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Jeff Arena rated a book 3 of 5 stars
Fashion Beast by Alan Moore
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Malcolm McLaren inspired this (a more accurate credit than calling him a collaborator) and the premise seems constructed to provide a setting for the lyrics to his single "Deep in Vogue" from 1988. Alan Moore has crafted a futuristic Beauty and the B...more
Jeff Arena rated a book 2 of 5 stars
Lovely Head and Other Plays by Neil LaBute
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This collection of short works holds few if any pieces that push Neil LaBute in new, exciting directions. They isn't much experimentation in form or theme; they're simply shorter, or orphaned works that needed companions to be published. You'll find...more
Jeff Arena rated a book 4 of 5 stars
Reasons to Be Happy by Neil LaBute
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I think Neil LaBute made a wise and telling decision to check back in with the characters from Reasons to Be Pretty. Together, these plays show more hope for people than all of his other plays combined. And while this author can be masterful with tra...more
Jeff Arena rated a book 4 of 5 stars
Reasons to Be Pretty by Neil LaBute
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This is top-tier Neil LaBute, a play in which some characters actual develop instead of simply being exposed. There's a looseness to the structure of the dialogue that feels less mannered then some of the author's works. To balance that out, there's...more
Jeff Arena rated a book 3 of 5 stars
In a Forest, Dark and Deep by Neil LaBute
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I suspect this hokey family drama/mystery will be performed regularly in the coming years, but that doesn't mean it is one of LaBute's finer works. I think the language/speech patterns are the author at his most gummy, a kind of faux naturalism that...more
Jeff Arena rated a book 4 of 5 stars
Love and Information by Caryl Churchill
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Caryl Churchill never writes the same play twice, and--more thrillingly--she never re-uses the same dramatic conceit or structure a second time, either. Love and Information is a scripts that incorporates some of the chance techniques associated with...more
Jeff Arena rated a book 3 of 5 stars
ding dong the wicked by Caryl Churchill
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A brief experiment by Caryl Churchill, Ding Dong the Wicked is a play in two parts. Like Pinter's plays, the cryptic mood and violent outbursts are never explained to the audience; they suggest, simply, that cloudy motives and murderous acts fill all...more
Jeff Arena rated a book 1 of 5 stars
Fairy Tales in Electri-City by Francesca Lia Block
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My disappointment in this poetry collection is in obverse proportion to my affection for Francesca Lia Block's writing as a whole. The same tropes, images, strategies (mixing magical realism and a jaded/punk spirit), and broken-hearted stories appear...more
Jeff Arena rated a book 3 of 5 stars
The American Theatre Wing Presents by Ben Hodges
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I find nothing more pleasant that artists praising other artists. On the other hand, that makes for a sameness of tone from essay to essay in this collection, and you will likely find yourself skimming for the parts you find most rewarding (the menti...more
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