript.
But for the first time I felt an authentic rush of pleasure and the exhilaration of being reminded that in theater, art comes less from landing lines than in finding what lies between them. Hart Jr. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes. Home Page World U.
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Clocking in at a breezy 90 minutes, it trades in comedy about art and artists to enjoyable effect. Each of the four students in the private seminar exemplifies a type of aspiration: Douglas Jerry O'Connell, wearing preppy pastel attire and loafers without socks bloviates about his family connections and his barest brushes with very minor fame a residency at Yaddo, a story in Tin House ; Kate Lily Rabe , a child of Upper West Side privilege, has been working over the same short story for six years, ever since she received some faint praise for it at Bennington; Martin Hamish Linklater , whose intelligence and intensity has made him all the more resentful of phonies like Douglas, refuses to show his work to anyone; and Izzy Hetienne Park , alluring and shameless, recognises opportunity whenever she sees it—and opportunity for this pretty young woman, as it happens, is everywhere and often has to do with sex. And Martin, who finally brings a few pages from his novel to class, is so talented that Leonard offers his help—which Martin, in what seems to be an outburst of adolescent rage, refuses to accept. Ninety minutes about aspiring artists might feel very long if the subject were treated with anything other than a light hand. Ms Rebeck's script is brisk comedy, with the characters exchanging barbs that are glib yet funny, the laughs paced judiciously under Sam Gold's deft direction. Izzy may have slept with Leonard and, later, Martin , and Leonard may be sleeping with Kate—which I found only mildly surprising, considering the way bullying condescension seems to act as an unfortunate aphrodisiac in the literary world—but the real tenderness is reserved for Leonard and Martin, whose mutual admiration for each other's writing consumes the last 15 minutes of the play.
'Seminar' by Theresa Rebeck - Broadway
At first I thought these rushes to judgment were satiric, comments on a culture of short attention spans and instant opinions. And it is kind of funny when the magisterial Leonard, Mr. It is also a pleasure to hear Mr. And if they seem a tad overhasty in reacting to the works of others, it is only for reasons of dramatic expediency. The creation of art is notoriously difficult to depict on stage as in film , so leeway must be allowed those who would evoke this slow and tortuous process in a brief, digestible narrative. Full of efficiently mapped reversals and revelations, the play feels as if it were written according to some literary equivalent of a mileage-saving GPS device. Rabe , whose family owns the apartment; the well-connected, preppyish Douglas Mr.
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