About Me

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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Friday, September 28, 2007

My 900th Post

Is about brain eating amoebas. Seriously. They're out there and they love global warming. I mean warm water. And warm, fresh gray matter.

They enter through the nose and feast on your brainmeats.

Where is your precious 'God' now?

Stop Her Now (She's a Lady!)

Here's a question:

Can the hatred that the political right hurls at Hillary Clinton (check out this steaming pile of bull) be accounted for in any way but sexism?

The Cloistered Community

Poetry, in the United States, is beloved by a few and is shrouded by an aura of academia and distance. It is not part of the national conversation (Maya Angelou sells more cookbooks than poetry books, I'm certain); it is not covered often by the national media, and when it is, it is usually because of uncommon acts of political activism (Sharon Olds letter it Laura Bush in 2005) or internal arguments.

Take the recent New York Times coverage of resignations at the Poetry Society of America. The article opens tellingly:

The cloistered community of American poetry has, in recent months,
become a little less like Yeats’s Land of Faery, where nobody gets old and
bitter of tongue, and a little more like Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl.”

What do you think moved poetry away from mainstream America? Will there ever be another Robert Frost?

Could this fate be coming for the playwrights of the US? Are we already there?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The New Poetry Handbook

A poem I love. Thought I'd share it.

The New Poetry Handbook
Mark Strand

1 If a man understands a poem,
he shall have troubles.

2 If a man lives with a poem,
he shall die lonely.

3 If a man lives with two poems,
he shall be unfaithful to one.

4 If a man conceives of a poem,
he shall have one less child.

5 If a man conceives of two poems,
he shall have two children less.

6 If a man wears a crown on his head as he writes,
he shall be found out.

7 If a man wears no crown on his head as he writes,
he shall deceive no one but himself.

8 If a man gets angry at a poem,
he shall be scorned by men.

9 If a man continues to be angry at a poem,
he shall be scorned by women.

10 If a man publicly denounces poetry,
his shoes will fill with urine.

11 If a man gives up poetry for power,
he shall have lots of power.

12 If a man brags about his poems,
he shall be loved by fools.

13 If a man brags about his poems and loves fools,
he shall write no more.

14 If a man craves attention because of his poems,
he shall be like a jackass in moonlight.

15 If a man writes a poem and praises the poem of a fellow,
he shall have a beautiful mistress.

16 If a man writes a poem and praises the poem of a fellow overly,
he shall drive his mistress away.

17 If a man claims the poem of another,
his heart shall double in size.

18 If a man lets his poems go naked,
he shall fear death.

19 If a man fears death,
he shall be saved by his poems.

20 If a man does not fear death,
he may or may not be saved by his poems.

21 If a man finishes a poem,
he shall bathe in the blank wake of his passion
and be kissed by white paper.

Oh Hell Yes

Thanks Josh, for the link.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

So very lame

Adam tagged me on this meme.

List 5 things that certain people (who are not deserving of being your friend anyway) may consider to be "totally lame," but you are, despite the possible stigma, totally proud of. Own it. Tag 5 others.

This is easy for me. I am one of the most lame people you know.

1. I am an unabashed fan of the Star Wars prequels. I am the only one in existence. It makes people question how I can be considered an intelligent human being. I can write you reams about them. I saw Episode I 16 times in the theaters. That should count as all five, but I will continue. Feel free to fill my comments section with doubt and dismay. I will happily defend it all and not even seem embarrassed.

2. I love to play SimCity. I do it instead of further my career.

3. I am a huge professional wrestling fan. I read this website every day. I have seen Wrestlemania live three times. (Wrestlemania X, XIX and XX.)

4. I used to really, really have a crush on Lisa Loeb. I saw her in concert when I was in high school.

5. I used to work at a Chocolate Shop and I wore a hair net when I did so. The referred to us as Oompa Loompas.

Who shall I tag?

Isaac, Josh, Scott, James and Ian. Can I do six? Is that lame? Yes. Qui.

State of Affairs

For readers who give a small darn about me, Matt Freeman, who writes this here blog...an update on my current state of affairs.

