According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Beauty of the Father, by Matt Windman

In a Nilo Cruz play, the lyrical and metaphorical use of dialogue sends his audience into a suspended, poetic world of uninhibited sexual passions, imminent dangers, and vibrant Latin American culture.

Cruz suddenly gained national attention three years ago when his play “Anna and the Tropics” unexpectedly won the Pulitzer Prize. “The Beauty of the Father,” his newest play, is now receiving its New York premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Off-Broadway space at City Center.

Whereas “Anna” is an actual history play, “Beauty” takes place in the present day but conjures the spirit of the Spanish poet-playwright Federico Garcia Lorca as a narrator. Upon arriving in Spain, an American girl meets her father for the first time, gains feelings for his Moroccan companion, and ultimately becomes consumed and entangled in this unfamiliar foreign culture.

Clad in white, Oscar Isaac creates a mischievous but mysterious presence out of Lorca. Ritchie Costner, as the father figure, projects a kind of melancholy in the midst of impossible desire and unfulfilled youth.

Though the plot devices still seem undeveloped, Michael Grief’s eloquent choreography and stunning use of stagecraft ultimately makes “Beauty of the Father” a meaningful, magical, must-not-miss experience.

Manhattan Theatre Club at City Center, 131 West 55th Street, 212-581-1212, $48. Tues-Fri 7:30pm, Sat-Sun 2:30 & 7:30pm.

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