Yes, we’re going to die. And, yes the world will end one day. Do we really have to be reminded of this? Four productions on the New York stages will tell you why, and you’ll be grateful (as well as spiritually uplifted and transformed) by the theatrical experience.
Over at the Signature Theatre, a man redefines “stand-up comedy” while sitting in a wheelchair and cracking the best existentialist jokes you’ve heard in awhile. It's only after 45 minutes into Will Eno’s new play "Wakey, Wakey", that a second character suddenly enters, and you realize that there’s more going on with the guy (yes, his name is “Guy”, played by Michael Emerson). Who is Lisa, this new arrival (played by January Lavoy)? A loving companion, or an Angel of Death? You’ll be laughing through tears at the ultimate revelation, both in the theater and at a reception afterwards, where you’re celebrating your own life, along with the rest of the audience.
As for the history of the entire world from beginning to end, the brave Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA in Brooklyn) has resurrected "The Skin of Our Teeth", the monster epic by Thornton Wilder, from the mothballs – 35 characters and all. By the time you take Wilder’s 5,000 year journey from the ice age through prehistoric times through floods, Noah’s ark, and wars, you’ll be exhausted – but oh, what a gorgeous production, directed by Arin Arbus, offering some of the most stunning stage images of the season (by set designer Riccardo Hernandez).
"Had enough?" That’s a warning from Caryl Churchill, one of our greatest living political playwrights. Meanwhile, let’s go back into that safe, sequestered garden and heed the moral of "Everybody". “Be nice to each other,” says God to the audience, in her final farewell.
Carol Rocamora is Show-Score's newest writer. She is a theatre reviewer, educator, translator, playwright and biographer. She teaches at NYU's Tisch of the Arts and the Juilliard School. Her work has been featured in The Nation, The New York Times, the London Guardian, The Broad Street Review, and she currently writes for American Theatre and Theater Pizzazz. She's a member of Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and American Theatre Critics Association.
What shows inspire you to ask life's big questions? Let us know in the comments below!