1. My throat hurts.
2. I am in the midst of completing the first draft of my new play, which is currently titled "What is a Clock." Anyone want to read it?
3. I'm reworking an older play and that's going swimmingly.
4. My good friend Josh adopted a baby girl named Clover Rose and this weekend I'll actually get to meet her! Thrilled, I am.
5. Pam is really cool. Coming up on three years in October.
6. I really have to remember to pay that ticket I got for throwing a gum wrapper onto the subway platform.
7. We're shopping for a new vacuum cleaner.
8. I'm still employed by the progressive Jesus types.
9. Did you know I have a myspace page? The front picture is my headshot from 1999. It's vaguely depressing.

How are you?

Monday, September 24, 2007


Iranian President Ahmadinejad is in town, as of this writing, sparking "protests" (although I have to be honest, I don't see that many around here) and contraversy. Personally, I don't see the contraversy. He should be allowed to speak, of course, and freely. He may say things that I don't agree with, even things I find incredibly offensive. But that doesn't stop the GOP from declaring war on Gay Rights and Immigration and Abortion Rights.

Are our beliefs so fragile that they can't withstand opposing points of view? Frankly, aren't abhorrent points of view (Holocaust denial) better aired and simply discarded and discredited? Free discussion is the lifeblood of a reasonable society. The fact that Ahmadinejad is having a moderated discussion at Columbia University is a very good thing. It exposes him to direct criticism. That's something that our own President tries very hard to avoid.

I'd also like to add that the refusal of the US to allow Ahmadinejad to leave a wreath at the Towers is pretty revolting. There were no Iranians on those planes... mostly Saudis (our allies) as far as I understand.

What scares people is nuance. There's far more gray area in his visit than the media likes to cover or that our society likes to absorb. For example, Ahmadinejad isn't particularly powerful Iran... there is far more power in the religious arm of the government. And while nuclear power in the hands of Iran is dangerous, it appears as if Iran is a rational actor in its own interests, and that it doesn't appear (at least from what I've read) to be seeking nuclear arms in order to wage war and, effectively, turn the entire world against it. Furthermore, Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial isn't unique to him in the Middle East. I'd be curious what a poll of the Iraqi Parliament's views of Israel would show their views to be. That's not to defend that point of view remotely. It's simply to identify that it appears to be a symptom of other problems, as opposed to evidence of Ahmadinejad's lone mania.

Anyhow...I'm curious what other think of his visit. Personally, I'm embarrassed by the news coverage thus far.

Huh... Internet Buzz Machine Works?

Now...who knows? But if you look at this listing 100 Saints You Should Know has gotten more page hits on nytheatre.com than the Ian McKellan in King Lear. Maybe there's something to the blogger buzz, eh?

Then again... Lear's been sold out forever and a day.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Misanthrope directed by Ivo Van Hove

EDIT: I've taken down the photo because Jaime has a very good point.

I got to see this on Friday and it was like getting run over by a chocolate-covered bulldozer, whose driver spoke only in rhyme. It made me want to shake everyone on Earth's hand. That's how cool it was.

Get some tickets. Pronto.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Misanthrope at NYTW

New York Theater Workshop sent this info along about their exciting production of Ivo Van Hove's Misanthrope for readers of this blog. Make note: this discount only lasts until September 24th.

Tickets for all performances September 14 – November 11 are just $45 each (reg. $65). In order receive this discount, tickets must be ordered by September 24.

Use code TMBLG44 when ordering.

To purchase tickets, call (212) 947-8844 or visit www.broadwayoffers.com

New York Theatre Workshop also offers both Student Tickets and CheapTix Sundays.

CheapTix Sundays: All tickets for all Sunday evening performances at 7pm are just $20 each!Tickets are available in advance but must be purchased at the NYTW box office on a cash-only basis.

Student Tickets: Full-time students with a valid student ID may purchase $20 tickets for all performances (subject to availability). Limit one ticket per ID. Tickets must be purchased in person and require an ID at the box office.

The NYTW box office is located at 79 East 4th Street (between Second Avenue and Bowery) and is open Tuesday - Saturday from 1pm - 6pm.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

General Betray Us

Listen... this is a load of f*cking b*llshit.

And so is this.

First of all, the idea that George Bush would refer to an ad which questions the integrity of a military officer as "disgusting," after running two dirty campaigns against two distinguished former members of the armed forces (Kerry and McCain), is just the height of sickening irony.

