56°F overcast clouds

‘A LOVE LETTER TO TEACHERS’ AT TRTC

nilajacarolroseggNilaja Sun stars as teacher, students, parents and faculty in NO CHILD…, the Obie winning one woman show going up at Two River Theater in Red Bank. (Photo by CAROL ROSEGG/ Berkeley Repertory Theater)

By TOM CHESEK

Regular followers of Two River Theater Company might find themselves a bit taken aback when they check out the new show inside the mainstage Rechnitz auditorium — where the 2011-2012 season recently opened with a Much Ado About Nothing that boasted a large cast of Broadway vets, a Tony-nominated director and a script by one Will Shakespeare.

When the play known as No Child… goes up in previews beginning Tuesday, theatergoers will look upon a spare set design populated by a single performer — a player who also happens to be the playwright.

Those who feel they’re not getting their money’s worth should know that No Child… is a critically acclaimed, Obie-winning hit that’s been seen by over a million ticketholders, with over 600 performances Off Broadway as well as major productions on both coasts and both sides of the Atlantic pond.

They should also know that No Child… is not a monologue but a full-fledged comedy-drama featuring some sixteen speaking parts — young and old, students and faculty, male and female, funny and not so — all of whom just happen to be played by native New Yorker Nilaja Sun. In fact, Ms. Sun, who won that 2007 Obie for her work here, originally scripted this play for a quartet of actors, and has been carrying the workload of four people ever since the play’s earliest performances.

More →

THE STUFF OF TWO GENIUSES, AT TWO RIVER

picassobAlfredo Narciso (as young Pablo Picasso) takes to the floor with Rachel Botchan in PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE, the Steve Martin comedy opening this week at Two River Theater. (Photos by T. Charles Erickson)

By TOM CHESEK

Ever since the invisible curtain went up on its first mainstage production in 2005, the Two River Theater hasn’t been shy about showcasing the stuff of genius — be it Shakespeare, Shepard or Shaw; Moliere or Beckett; Noel Coward or Tennessee Williams.

You can add Picasso and Einstein to that Mensa mix — but if you do that, you’ll have to make room for Steve Martin too.

Yes, the star of The Man With Two Brains and Dead Men Dont Wear Plaid has a history with the Two River Theater Company, which brought a revival of The Underpants — Martin’s springtime-fresh take on a musty old German farce — to Red Bank in 2007.

Three years later, TRTC revisits the oeuvre of the Emmy- and Grammy-winning renaissance guy — with a new staging of Martin’s all-original play Picasso at the Lapin Agile, previewing tonight and continuing through June 6.

More →