Friday, November 7, 2014

My culture is dying--like salt--a simile fromSarah Ruhl's new play

#Sarah Ruhl  is  a playwright with an  original and  often poetic voice.   Her latest play, The Oldest Boy is  about  a woman married to a Tibetan  Buddhist faced with the   shocking news that her child might be a  reincarnated Lama.   Her husband at first resisted marrying  her as it would mean being untrue to the  demands of his  cultural heritage,  the   romance does  move forward  despite  his metaphorical  reasoning  below:

I have to marry someone of my culture. My culture is dying. It's like salt I have to marry someone of my culture. My culture is dying. It's like salt dissolving into water, my people dissolving. If you put a small amount of salt into a very large pool of water, and take a sip, the water is no longer salty. It disappears.

Here's the link to my full review:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A #simile from #Suzan-Lori Parks masterful new play

 S#uzan-Lori Park has written her best and most ambitious play yet.  If  the  other triptyches  planned to take her  Civil War  odyssey,  #When Father Comes Home From the War (Parts 1, 2, 3)  to the present,  are as good, she's sure to win another Pulitzer.
Her theme is ambitious,  her writing both lyrical  and earthy.   Here's  her central character, the anti-heroic Her's   similistic sum-up of   the choice faced when his master offers him freedom if he accompanies him to  the battlefield.
He dangled it in front of me. My Freedom.  Like a beautiful carrot. Like a diamond. And those scraps of uniform and the diamond Freedom glittered . . .but while I so wanted to I was still thinking on the bald fact that in his service  I will be helping out on the wrong side.
 Here's a link to my  full review:

Monday, October 6, 2014

F for metaphors- A+ for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

The  thrillingly staged  New York production of  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is about a 15-year-old autistic savant.  One of his quirks is an absolute  belief in truth-telling which to his thinking turns even a metaphor into a lie. And so he  explains why  he feels  his teacher's example of metaphors into untruths:

 He was the apple of her eye. (Christopher:  imagining an apple in someone’s eye doesn’t have
anything to do with liking someone a lot and it makes you forget
what the person was talking about.a pig is not like a day)
They had a skeleton in the cupboard. (Christopher: People do not have skeletons in their cupboards)
 He was the apple of her eye. (Christopher:  imagining an apple in someone’s eye doesn’t have
anything to do with liking someone a lot and it makes you forget hat the person was talking about.

But  though comparison  phrases  don't  get  a  good  review from Christopher,  our review of  Adam Sharp's  performance and this  unusual    play  is  an A-plis.

To read all about it

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Icebound's dying matriarch is tight-mouthed ad a bear trap

 A family of selfish, greedy, mean-spirited rural New Englanders are the core of Icebound.  This  play by Owen Gould Davis, Jr. that received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1923 is being given a  fine revival at the tiny Metropolitan Playhouse.  As  the play opens  the family is gathered at the deathbed  of  its  wealthy matriarch, eager to  claim their share of her estate, but without a clue as to 
 A family of selfish, greedy, mean-spirited rural New Englanders are the core of Icebound.  This  play by Owen Gould Davis, Jr. that received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1923 is being given a  fine revival at the tiny Metropolitan Playhouse.  As  the play opens  the family is gathered at the deathbed  of  its  wealthy matriarch, eager to  claim their share of her estate, but without a clue as to  what to expect. 

As  her eldest son explains   she's as tight-mouthed as a bear trap.

Here's a link to the full review

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

a simile trom #ivo Van Hove's latest at #New York Theatre Workshop

Ivo van Hove's   ingenious  stage concept  for Ingmar Bergman's   classic film about  the difficulties of  marriage,  stays true to the original  plot,  which includes  a  touching scene in  the female half of the troubled couple's  law office  where  a long married woman  insists  on a divorce even  though  it's probably too late for her to find love.    She sums up her reasoning with the following simile:

I think I’m capable of love, but it’s all sealed off from me, like it’s in a locked room.

To  read my review of  this  unusual production    here's  a  

Friday, September 5, 2014

A simile from A.R. Gurney's notes for #The Waysside Motor Inn

In its own way reading a play can be as interesting   as seeing it,  especially if  the playwright hasn't abandoned   notes as so many modern  ones have.   This was not the case  with  A. R. Gurney's  1977  play  The Wayside Motor Inn, the first of the three  presented as part of his  2014  Residency One  at the  Signature Theater Center.    The playwright undertook   a complicated   concept  in that  he  assembled   five  vignettes  and  five  pairs of   characters for  a  ight in a motel outside of Boston.  Since  the rooms all look exactly alike,   all ten actors  commingle their  stories on one set.  