Furthermore, Bush has expressly used Petreus as a proxy for his own policies, using the General as a political human shield. If the Bush Administration can disrespect boldly, and even arrest, people like Cindy Sheehan, whose own son died fighting for Bush's illegal war, they lose the right to moral outrage. In fact, they invite and deserve the sort of skepticism that MoveOn.org dishes out.

What the hell does a political ad have to do with the war in Iraq? F*ck-all, that's what. Which is exactly why the Republicans are thrilled to be talking about it.

Linking to Frank Rich!

My God! It's a big day here at On Theatre and Politics! We can link to Frank Rich for Free!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Departures at Blue Coyote Theater Group

Make sure you check this out. And dig that poster art. Thanks for the heads up Adam.

Departures by Kristen Palmer
Directed by Kyle Ancowitz
Cara is an American ex-pat living in Britain who decides to return to the US after three years abroad. But with the death of her father and loss of her childhood home, what is she returning home to? Complicating things further is the boyfriend who refuses to let go. DEPARTURES is a touching two hander starring Keira Keeley (from Adam Bock’s Obie-winning play, THE THUGS) and Travis York (from Anne Washburn’s THE INTERNATIONALIST) that crosses time zones and continents to explore questions of family, home, and homelessness.

Featuring Keira Keeley and Travis York
Set Design: Kerry Chipman
Lighting Design: Daniel Meeker
Production Stage Manager: Susan J. Sunday

Thursday-Sunday, October 4-28 , 2007 At the Access Theater Gallery
All performances at 8pm.
Tickets: www.smarttix.com or (212) 868-4444

Filibuster kills Habeas Corpus

Why doesn't the word Filibuster appear in this article?

And what the hell is wrong with Lieberman?


Thanks to Kyle for showing me this sick parody of PostSecret.

100 Saints You Should Know - Post Previews Reviews

After all the hubub about 100 Saints You Should Know getting buzz on the blogosphere (good, bad and ugly) and all that jazz, the period for previews has passed and 100 Saints You Should Know is getting some post-print-embargo reviews.

This review shows why they pay Ben Brantley the big bucks. He's able to parse the positives and negatives of 100 Saints You Should Know rather gracefully without seeming offended by its existence or overly sunny. I've seen the show, and Brantley pretty much nails it. I would say that I think Jeremy Shamos deserves a bit more credit here for his work, but that's the way the cookie falls apart.

Funny how a little distance makes what appeared to be a crisis seem like so much fluff and clouds. Previews are over, the reviews are out, the consensus is pretty substantial, and that's that. 99.9% of the people that are reading the review of 100 Saints in the Times today have no friggin' idea that there was ever any theatrosphere throwdown about the issue.

So... what can we all learn from this?

That, in the end, this single play got more buzz than its artistic merits might have warranted by being engaged with the blogosphere?

That engaging with the blogosphere can create the wrong kind of buzz?

That it's overstatement, to say the least, to presume that some indiscretions or blog postings will have a fundamental affect on the rules of the journalistic road?

That the New York Times has around 13 million unique visitors a month and that bloggers, no matter how popular in certain circles, have merely a Fringe of a Fringe of that sort of media power?

That's not to say that blogging isn't a pretty fun way to engage in conversation, and speak in a public and democratic way about what we see and feel. We lend our passion and humor to these discussions and represent independent voices. But let's not pretend that the rules that affect media outlets like the Times are even intended to apply to, um, On Theatre and Politics or Superfluities or Parabasis.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Obama's Tax Plan

I've been following the campaign pretty closely and I have to say...Obama's not just impressing me with his star power lately.

I liked what he had to say about Iraq, but this is a substantial domestic proposal that fundamentally upends Reaganomics, supports the lower and middle class earners, and brings the act of filing your taxes up-to-date.

Note to Self

Do not mention Skull & Bones in public.

NY Times to Stop Charging for Content

Fantastic news and a smart move by the Times. Their explanation is key to the future of web-based content: it's advertising driven and driven by search engines and RSS feeders.

I'm sure they'll find page hits as blogs (like this one) and other sources link to their op-eds and use their archives.

OOB Production Survey

Over at the NY Innovative Theatre Awards website, they're conducting a survey that I think would be a fantastic addition to conversation about producing Off-Off Broadway in New York City. Of course, participation would be key.

If you're a producer, I encourage you to do so here.

I'd love to see an annual release of these figures.

