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Author Archive | Robert Michael Oliver

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Review: ‘M. Butterfly’ at Everyman Theatre

Though written 30 years ago, few contemporary plays speak so profoundly to America’s current situation in the world as does David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly, now playing at Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre. A complex and compelling drama, M. Butterfly explores the psycho-cultural terrain of what celebrated author Edward Said called Orientalism: the West’s compulsion to romanticize and feminize the East. Butterfly premiered […]

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Review: ‘Big Fish’ at The Keegan Theatre

Family-friendly musicals are relatively rare these days. Family-friendly musicals that have adult themes are even rarer. Big Fish, with book by John August and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, is a rare bird indeed. T.S. Eliot’s J. Alfred Prufrock “heard the mermaids singing, each to each,” but he didn’t think that they would sing […]

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Review: Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF): ‘Everything Is Wonderful’

The Amish with their horse and buggy, 19th century culture; their simple, old world uniforms and habits; their infamous Rumspringa where the teenage Amish is given the opportunity to choose between the church and the outside “English” world; and, after the West Nickel Mines school massacre, the Amish’s capacity to forgive. Chelsea Marcantel’s Everything is […]

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Review: Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF): ‘Byhalia, Mississippi’

Evan Linder‘s Byhalia, Mississippi pulls theatre-goers into familiar territory: the “white trash” world of Laurel and Jim. Once there, however, the unfamiliar takes shape: amidst the gutter talk, the racist behavior, the working poor’s low life, and the familial muddle, an endearing respect emerges for the grit and determination and love of Laurel and Jim. […]

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Spine: ‘When We Were Young and Unafraid’ at The Keegan Theatre

Stepping back 45 years, America is in the midst of a social revolution, and feminist consciousness-raising sessions are underway. Radical feminists, cultural feminists, and political feminists are all calling for social change, from the passing of laws to protect women to the wholesale transformation of American society. Sarah Treem’s new play, When We Were Young and […]

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Review: ‘The Return’ at Mosaic Theater Company of DC, Part of the 2017 Voice From a Changing Middle East Festival

Mosaic Theatre Company of DC concluded their 2017 season with a riveting, deeply provocative examination of a State’s National Security apparatus on dissident individuals living and loving beneath it. The Return by Hanna Eady and Edward Mast has Her (Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan) return to Israel after an eight-year absence in America. Her mission: to repair the […]

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Review: Source Festival 2017: ‘Exquisite Depths’: Artistic Blind Date

One of the elements of the Source Festival 2017 is two Artistic Blind Dates. These collective creations bring together area artists from different disciplines to devise an original performance piece. After ten years of Source Festivals, I experienced my first Blind Date last night: Exquisite Depths, a 20-minute, three-person poetic drama exploring the murkiness of […]

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Spine: ‘Ulysses on Bottles’ at Mosaic Theater Company of DC, Part of the 2017 Voice From a Changing Middle East Festival

Last night, Gilad Evron’s Ulysses on Bottles opened the Mosaic Theater Company’s 2017 Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival. Described as an allegory, Evron’s Ulysses challenges contemporary American and Israeli audiences to acknowledge some stark and painful national contradictions. In a nation obsessed by legal systems, how often does legality hide the grossest injustices? […]

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