Mr. Gurney's   script notes    detail  exactly  how he wants to have the audience see the first character on stage,  a traveling salesman,  settle into his room:  "From his inside pocket, he takes his address book and ballpoint pen and places them by his briefcase. Then he opens his suitcase, takes out a partially used bottle of bourbon, and places it by the ice. Then he puts his suitcase on the rack over the closet.    He then  sums  "these instruction   up with  this simile: 

He is like a hunter staking down his campsite at the end of the day.
 For more about the play,  read  my review

Monday, July 21, 2014

A simile from #Renee Fleming's stage debut at WTF

Tony winning playwright Joe Di Pietro has adapted  Garson Kanin's  last play (a flop) to serve  as  opera star Renee Fleming's  stage debut.   She does just fine,  and Di Pietro and director  Katherine Marshall have   permeated  this new version  with  lots  of  musical  snippets for Fleming,  as well  as  Douglas Sills her director husband. Not having seen  the original,  I don't know  if this simile  in which  the  middle aged diva  retorts to her  philandering husband's  complaint about spending too much money on clothes as follows:

Your public stares at the back of your head.
        Mine drinks all this in, like a fine burgundy

To read my detailed overview with  images from the premiere production at Williamstown Theatre Festival, click this link:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

She wore her intelligence like an apron

  wore her intelligence like an apron, and her creativity like a pair of work shoes.
--Harvey Fierstein  on hearing about the  poet/playwright/performer's  death

Monday, May 19, 2014

Linda Lavin's latest monster mom arrives like some terrible hurricane

The  world premiere  of Nicky Silver's  play Too Much Sun  was written especially for Linda Lavin.    Like   Rita Lyons  of   Silver's last play for  Lavin,   Audrey Langham of Too Much Sun is a flamboyant, razor-tongued survivor  who is  as needy as she is   funny.
Audrey,  unlike  the once married Rita,  is  a much married, successful actress.  However, she is no more  content and, in fact, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, having lost her passion for acting as well as  all her money She therefore walks out  on the play she's to star in and  arrives  unannounced at her estranged  daughter's  house.

The  daughter's  reacts to  her mother's    sudden  visit and  shocking revelation about  her  financial status with this simile for  the mother's  unexpected  arrival:       
And then you show up, without warning, like some terrible
hurricane, and drop this bomb on me.
 Here's a link to my review of the play:

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Life is a cabaret. . .

Cabaret  is  as close to perfection as  musical theater can get  and currently  Alan Cumming is back at  Studio 54-cum-Kit Kat Klub in his career-making  role  as the  androgynous, serpentine Emcee.

One of  the  non-stop hit songs is, of course, a metaphor:   Life  is a cabaret.

The  title of  the  non-musical  adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's  wonderful  Berlin Stories,  was inspired by this metaphoric line: "I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking."
Here's a link to my review of the current revival:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

some similes gone missing from Act One the play

Moss Hart's  Act One  is one of  the best and most successful   memoirs by a theatrical   legend  ever written.   It  worked as  an inspirational guide for  future  theater professional,  but Hart's personal  rags-to-riches  story   was not limited  to theater aficionados.   Hart  wrote  touchingly and with enormous  psychological insight.   While James Lapine is   also  a noted  man of  the theater,  his  stage adaptation of  the  book is  an  enjoyable but flawed  entertainment.   It  retains much of  Hart's text  but some  of   the  most pungent   imagery (especially similes)   have  gotten lost in  translation.  To cite just a few of  these misplaced gems:

Aunt Kate sailed down the aisle like a great ship  coming into port. . .

The enormity of what I had done settled over me like a suit of mail.

optimism was again flowing through the theatre like May  wine. . .

I've  seen them   (plays  in previews)  go all kinds of  ways, but this was like spraying ether.

He waved me away as though I were an insect buzzing about his head. . .

With each new play the playwright is a Columbus sailing uncharted seas

Here too is a link to my review of the play:

Hedwig's Angry inch is "like a sideways grimace/on an eyeless face

No contest:  The smartest,  most exhilarating   transfer of a  downtown  show to Broadway  is  Hedwig and the Angry Inch --  and  the  most  amazing performance is  Neil Patrick Harris's   performance as the  transgendered title   character.   Here's a link to my review:

And for you fans of  figures of speech--  here a few lines with a simile from the  show-stopping title song. . .

  A One Inch Mound Of Flesh
 With A Scar Running Down It
 like A Sideways Grimace
On An Eyeless Face.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Poetic simile inspired title for A Raisin in the Sun

What happens to a dream deferred? 
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?

The  above  raisin simile  in Langston Hughes' poem  "Harlem [2]"  inspired the title and theme of Lorraine Hansberry's  groundbreaking play A Raisin in the Sun.  Sadly  Hansberry died too young,  but fortunately she didn't  defer her dream  before writing  this wonderful play that currently being given a wonderful  Broadway revival

Her  script  includes   this  potent simile  from the Younger family's matriarch:
"He finally came into his manhood today, didn't he. . . Kind of like a rainbow after the rain .
like a raisin in the sun?

