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Emily DeVoti

EMILY DEVOTI is a playwright and the Theater Editor of the Brooklyn Rail. Her play The Upstart will be presented by the Irish Arts Center on September 11 at 6 P.M. To reserve (free) tickets, visit: or call 866-811-4111.

Grassroots Victory in Greenpoint

Greenpoint—its' the end of a long evening. Luscious pierogies with mushrooms and onion are wrapped in tin foil and doled out to lingering helpers.

Visions of a Tragedy, 9/11

The day was clear and the air a bit warmer than usual. The sound of sirens, helicopters and fighter jets all were new for us, or rather unusual. Confusion took over quickly and even though there were many signs that something was going to happen, no one believed it could happen to us, in our own country.

A Long Island Passage

I still wake up sometimes, in the middle of the night, sure that I’m here. Grandma’s kitchen. That haven of modernity and 1980s suburban decadence. It’s a fever dream. I feel the give of the cold linoleum under my hot feet.

When You Are Locked in the Trunk of a ’69 Bonneville

My parents hailed from New York—my mom from Hell’s Kitchen, my dad from Queens, but they were back-to-the-land-ers, and I grew up in the rural southwest corner of Massachusetts. In the early ’80s we had a shifting stock of about 18 goats, two horses, lots of chickens, and even a couple of pigs. I was between eight and ten years old, and during this time one my favorite activities was to lock myself in the trunk of the family car.

Berlin in Bed, or Three Cheers for Socialized Medicine

Most people go to Berlin for the café life, for the expat glamour and to see Brecht in constant repertoire. Others descend on the remnants of the infamous Berlin wall, now on the cusp of celebrating its first full generation of destruction and East-West reunification. Still others visit the shrines to WWII and their repetitive, repentant mantra: “Vergesst das nie” (“Never forget”). Not me.

A lesson for the Masses: Ken Loach’s Bread and Roses

“From the start, it has been the theater’s business to entertain people, as it also has of all the arts.”

A Williamsburg Neverland: Straight on ’Til Morning

Like many of us, Trish Harnetiaux has been watching Williamsburg change—as warehouses become condos, new bars crop up overnight like mushrooms, and Bedford has swelled from a trickling stream to a healthy river of ever-younger hipsters, artists, poseurs and scene-seekers.

March into Spring Theater

A year ago this month, U.S. troops invaded Iraq. This March, New York theater casts its sharp-tuned satirical eye back at the long strange trip it’s been.

The Sounds of Change: Tony Kushner’s New Musical

Nothing ever happen underground in Louisiana cause they ain’t no underground in Louisiana There is only underwater.

New York Theaters Against War

Back in October, a bunch of us got together to discuss what we as members of the theater community might do in response to the threat of war on Iraq and to the attack on civil liberties at home, how we might stop feeling isolated, discouraged, and afraid. It occurred to us that the most truthful and direct response was to use what we already do: lots & lots of different kinds of theater.

In Dialogue

The Theater of War

A leggy showgirl hides behind a scarlet veil, miming the See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil signs. "In order for evil to triumph," she proclaims, "all that is necessary, is that good people do nothing!"

The Civilians’ Disobedience

There are certain rules to interviews. Take notes. Bring a tape recorder. Try to quote verbatim. Yet when the downtown theater troupe The Civilians set out to interview people about lost objects for their newest collaborative theater piece, Gone Missing, there were only two rules. The lost object must be a tangible item (i.e.—not love, hope, dreams, or innocence, political or otherwise). And the actor must not take any notes.

In Dialogue: A Hooker with a…22 Caliber

Who doesn’t love a prostitute? Schoolgirls (young and old) fetishize her—donning fishnets and stilettos any chance they get, slipping into the role of sexual outlaw and temporarily out of the repressive patterns of everyday life.

IN DIALOGUE: Imaging Political Theater

The prevailing downtown theater aesthetic, if one can define such a thing, is perhaps a direct descendent of the avant-garde, a movement where “aesthetic experimentation” unto itself was political

In Dialogue

Anne Washburn brings The Simpsons post-electric

Something menacing always seems to be lurking at the edge of an Anne Washburn play, while at its center leaps a vivid engagement—crisp and crackling—with the unintelligible.

In Dialogue

Blue Door: Painting within the lines of history with Tanya Barfield

I am suddenly aware of the difference between my wife and me. Not that this hasn’t occurred to me before. But I am suddenly aware, in a very new and unsettling way.

Code Word Reform: Taking another look at the Actors’ Equity Showcase Code

On Sunday, July 8, from 6 to 8pm at Classic Stage Company, come show your support for AEA Showcase Code reform! Keep readin’...

A Life in the Theater: Orson's Shadow

You can make a killing in the theater, but you can’t make a living, as the infamous adage goes, and New York theater doesn’t seem to disagree, with its graph-able gap between long-run Broadway musicals and the more vital, but short-lived dramas found in non-profit or off-off Broadway showcases.

Code Word Reform

Once considered the “fringe”—home to the mysterious fire-breathing (sometimes literally) monsters at the edge of New York’s theatrical map—Off Off Broadway has been gaining steady recognition as the new foundation for the most innovative and risk-taking theatrical work in the city.

Bring the fire, bitches! Cino Nights

West Village, 1960s, long before the whitewash: when hippies were young, rents were cheap, and Carmine Street was still the realm of the possible.

Candide Returns to NYC: The Best of All Possible Worlds?

Candide, Voltaire’s classic satire skewering optimism in a corrupt world, is one of those dark, wild, and politically savvy rides that—perhaps due to our, well, overly optimistic faith in progress—we don’t expect to find in the dusty tracts of history.

Embracing the Margins: Play a Journal of Plays

But most editing conversations end in the galleys, and what the reader sees is the final product: lean, arch, narrative-driven, comments integrated, digressions lopped off in a mercenary fashion, all wrapped up in a sound-bite finish.

Excerpt from MILK by Emily DeVoti

MATT Have you ever seen it? You know, MTV? VERONICA Oh, that… Yeah. Sure.

Don Quixote: Suffering Fools Wisely

"He is either mad, or he is reading Don Quixote." —Philip III of Spain, on seeing a student bang himself on the head while laughing hysterically over a book.

What Links Our Boroughs? bridge and tunnel

“God bless America,” declares a Haitian-American woman—reciting her poem dedicated to “one certain real estate man” with round-worded, witty defiance—”but not because of you.”


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SEPT 2023

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