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  • Article

    Sleeping Dream

    The litmus test for a successful story ballet often lies in the choreographer's ability to hold onto the thread of the tale and let it pilot the dance. In this regard, the Houston Ballet's current production of The Sleeping Beauty has to be judged a ...

    by Megan Halverson on June 13, 1996
  • Article

    Shiny Happy Creatures

    In 1991, when she appeared on the Houston art scene as a Glassell School of Art Core Fellow, sculptor Sharon Engelstein's knack for distinguishing herself in group shows quickly earned her recognition as a rising star. "Shiny and New" at Texas Galler...

    by Shaila Dewan on June 13, 1996
  • Article

    Love's Labors

    What is it about new plays and poets who live in the East Village? What is it about plays that love video? The answer may be Aristotelian in nature -- young playwrights have grown up so completely under the influence of TV that they can't write anyth...

    by Megan Halverson on June 6, 1996
  • Article

    Walking Man - Richard Long treads lightly on the earth -- and his audience's imagination

    In one of Rice professor (and Art Forum critic) Thomas McEvilley's oft-given lectures, he speculates that the earliest known art-making consisted of piling rounded stones in a heap. Because we can't determine the material purpose of these piles of st...

    by Shaila Dewan on June 6, 1996
  • Article

    Talk Soup - The Food Chain loves the sound of its own voice; luckily, so does the audience

    It would be hard to like playwright Nicky Silver if he weren't funny, and the same can be said about his new play, The Food Chain, at the Alley's Neuhaus Stage. In person, rather than chatting, Silver offers a monologue. Similarly, his play doesn't r...

    by Megan Halverson on May 30, 1996
  • Article

    New Shapes

    The Houston Ballet could be in trouble. That's one of the things that comes through clearly in the company's current production of Four Last Songs, Image and Bartok Concerto, three short works choreographed by Ballet Artistic Director Ben Stevens...

    by Megan Halverson on May 30, 1996
  • Article

    Gunning for Laughs

    What would you get if you mixed the sibling rivalry and bad food of white trash culture with physical comedy and a little Harold Pinter? Probably something like Media Darlings, local playwright Joey Berner's new production at the Zocalo Theater. Play...

    by Megan Halverson on May 23, 1996
  • Article

    In Tune

    Take some greased hair, tight T-shirts and witty dialogue, mix in a little gospel and doo-wop music, and what do you have? John Jiler's Avenue X, now in production at Theater LaB. Originally produced at Playwrights Horizons in New York, Jiler's ...

    by Megan Halverson on May 16, 1996
  • Article

    Old-fashioned Heiress - The Alley treats Henry James faithfully, and the audience is the better for it

    For its final Large Stage show of the season, the Alley has decided to go traditional in a big way, reviving with almost academic faithfulness a play written in the 1940s that's based on a novel published in the 1880s. And though more than a century ...

    by Megan Halverson on May 16, 1996
  • Article

    Revival Time

    Unlike many of the operas that have been composed in the second half of the 20th century, Carlisle Floyd's Susannah is very accessible. It features some lovely arias, touching duets and stirring choruses -- elements often lacking in other modern oper...

    by Bruce Guynn on May 9, 1996
  • Article

    Poster Points

    Visitors to "Crime and Punishment and Other New Paintings," Peter Saul's current exhibit at Texas Gallery, are greeted by a Day-Glo rendition of the Mona Lisa blowing chunks. It's a lampoon that would work as an animated promo on cable -- a red-eyed ...

    by Shaila Dewan on May 9, 1996
  • Article

    Abstract Ideas - Three current shows reveal the perils of abstraction in painting

    Over the past few years, the Texas art world has become obsessed with the validity of abstract painting. In Houston alone, three large exhibits of regional abstraction have been mounted, and panel discussions on the topic have been a big draw. Becaus...

    by Shaila Dewan on April 25, 1996
  • Article

    Broken Vows

    In promoting its new production of Vincenzo Bellini's bel canto masterpiece Norma, Houston Grand Opera has implied that soprano Carol Vaness is the Norma for this age. Such an implication raises expectations to an extremely high level, to say th...

    by Bruce Guynn on April 18, 1996
  • Article

    A Different Desire - Tennessee Williams' Streetcar comes to a stop at the Alley

    When a venerable professor I studied playwrighting under in college described what it was like to be at New York's Barrymore Theatre on the night of December 3, 1947, he would talk as much about what happened in the audience as he would about what ha...

    by Peter Szatmary on April 11, 1996
  • Article

    Faking It

    An exhibit saddled with a name that contains not only a play on words, but a sub-subhead, might well be cause for alarm. And indeed, "Justapose: Strategy and Style: Explorations in Fictional Narratives" does take itself a bit too seriously, despite i...

    by Shaila Dewan on April 11, 1996
  • Article

    Shards of Ideas - With Broken Glass, Arthur Miller reaches for more than he can hold

    Imagine a Jewish woman in Brooklyn, 1938, who's seemingly so paralyzed with fear by what she reads in the papers about Nazi Germany that, even though there's nothing physically wrong with her, she's lost the ability to feel anything below the waist a...

    by Peter Szatmary on April 4, 1996
  • Article

    Puzzling Out Mamet

    Not all 296 seats of the Alley Theatre's Neuhaus Arena Stage were filled for the opening night of David Mamet's The Cryptogram. Some that were filled weren't exactly occupied: a smattering of people left during the performance. These departures were ...

    by Peter Szatmary on March 28, 1996
  • Article

    On the Fringe - Theater LaB finds itself a good home in subUrbia

    The parking lot of a suburban convenience store in the wee hours of the morning is nothing short of a study in vacuous earnestness. That's the serious, paradoxical joke at the heart of Eric Bogosian's blistering subUrbia, one of the best American pla...

    by Peter Szatmary on March 21, 1996
  • Article

    England's Edge - "Brilliant!" shows brilliantly what's happening across the Atlantic

    You're not to think of proper manners, the Thames, Alistair Cooke or even Hugh Grant. You're to think, rather, of the Sex Pistols, royalty-mobbing tabloid reporters and How to Get Ahead in Advertising. If you've got the notion of a nation where a su...

    by Shaila Dewan on March 21, 1996
  • Article

    Lost in the Heavens - In Marisol, things fall apart -- most notably, the play itself

    As an apocalyptic urban fantasy, Jose Rivera's Marisol is too unrealized to be what it obviously wants to be: a theatrical equivalent of the second coming. Rivera focuses his play on what happens to Marisol, a young, professional Hispanic woman livin...

    by Peter Szatmary on March 14, 1996
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