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The Evening Feb 22, 2015

In The Evening, writer/director Richard Maxwell uses three actors, three musicians, and On the Boards' vast mainstage for a 50-minute exploration of familiar shapes and predictable patterns and what it feels like to break free. As a theater-maker, Maxwell is known in large part for his style, with actors blurting out their bursts of words in a manner that's part flat-affect/part reading-off-a-cuecard, and perfect for their resurrected-cliche personas.

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Is she leading us to extinction or did she find a way out? Feb 22, 2015

The Evening by Richard Maxwell | New York City Players brings to life a world of archetypes, mere shapes, like the signs that depict men and women’s bathrooms. A world lackluster of adornment, stripped of the acting shtick. A world full of presence, musicality, awareness and commitment in the telling of the simplest story. To attain what you desire. A story that began from walking on a street in Toulouse, France seeing a man with an arm in a sling. He is a Fighter. This Fighter must have a Lover. This Lover is a woman, rather a bartender and stripper.

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Spectacle, Specifically Anti-Spectacle Feb 20, 2015

About ten years ago, I saw one of Richard Maxwell’s plays at PS122 in New York. On the sidewalk after the show, I remember my inscrutable playwriting professor proclaiming that Maxwell was the “East Village David Mamet.” As a fan of Maxwell’s work, I was defensive and dismissed the observation as downtown, back-handed snark. However after seeing The Evening, I’m finally seeing the connection. The Evening plays like Brecht on Quaaludes directing a Mamet short.

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Interesting Directions For Performance Feb 20, 2015

Overall, I think The Evening was a step in interesting directions for performance, but didn't fully make it. There was too much attachment to the story and the characters, and it relied on actors to alienate the audience without as much help from the script as could be given. I appreciated the way the flat delivery allowed for the audience to fill in the emotional blanks with a personal story, but the difference in commitment to a lack of character from the actors lead to a confusing performance.

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The eternal burden Feb 20, 2015

The weight of the room is palpable when Beatrice begins telling a story that is clearly not her own. A story full of vivid images, from a Native American man walking into the kitchen unannounced to a struggle with a dying man and his catheter.  And when I say the room I mean, not the fictional place depicted on stage made of cardboard walls and utilitarian furniture, I mean the witnesses of the evening, the audience who bare the eternal burden of watching these actors pretending not to pretend.

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"The Place That is Not the Place" - Thomas May on "The Evening" Feb 20, 2015

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i wish i could have seen it with you Feb 20, 2015

i wish i could have seen it with you. and you and you. i'm glad i saw it with you, and also i wish i could have seen it with you. because bonfire, because bird events, because island, because istanbul. because of the thing you can't prepare for that isn't going to happen, and because we too should celebrate something from a year ago. because of missing people, and because of missing people. because i speak my heart, because i'm not gonna lie, because i like this place. because beer beer beer jello jello. because we too need someone to show us how to fight to the death.

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Letting go Feb 20, 2015

Letting go. Richard Maxwell has mastered the art of letting go. Of the preconceptions of what theater must be. Of what a script must look like. And of "how to" format a play. No wonder the New York City Players are doing so well on the other side of the States. Luckily, for us,  the character's in The Evening do not have the "letting go" thing down. In order to continue with the trend...this response will not follow the traditional format of "reviewing a play", instead, here is a list of thoughts that followed me home tonight:

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Thoughts on The Evening Feb 20, 2015

An audience gathered to see Richard Maxwell's The Evening at On the Boards last night, made up of what seemed like mostly artists- people who kept greeting each other, surprised to be at the same show on the same night. Signs were posted at the entrance which warned of the use of a smog machine, and an unloaded gun. The lights come up on a simple set- with just enough to signify a crappy windowless bar. Bare bulbs, easily sanitizable plastic chairs, upside down glasses on a counter, and a woman, seated at a plastic table.

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Familiarity Feb 20, 2015

What could I possibly say about Richard Maxwell’s “The Evening” that Mr. Maxwell, and others on this blog, haven’t already stated in much more eloquent terms?

Not much.

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