Theater News Online
free issue
London Theatre Reviews
NY Theater Reviews
LTN Recommendations
NYTN Recommendations
Book Reviews
Movie Reviews
London Theatre Archives
NY Theater Archives
Latest New York News
Latest London News
NY News Archives
London News Archives
Peter Filichia's Monday Quiz
Dining and Travel
London Theatre Listings
NY Broadway Listings
Off-Broadway Listings
London Tickets
Advertise with us

Subscribe
Renew
Give a Gift


Logo

Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

 
ONE ARM
at Theater Row

STILL SWINGING
By MATT WINDMAN

  KC Comeaux and Claybourne Elder/ Ph: Monique Carboni

Tennessee Williams wrote plenty of plays in the later stages of his career that are rarely performed. But even theater junkies can be forgiven for being unfamiliar with One Arm, which is now being presented off-Broadway in a co-production between the Tectonic Theater Project and the New Group. 

One Arm is based on a 1948 short story by Williams that he later turned into a screenplay that was never filmed. Moises Kaufman's production is presented in an unashamedly presentational format. A narrator even sits downstage and reads off descriptions of camera shots that were intended for the film.

Ollie, the handsome central character, is a former boxing champ who lost his arm in a gruesome auto accident. But actor Cladbourne Elder makes no attempt to hide Ollie’s missing arm, which remains in plain sight. It’s merely immobilized and attached to his torso.

The narrative is broken into flashbacks that are presented out of chronology. It begins with Ollie rotting away in jail just before receiving the death sentence for murder, and immediately jumps to him on the street as a hustler, the only work he could find after his accident.

At first, Ollie appears to have become emotionally dead. But at the last minute he finds redemption from the hundreds of letters sent to him from his former male customers.

Besides the fact that Kaufman (Laramie Project, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) is known primarily for documentary theater, the only justification for the overtly theatrical style of One Arm would be the difficulty of realistically showing Ollie both before and after the loss of his arm.

But besides the irritating use of narration, this makes for an atmospheric and undeniably intense piece of theater based on long-lost writing from one of the 20th century’s premier playwrights.

 


SUBSCRIBE TO New York Theater News
SUBSCRIBE TO London Theater News

SCHEDULE UPDATES -
Yes, Prime Minister contracts its run, while A Chorus Line expands its own.
POWERHOUSE OF THEATRE - After 11 years as the Almeida Theatre's artistic director, Michael Attenborough is stepping down to focus on directing. 

SONGS FROM THE HEART - Once the Tony-Award winning musical is set to hit London in January.


Wine, Fruit, and Gourmet Gift Baskets.
Privacy Notice   |   Front Page
Copyright © TheaterNewsOnline.com. All Rights Reserved.