Cassandra Johnson

African Simplicity?

04.24.2005 | Cassandra Johnson | Theater
"Too serious isn’t serious at all," Tierno Bokar advises the audience. Nor does it make for very dramatic theater.

Equal Portions of Black Soup

03.29.2005 | Cassandra Johnson | Theater
With time and some detachment, it emerges that Karl Marx may have been at once all too human — excessive, rash and self-obsessed — and too detached from life and suffering for his own great plan. It is is this Marx who is evoked in Jonathan Leaf’s The Germans in Paris -- continually on the defense, living in fear, and suffering from a bit of moral Tartuffery to boot.

A Glorious Gory Grotesque

03.18.2005 | Cassandra Johnson | Theater | 1 Comment
The admixture of pleasure and fear is what entertains; the menace and dread hidden beneath the floorboards of light language and my mother’s saccharine voice as she read to me about big bad wolves dressed up like grandma.

An Intoxicating Hurlyburly

03.13.2005 | Cassandra Johnson | Theater
Walking into the theater to find Ethan Hawke passed out on a couch, his rear exposed, was just the beginning of an evening of great licentious entertainment.

Walls and Other Perils of Democracy

03.6.2005 | Cassandra Johnson | Theater
Democracy's characters are all political men, who must act in front of one another. Perhaps it was no accident that as the performers declared and commented on their lines, I was constantly reminded that I was "at the theatre".

Narkissos on the Moon

02.25.2005 | Cassandra Johnson | Theater
The human mentality hasn’t evolved so much since Galileo -- most people still consider themselves the central thing around which all others revolve.

Brutal Beauty -- Richard Foreman's Lunatic Attic

02.12.2005 | Cassandra Johnson | Theater
Gods lingers over the tension between man’s primitive hunger for food and sex and his desire, as Aristotle has it, “to stretch himself out towards knowing.” This tension informs the irony of an experimental artist nostalgic for tradition, putting on a little nightmarish and wishful play, a diaspora of language and images, that longs for simplicity, order, and ritual.

Vows Made in Wine -- The Halls' "As You Like it"

02.4.2005 | Cassandra Johnson | Theater
“As You Like It” is a relativist statement, a reply to any number of absolutist queries. How should I love? How should I worship? How should I vote? The answer: As you like it.

Identity Crisis

01.29.2005 | Cassandra Johnson | Theater
Imagine finding out that the people you’ve always known as mom and dad aren’t your biological parents, and that you have a twin you’ve never met. Now try to imagine that you have a clone. Actually, nineteen of them, and you’re in the world of A Number, which takes identity crises to the Nth degree.

Unwound Dolls -- Adapting Three Sisters

01.22.2005 | Cassandra Johnson | Theater
The play began with extreme, indulgent, vulgar, drunken offstage laughter so real and prolonged that it soon spread to the audience, making for one of those great moments when performers and spectators are unexpectedly united.

A Worthwhile Celebration

01.15.2005 | Cassandra Johnson | Theater
A festival dedicated to “Celebrating Women” naturally conjures fears of the cliché and over-earnest performance art about anatomy that bores any honest audience lest it is shown the body parts in question.