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NEA/Annenberg Fellow in Theatre Criticism
"A New Drama" explores the desperate, lustful side of darkest vengeance in classic love betrayal. Cinema Noir's Coen Brothers would blush with nihilistic glee: an "ancient" (by Access Hollywood standards) stage drama that portrays with painstakingly drawn detail the anguished disintegration of a tortured soul enslaved by the grotesque savagery of petty human nature. No wonder Manuel Baus' play triumphed in Europe in the late 1800's with absurdist expressionism emerging across all fields of artistic endeavor. On our side of the pond, puritanical sensibilities focused prudishly on the impropriety of the play's central torrid love affair and missed the work's triumphant transcendence over hyper-romanticized slice of life "realism." A jovial male lead that transforms into a disgusting monster, a Frankenstein gone mad beyond reason, over betrayal by a virginal babe with comely heaving bosom, so locked into victimized sexual repression that only a dedicated Freudian could truly love or tolerate her....it's delicious sustenance for those whose hearts long for a dark night of the soul and no facile endings where lovie-dovieness blithely conquers all and everyone lives happily ever after. Like slivers of rich bittersweet chocolate on the palate, MBS Production's "A New Drama" foments a crescendo of guilty pleasure with each sensual ensnarement-driven scene. Guaranteed to whip up the flagging ardor of well-seasoned lovers, or to inspire those daring to stray outside the bounds of conventional coupling...
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