One reason, of course, is to have a conversation based on facts (or at least some version of the facts) that moves above and beyond the anecdotal and philosophical discussions that permeate Off-Off Brodaway.

Moreover, this sort of thing sparks not only discussion, but interest. Box Office, Television Ratings; these things have their own sort of fans. Off-Off Broadway could certainly benefit from some measure of data that could create these sort of interested eyes.

Again, the survey is here.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Matthew Trumbull, who some of you may remember from "What To Do To A Girl" as Professor Axiomatic, or in any number of roles in my plays (Bedievere in King Arthur, Mark in Reasons for Moving, James in The Most Wonderful Love), has just been interviewed as a part of the Indie Theatre Life series at nytheatre.com. Trum's been my friend for years, and I'm always thrilled whenever he's allowed to show off a bit.

Here's where to download the podcast (right click Save-as...)

Here's the nytheatrecast blog with a bit more info.

Matt is hilarious. The story about Mary Beth Hurt is priceless. Give it a listen.


The crew at Blue Coyote does this. Great way to support the company. Buy some cool stuff, like a bib!

I'm sure most of my readers are aware of CafePress...but I'd like to suggest it as a fun fundraising tool.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

88% of Actors Unemployed?

Take a look at this posting over at Fractured Atlas.

"What I found interesting, though, were some actual stats from Actors' Equity about their members' collective employment. Apparently during the week of Aug. 20-26, only 12% of Equity members living in New York City were in an Equity show (including Bway, Off-Bway, and Off-Off-Bway)."

Definitely give it a read and check out the sources for those statistics.

(h/t TheatreForte)

More grist for the mill.

One of the uses of Code Reform is to transform those Off-Off Broadway stipend jobs into jobs that contribute to Health Insurance and help successful Off-Off companies work towards higher tiers. Essentially, there needs to be more work that pays, and that means supporting the producers that would like to pay.

Currently, many small producers pay as much as they can given the economic challenges in NYC. Many pay more than they are obligated to by the Code. We've all heard stories of books being cooked, just so actors can be paid and production values can stay high.

More successful shows means more employment for Equity actors. Seems like easy math. I hope the goal within Equity is to find an equitable (pardon the pun) solution, as opposed to playing a waiting game and doling out incremental changes ($20 tickets?) as a means of quieting unrest.

The bottom line of all of this is the health of the art form. Economic feasibility is a part of that health.

UPDATED: Now with Functional Link!

It's Sunday. I'm Blogging

Affirm me. Tell me I'm important. Express your unfounded admiration. Chortle with me over some shared joke.

My loneliness is unbearable.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Even more on Code Reform

First, the Village Voice hits with an article about Showcase Code Reform.

Now, Time Out New York features East River Commedia and their struggles with The Code.

Wonderful to see so much of this hitting the print media. Question is, of course, what effect this all is having inside Equity, if any. They must be reading this stuff.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hey...a Plan!

Love to hear what you think of Barak Obama's plan for Iraq.

A Poor Player on Theatre Education

Some wonderful thoughts about Theatre Education that I recommend:

Part 1 - How We Got Here
Part 2 - The Big Lies
Part 3 - But Is It Art?

Update: Don't overlook Theatre Ideas responses to these posts, and the overall conversation.

The Ending

Here's a question I have, partially as a writer, partially as an audience member myself:

Which works better for you...

A mediocre play with a fantastic ending?
A very good play with a not-so-great ending?

How important is that final moment to you?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What's wrong with us...

Six years after 9/11/2001... a new video from Osama Bin Laden appears, essentially thumbing his nose at the United States and, by all logic, humiliating the Bush Adminstration and the country. He's alive, he's making videos, he's talking about oil and Global Warming and telling us all to convert to Islam.

What's the news? Iraq. A war completely unrelated to the attacks on 9/11, that has been the central focus of our foreign policy since 2001. What's the discussion? The Petreus report. How is Anbar Provinence doing? There was even an interview on Fox News (of course) that dared to refer to Iraq as "essentially a war with Al Qaeda."

If there's anything that today makes me realize, it's that the propoganda machine is far more powerful than the will and reason of the American people and the Fourth Estate.

September 11th

Best thoughts to everyone today.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Indiana Jones IV Gets a Title!

I care a great deal about this. I won't lie. What do you think?