Below a link to my review

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A song full of similes from If/Then

The  recently opened new musical, What/Then   is  a triumph for Indina Menzel,  though  reviews of the show overall have been mixed.  Though Menzel  is the  ticket selling draw,  she's  well  supported and  one of  the show's  best  songs, "It's a Sign"  is sung  by  LaCanze's  characte .  It  also  features some  nice   some  nice similes.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A play about a woman "like a wounded bird in a wood"

 A World War I  widow  in David Grimm's new play about  the plight  of  women   during that difficult  women raised only to  be wives and mothers,  without  self-supporting  skills.
Yet,  the   impoverished woman    whose  friend   uses  the  following  trope  to  describe her  vulnerability.    "She's  the fragile sort. Wasn't raised to survive on her own. Like a wounded bird lost in a wood."
Helena, the woman thus described, is played by Nina  Arianda.  Though suffering the loss of her husband as well as  financial security, Helena   is  strong enough  to  survive  and  heal those  "lost bird" wounds.  The play-- Tales From Red Vienna-- is a world premiere at Manhattan Theatere Club. Here's a link to my review:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  Simile of the day: Every play is launched like a squid in an obscuring cloud of spectacular publicity (originally  about  films by Dudley Nichols

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Guess who's interesting as a wire hanger without a glamourous gown?

Charles Busch's  latest play, The Tribute Artist has had mostly mixed reviews.  While  it's always fun to see him in wig and gowns the plot  is too convoluted and   as  my friend and colleague Michael Sommers of the New Jersey Newsroom said, he's  not written himself  an ideal main character.  He  trumped this opinion with  an apt simile.  

Curiously, the title figure is rather a dim bulb: Jimmy only comes alive when he depicts vintage movie dames. Otherwise the poor guy is as interesting as a wire hanger without its glamorous gown.
 For  Curtainup's  take on the play:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

To comma or not to comma, that is the question

Will We Use Commas in the Future?

By Matthew J.X. Malady

In his amusing article "Will We Use Commas in the Future? Maybe"  Matthew J. X. Malady explores the question . about the comma as an endangered species, ( 

 Mallady used this food metaphor  to  explain the dilemma. . .

In some ways commas are like ketchup and mustard. We’re glad those things exist. They surely make our french fries and hamburgers taste better. But we’d all survive without them. Some assert that the same is true of commas.
The article  includes  Linguist and Columbia University professor John McWhorter suggestion   that we “could take [the commas out of] a great deal of modern American texts and you would probably suffer so little loss of clarity that there could even be a case made for not using commas at all.”

As for me,  I'm all for the comma but would add my own metaphoric take. . . adding a comma to a sentence is like stopping to catch your breath. But to avoid comma excess,  use the comma  when you need to take a deep breath,  take a pass if all you need is a  quick pause.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Guess who' s describing who as "built like an office safe

 I'm looking forward to seeing the Keen Company's  revival of  Paddy Chayefsky's  Middle of  the Night.  Still,   Maureen Dowd's  NYTimes Op Ed  (Still Mad as Hell, Feb. 8, 2014, I  can't  help wishing they'd  opted  Chayefsky  by  doing is   terrific and more scarily timely than ever  <i>Network</i> .

 Of course, any  production with  Chayefsky-line  is  worth seeing and  makes anyone old enough to remember yearn for  the wonderful  stuff  seen on the home screen during the golden era of TV plays.

Collins  piece  described   the   late writer, who died of cancer in 1981  as   bedraggled and “built like an office safe.”

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Christopher Plummer-- shy as a hand grenade

The 84-year-old Christopher Plummer  wrote an autobiographical  solo show  for himself in which he   offers himself up as a humble vassal to the likes of Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens, and Rudyard Kipling who gave comfort during his painful boyhood, buffeted by his parents' divorce.

Soon, Wilde and others became the vessels by which he transformed himself into a jaded gentleman about as "shy as a hand grenade." 

To read  our LA critic's  review, click the link below

Thursday, January 30, 2014

You'll soon meet a "with recriminations pouring out of his mouth like bad greeting cards."

 It's been fifteen years since I saw  Donald Margulies's   Pulitzer Prize winning marital drama  Dinner With Friends.  I therefore look forward  to  revisiting  its  two  couples. courtesy  of  the Roundabout Theater's revival  at  its Laura Pels theater.   In  the meantime   a  simile  which  I assume  remains in  the  script:

A  wife's  husband  walks out on her with a tirade of recriminations " pouring out of his mouth like bad greeting cards."

Monday, January 20, 2014

Downton"Edith: about as mysterious as a bucket

 The January 19th episode of Downton Abbey provides this  amusing simile from  Lady Mary:

“Edith is about as mysterious as a bucket.”

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fretful as a bird --that's a character in Jon Fosse play

In  his review of  Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse's play, I Am the Wiind   our critic   uses this simile to  describe  one of its  key characters:

The Other is aptly named. Occasionally playful, but mostly fretful as a bird

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Metaphors that would be effective similes

"A play is a poem standing up." -Federico Garcia Lorca

This is  one of  those  metaphors  that  with the  addition of  "like" would  be as effective as a  simile