Christine Deitner

Non-Registered Critics

The Center Theatre Group presents a particularly cinematic treat with the World premiere of Ethan Coen’s A Play Is a Poem at Mark Taper Forum. Directed by Neil Pepe and presented in association with Atlantic Theater Company, the piece is a collection of five one-acts set in five very different locations featuring characters some audience members might find familiar if they are a fan of Coen brothers films. Scenic design by Riccardo Hernández features a large brick wall that can be transformed via doors, windows and via a bit of scenic magic into different locales and a lovely wood floor that feels overtly theatrical as if we were watching this play in an old Broadway house with its exposed back wall and little else to shape it. It is a raw space that lends itself easily to the sudden shifts of mood each section, or ‘Act’ as musical performer Nellie McKay calls them while maintaining a visual thread that holds it all together.