Gotta hand it to the White House: they are able to kill anyone's credibility. Even Gen. Petreaus, whose name seemed spoken of, just last year, with hushed tones, like a Nun working with the Sick.

No longer. Seems like he's been politicized just like everything else that touches the corrupting influence of the Great Eye. There is no written report, his own figures are in serious doubt, and he's giving exclusive interviews to conservative outlets.

Strangely, even with all this mess, we'll still be in Iraq for another five years. At least. Why? Because...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Hey this is neat!

via Gothamist.

The Playgoer on the Showcase Code

Great write up here (The Playgoer: Showcase Footnotes) about the Showcase Code from a variety of perspectives, including Equity. It's a great read, in conjunction with the article in the Village Voice.

This topic will keep coming up, I hope, until there is some movement. I especially appreciate, in this post, the discussion about insurance, and the exploration of the the Equity position that actor's "subsidize" Off-Off Broadway by working without a salary within the Code.

Great stuff. Do read it. And comment.

Here's something I'm curious about...

If you do support a revision of the Showcase Code in NYC, I'm curious what actions you've taken. Did you sign the petition? Have you attended a meeting? If not, why not? And would you be willing?

If you're an AEA actor, do you feel as if the Code protects you? Do you accept the idea that you are subsidizing Off-Off Broadway by working within the Code?

My Awful, Crippling Self-Doubt and Depression

Isn't it really the only reason you read my blog?

Admit it to yourself. Admit it to me.

Then we can all get on with our lives.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Indie Theater Fall Season Preview

Take a look at this new feature from the trusty Denton clan.

Blue Coyote, Horse Trade, Collaborationtown, Boomerang, New Georges, Nosedive, Stolen Chair, Waterwell and many others, all with new plays in the next few months. Pretty exciting.

What are you excited to see? Involved in any of these productions? Tell me about them!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

From the "World War III" Department

Here comes the propoganda machine.


Wanted to share something that graced my inbox with my readers. Looks pretty great.

OPERA-FOR-ALL is an audience outreach programs that begins with a series of performances at New York City Opera where all seats are offered for just $25. The festival opens with three performances on Sept 6th-8th and continues throughout the New York City Opera season where 50 or more seats in the front orchestra will be priced at just $25 a seat.

Why is City Opera having an OPERA-FOR-ALL Festival?
The Festival is a way of reconnecting to City Opera's founding mission of innovative opera at accessible prices. By generating publicity at the start of the season, OPERA-FOR-ALL is also designed to encourage attendance by first-time opera goers and spread the word in the public about City Opera's 2007-2008 season.

What are the events?
There are three performances on September 6th, 7th, and 8th for which ALL seats will be sold for $25.

Sept. 6th
City Opera Concert Celebration 7:30 p.m.
followed by an after party with the East Village Opera Company on the Promenade of the State Theater

Sept. 7th
LA BOHEME by Puccini 8:00 p.m.featuring behind the scenes video footage prior to the performance

Sept. 8th
DON GIOVANNI by Mozart 8:00 p.m.featuring behind the scenes video footage prior to the performanceWhat are the details on the events?

THE CONCERT: The City Opera Celebration Concert will showcase our orchestra in an 80-minute program of highlights from the season sung by City Opera artists.

THE POST-CONCERT PARTY: As a way of kicking off the Festival and welcoming a new audience to our house, the entire audience will be invited onto the Promenade and Ring Balconies of the New York State Theater for light hors d'oeuvres and beverages following the Concert. The East Village Opera Company, a rock band that plays opera arrangements, will provide music for the party.

LA BOHEME and DON GIOVANNI: These will be regular performances of these classic operas, featuring special behind-the-scenes videos shown at the top of the first act and after the first intermission. For many, LA BOHEME and DON GIOVANNI are works that sparked a life-long passion for opera, so we are looking forward to introducing a new audience to these works through the Festival.

OPERA FOR ALL - ALL THE TIME: This year OPERA-FOR-ALL is even bigger! In addition to the three evenings where all seats are $25, 50 or more seats in the front orchestra will be priced at $25 a seat all season long! $25 front orchestra seats for the week go on sale each Monday. No “rush line” to wait on*buy on-line and by phone.

How irrelevant you are, Mr. Freeman

So, Martin Denton posted the top searched venues on nytheatre.com, which covers more Off-Off and Off-Broadway than pretty much anyone else on the planet. What do we see?

