Buzzer: A Testament to Love, Change, and Chaos

The Public Theater’s lights dim, chatter hums to a halt, and suddenly audience members are submerged into the intimate struggles and triumphs of Jackson and Suze. Jackson, a successful lawyer raised in an urban slum and played by Grantham Coleman, convinces his girlfriend Suze, portrayed by actress Tessa Ferrer, to move into his childhood neighborhood. He promises the potential of the neighborhood and in the process poses a query concerning gentrification: is change a necessary vehicle for the greater good, or is it a disruptive burden? This concept is illustrated from the play’s beginning, when the residents, eager to explore their new home, discover a broken buzzer. Suze subsequently realizes that Jackson’s friend, a recovering addict named Don (Michael Stahl-David), will be the couple’s live-in roommate. The trio’s time together is dominated by harassment from neighbors and by turmoil within the group.

Sofia Buzzer 2The play’s writer, Tracey Scott Wilson, elegantly weaves conflict into the framework of the play by creating multifaceted characters who are plagued by their own pasts and convictions. Jackson is haunted by his childhood; Don is addiction’s prisoner, and Suze is conflicted by her growing attraction to Don. Their close quarters cause dramatic outbursts, and the play is a test of time and relationships. By living together, the protagonists are able to see into each other and understand one another despite their difficulties. However, seeing each other in a different light means accepting the responsibilities that accompany darkness.

The director, Anne Kauffman, executes the intimate nature of the characters’ relationships by incorporating tense and relatable dialogue and seamlessly blending these moments with friendly exchanges. The initial warm closeness of the characters is further exemplified through the comfy nature of the setting. The pristine feeling of the apartment is a stark contrast to the worn nature of the characters’ struggles, which are eventually exposed. Though seemingly fresh, their arguments are continuations of past disagreements. The characters bring out the worst in each other, and the melancholy undertones of their screaming matches strike close to home in a familiarly grim way. People, like buzzers, are often broken passages into the troubles of humanity.


Intern’s Pick

Each week, one of our teen programs interns presents their top picks of arts and cultural events just for you. This week’s picks are from Keila Peralta.

ForeverForever Image
Friday May 22 and Saturday May 23 @ 2PM & 8PM; Sunday May 24 @ 2PM
New York Theater Workshop
79 East Fourth Street
New York, NY, US, 10003
$5 with High 5 Tickets

Long-time New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect Dael Orlandersmith (Yellowman, Monster, The Gimmick) returns to the Workshop with an uplifting semi-autobiographical exploration of the family we are born into and the family we choose. Forever draws from Orlandersmith’s own pilgrimage to the famed Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris — the final resting place of legendary artists such as Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. At the graveside of these timeless artists, Orlandersmith finds unexpected grace in a gripping tale of the legacy a daughter inherits from her mother.

The Tempest – Shakespeare in the ParkThe Tempest_Interns Pick
March 27 – July 5, 2015 @ 12:00PM
The Delacourt Theaeter in Central Park
81 Central Park West
New York, NY 10023
Free Tickets

It’s one of Shakespeare’s classics! Prospero unleashes a storm to shipwreck his traitor brother who stole his throne, settling the score once and for all. But bitter revenge is flipped around by newfound love in this masterpiece that proves we are all “such stuff as dreams are made on.” Tony Award nominee Michael Grief directs and you will see Academy Award nominee Sam Waterston return. Shakespeare in the Park is presented by The Public Theater.

Simon Hantai Pliage: The First DecadeSimon Hantai Pliage_Intern Pick
April 28 – June 26, 2015, Tue–Sat @ 10AM–5:30PM
45 E 78th St.
Mnuchin Gallery
New York, NY 10075

In 1960 Hantaï, a Hungarian-born French artist, developed a style he called “pliage.” It involved folding, crumpling, tying and trampling on canvas before painting the areas left exposed. This show revisits his earliest efforts with the technique that became his signature and defined his role as one of postwar Europe’s key abstractionists.

Solomon R. Guggenheim MuseumGuggenheim Building
Friday – Wednesday @ 10AM-5:45PM
1071 Fifth Avenue (at 89th Street)
New York, NY 10128-0173
Admit 2 people for $5 with High 5 Tickets

An internationally renowned art museum and one of the most significant architectural icons of the 20th century, the Guggenheim Museum is at once a vital cultural center, an educational institution, and the heart of an international network of museums. Visitors can experience special exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, lectures by artists and critics, performances and film screenings, classes for teens and adults, and daily tours of the galleries led by museum educators. Founded on a collection of early modern masterpieces, the Guggenheim Museum today is an ever-growing institution devoted to the art of the 20th century and beyond.


Theater at the Disco

What do you get when you mix two parts Talking Heads concept album with a bloody presidential regime and a British DJ? An immersive musical theater production composed by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, Here Lies Love tells the story of the late Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ wife, Imelda Marcos, through karaoke, disco dancing, and a lot of projectors. Aggressively original, this show spans countless genres in its genuine effort to convey the story of the Filipino people under the Marcos regime. [Read more…]

A Giant Impact

Giantdirected by Michael Grief and based of the 1952 novel written by Edna Ferber, is the story of a man trying to protect  his home of Texas while creating a family. Jordan Benedict, known as Bick (Brian D’Arcy James) basically runs his town in Texas and plans on keeping it the way it was run by his ancestors. He falls in love with Leslie (Kate Baldwin) and marries her despite the disapproval of his sister Luz (Michele Pawk).

[Read more…]

Giant at the Public

If you are a fan of excess in a play then Giant is surely for you. That title might ring a bell, if you’ve read the book, by Edna Ferber, or perhaps seen the movie, directed by George Stevens. The play is set Texas, spanning a number of years, but starting in the 1920s. Jorden “Bick” Brendon falls in love with Leslie, who comes from a sheltered life in Virginia. Leslie, has to learn to adjust to life at a cattle ranch and to deal with the Texas matriarchy. Problems arise, such as Bick’s sister’s disapproval of Leslie, racism, and the change of farmland to oil wells. While it’s fun to watch people in western outfits run around and proclaim their love for the land, the highlight of the play was the orchestra. The music and lyrics by Michael John Lachiusa are very impressive. The orchestra is set up so it floats above the stage in plain view of the audience. The play uses many screens and different types of lighting to make the musicians sometimes disappear and become the endless Texas sky. [Read more…]