To Kill A Mockingbird

Go see “To Kill A Mockingbird”!!!

The story feels even more relevant today than when I first read the book in high school.

The laws and the general societal attitude may have changed since the 1930s. However, the hatred, the contempt for the laws, and the increasing violence perpetrated by the alt-right have thrusted us right back into history.

Sadly, this is happening not just in the United States but, as last week’s news shows, in Germany as well.

Sea Wall/A Life

I enjoyed “A Life” by Jake Gyllenhaal more than “Sea Wall”.

Overall though, the format of the show felt more like a book reading rather than a stage performance.


safeword. at the American Theatre of Actors until July 7th.

Love this wonderful off-Broadway play about the power of self determination and self empowerment. The show explores intimate relationships, what we need and desire from our partners, and what it means to have power and control… through a cleverly-crafted story centering on BDSM and food. Oh yes, food porn is definitely involved.

Bravos for a lovely performance, safeword.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Part II

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Part II. ❤️❤️❤️

Still cried, still laughed my head off, and still wow’ed by this incredible show even though I have already seen it in London.

I like how the Lyric Theatre has been transformed. It’s bigger than the Palace Theatre (for the London production), so the main stage is grander and the seats *much* roomier. I also like small design details like the staircases and the patronus artwork.

The Lifespan of a Fact

The Lifespan of a Fact

First of all, great acting by Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones, and Bobby Cannavale that kept the audience engaged for the entire play.

I understand, at a high level, what the writers may have wanted to achieve with the script: Portray the conflicts between a fact checker, a writer who prefers the “stretch the truth”, and a magazine editor who decides what to publish.

It’s a rich topic with so many potential sub-themes to explore, all highly relevant to the present day: High-quality journalism vs monetization for a news room. The pressure on a journalist in today’s fast-paced publication cycles. The loss of fact-based civic conversations.

However, I’m bothered by some of the details in the script.

First, the play trivializes and paints “fact checking” as some narrow-minded and almost maniac exercise to reproduce a “correct” number or a piece of data… 31 vs 34… 8 vs 9… red vs brown… and misses the essence and complexities of misinformation.

Intent matters. Framing matters. “Facts” can still be used to deceive when presented in a misleading or false context, even if the numbers themselves are correct.

Second, some of the “facts” in the play are not even facts at all.

Language is NOT a fact. The script kept returning to a dispute where the fact checker called a brick wall brown but the writer insisted on it being red. Even when two people see an identical patch of color, they still may and often label the color using different words. Language reflects a speaker’s own social experience.

Verifying that a person made a specific claim in a public statement is fact checking.

Insisting that someone else uses the same language to describe your own experience is not fact checking. It’s called imposing your opinion on someone else.

It’s regrettable that a play about fact checking presents a fact checker as imposing his opinion on others… rather examining the truthfulness, relevance, and impact of claims in meaningful ways.


Noura: Play and post-performance chat at the Playwrights Horizons.

I enjoyed learning about the Iraqi experience, connected with the stories about the immigrant life, but am at a complete loss about the irrationality of religions.

The most intriguing part of the night, to me, was listening to the writer, Heather Raffo, describe the Iraqi experience.

The use of the words alone demonstrates the difference in perspectives. What is commonly referred to as the “Iraq War” in western media is the “American War” to the Iraqis.

Heather wanted to create “progressive” roles for male actors of Middle Eastern descent, referring to the characters, Tareq and Rafa’a. I had thought Tareq was super conservative and misogynist for his disapproval of premarital sex (for women only; because women are “at fault” for not resisting), disdain of single mothers, and strict adherence to traditional marriages. But then again, Heather explained that oftentimes Middle Eastern male characters appear on stage only to portray terrorists. That is her baseline.

The most tragic part of the Iraqi experience, however, is the breakdown of the society… where a society fragments and no longer trusts “the other side”… where neighborhoods erect walls and barriers to protect themselves… where cities no longer have parks because open space presents too much danger.

Even more concerning, the sectarian conflicts are starting to spread from Iraq to the various immigrant communities in the US.

I can personally relate to many aspects of the immigrant family portrayed in the play: The tension between the first and second generations. Traditions and social norms that are at odds with each other.

I’m not surprised by how religion has been turned into a weapon and source of distrust and hatred. Being an atheist, though, I don’t understand why people continue to choose to hold onto their religion (or justify their actions using religion) when it’s doing so much damage to their community, loved ones, and themselves.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is amazing!!! It’s going right up there as my favorite play/musical. Possibly even edging out Hamilton.

Incredible story telling. Stunning choreography and stage design. The two parts are almost six hours in length, but time flew by so fast because the story is so engaging.

The main characters all have their own distinct personalities. Kudos to the talented cast for bringing each one of them to life.

Angels in America

Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika. June 24th and July 1st at the Neil Simon Theatre.

Bravos to the cast for putting on this powerful and emotionally-charged play over two weekends… telling the complex and often shrouded stories about AIDS in the 1980s… and the public and private ways people tried to make sense of the unknown, the unforgiving, the “shame”, one’s impending suffering and death, or that of their loves ones.

Friends, the Musical Parody

Friends the Musical Parody. June 6th at the St. Luke’s Theatre.

The shows poster reads: “You’ll laugh so hard that your face will hurt!” 😂

And indeed I laughed so hard that my face hurt. 😂😂😂

A must-see for anyone calling themselves a Friends fan!