Disney. Disney. Disney.

Certainly one might hope that the site draws casual theatergoers and then maybe exposes them to more of the scene. But I suspect that, at the end of the day, even at a website much of Indie Theater in NY views as its great defender, Disney has us all beat.

This drives me back to beating the same dead horse, if you'll pardon the cliche. (This horse is glue by now.) The biggest challenge of smaller theater is to expand its audience and reach out to new audiences in new ways.

That's why, like it or not, it behooves places like Playwrights Horizons to reach out to the blogosphere and try new platforms for creating buzz and generating ticket sales.

Happy September.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Presidential Advance Manual

This is on the ACLU website. A must-read "How To Guide" from within the Administration on insulating the President from protesters and limiting free speech.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

100 Saints You Should Know

I've read all of this and I've read this and I've also read some of these posts.

I also just saw, by way of an invitation from Playwrights Horizons, 100 Saints You Should Know. I accepted free tickets with the understanding that I might write a bit about what I thought of the play. I'll do so.

I've got all sorts of opinions about what's been said thus far about the practice of accepting tickets as a blogger, etc, etc. In the end, I'll simply practice what I preach. I've disclosed the circumstances by which I received my ticket, and I watched the entire performance.

I will say, before I write my thoughts, that I'm a playwright with a blogger account, and I don't draw any sort of income from blogging. (Or, for the most part, playwrighting.) This is all for the love of the game, kids. I'm not a member of the press. So let's all just take a deep breath.

So... what did I think of 100 Saints You Should Know? A few rambling thoughts at... um...2 am.

I enjoyed it. Many of the audience members around me seemed to love it. There were two women sitting behind me who were sobbing and shouting "Bravo" as they applauded the actors that the end of the play. Rumblings in the lobby (always a good indicator) were very positive. There were gasps from the crowd during the reveals, there was laughter on the laugh lines. This is a play that plenty of people will like quite a bit, plainly.

Is 100 Saints You Should Know going to remake the American Theater or challenge the notions of its audience? Nope. It's a play. Moreover, it's a melodrama. It gravitates towards some of the fetishes in which modern playwrights indulge: teens being shockingly articulate, religious doubt, homosexuality, and white-people-ennui. There is an air of cliche that hangs in it. Some of it is also a bit too neat. There is a cadence in lots of well-structured contemporary plays that can almost be anticipated by metronome. Good solid beats, perfectly developed to lose the extraneous and messy and superfluous. Everything adds up. The characters say the right things, or the wrong things, at precisely the right (and wrong) times. It's, in many ways, extremely effective. It's also streamlined in a way only a play can be.

I was following the story and feeling moved and touched and involved as I watched it. By the time I hit 42nd Street, my thoughts pretty immediately turned to getting a bite to eat and flipping on a Podcast.

Which is a long way to say, it's well-done and entertaining and enjoyable. The direction is extremely sound and the design is fantastic. The play itself has some really great scenes. But it didn't punch me in the gut.

Nonetheless, there's some very human stuff in 100 Saints. There are times when artifice can overtake modern playwrights and the strain of the "good writing" is all up on stage. 100 Saints doesn't seem to have that sort of heaviness. Playwright Kate Fodor doesn't seem particularly interested in impressing her audience; she seems interested in her characters.

In service of this... the actors all turn in fine performances. I was particularly struck by Jeremy Shamos as Matthew, whose first moment of being touched in the play (which comes in Act II) is one of the loveliest bits of quiet acting I've seen in quite a while.

Will Rogers was extremely impressive as well. His character, with his ADD-out-the-ass mannerisms... he just seemed like that kid who desperately needs Ritalin. I was reminded (and I mean this in the nicest way) of Billy Bob Thorton on film. The first few minutes of any performance on film by Billy Bob Thorton seems insanely mannered and actor-ly. After a few minutes, he just keeps at it until you get it.

Finally, one of the great pleasures, for me, was being able to watch Lois Smith acting live. When I was younger, and just getting interested in theatre, a teacher gave me a video copy of the Steppenwolf version of The Grapes of Wrath, starring Gary Sinise, and prominently featuring Lois Smith as Ma Joad. She floored me even before I knew, quite, how to put into words why. Of course, she's wonderful in 100 Saints.