JewishBoston.com: A Provocative Collected Stories at the New Rep

Originally published on JewishBoston.com.

created at: 2011-10-18The teacher-student relationship is held in such high esteem in Jewish tradition that our sages compare it to that of a parent and child. But as students progress, they can become colleagues and even rivals to their former mentors. This challenging dynamic is at the heart of Collected Stories, the 1997 play by Donald Margulies now playing at the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown.

Collected Stories largely succeeds on the strength of its two dynamite performers, Liz Hayes as emerging writer Lisa Morrison and Bobbie Steinbach as her mentor, Ruth Steiner. Steinbach creates a figure who is equal parts Philip Roth and Elaine Stritch; a figure to be reckoned with, surely, but she doesn’t overwhelm the stage. Her measured delivery makes it clear that Ruth is a thinker, sometimes to the point of thinking away her emotions.

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Talkin’ Broadway: Brooklyn Boy

Originally published on Talkin’ Broadway.

Victor Warren and Ken Baltin

Victor Warren and Ken Baltin

We’ve all heard the platitude “you can never go home again,” but Donald Margulies isn’t listening. In his play Brooklyn Boy, now playing a limited engagement at the SpeakEasy Stage Company, Margulies counters this cliché both in his story and in his setting.

The plot follows newly successful author Eric Weiss as he takes a detour from his book tour to visit his ailing father in the Brooklyn hospital where he himself was born. The return to Brooklyn is also significant for playwright Margulies, whose early successes were all set in Brooklyn, a site he hasn’t written about since 1991’s Sight Unseen. But whether the return is significant to the audience is a somewhat more complicated question. Continue reading