Archive for the ‘plays’ Category

Chicago Production of Coronado Best of ’07, Says Tribune

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Chicago Tribune theatre critic Nina Metz named the Steep Theater Company’s production of Dennis Lehane’s play Coronado one of the top five storefront productions of 2007, saying “The actors swerved from playful seduction to cat-and-mouse anxiety, and I bought it every step of the way.”

Congratulations to Dennis and all of the fabulous people at Steep!

Another Star for Coronado

Friday, August 4th, 2006

Library Journal gave Dennis Lehane’s CORONADO a starred review in its recent issue:

Long before he became well known for Mystic River (2001), Lehane was writing short stories and teaching creative writing. This modest-sized volume of five previously published stories and a two-act play aptly show off his talents. There’s not a wasted word in these dark, spare tales about disenfranchised males of the South. “Until Gwen” moves like a chess game, pitting a heartbroken Bobby against his amoral father. Readers can appreciate it even more after reading Coronado. The play brings seemingly unrelated characters together in a bar (plenty of drinking and gun toting in these stories), and Lehane cleverly weaves them together, watching to see if we can figure out the crime. Just what is the ultimate crime (“What’s worse than murder?” asks one character) might be the author’s main theme, as Bobby, Elgin, Blue, and the others repeatedly flail against some tide they cannot control. Highly recommended for those who appreciate the psychological fiction of Pete Dexter and George Pelecanos and essential for libraries populated by aspiring screenwriters and playwrights.

Read more reviews here.


Coronado Makes the Grade

Monday, July 31st, 2006

The Boston Herald gave CORONADO an “A” in its recent review. We’ve reprinted it here in its entireity:

Famous for such works as “Mystic River” and “A Drink Before the War,” one would think that Massachusetts author Dennis Lehane couldn’t possibly outdo himself. You’d be wrong.

Lehane’s newest book, “Coronado,” a collection of five short stories and a two-act play, is a brilliant, insightful and intriguing literary voyage. Lehane’s ability to create complex and believable characters using simple prose is his best asset, one that he uses to full advantage.

He starts off strong with the moody Southern drama “Running Out of Dog.” Set in rural South Carolina, this is a fascinating story of the relationship between two men – one, a disillusioned Vietnam veteran trying to make sense of life; the other, an unstable ne’er-do-well whose dangerous infatuation with a childhood friend threatens his life.

Lehane’s genius is in the intricacy of the relationship. He draws these characters so realistically that their eventual downfall is especially poignant.

Though a native of Dorchester, Lehane has a strong grasp of Southern life. The characters and the fictional town are finely sketched. Even more impressive is Lehane’s ability to touch upon some of the most fascinating aspects of the human condition: the devastating effects of poverty on the soul, the battle between hope and fate and the inexplicable nature of human sexuality.

“ICU,” a story detailing one man’s journey to learn the meaning of empathy and love, is one of the more fascinating pieces. Tipping its hat to Franz Kafka’s “The Trial,” “ICU” follows Daniel, a non-descript Everyman who is being followed by mysterious men in suits.

One gets the impression that Daniel is being judged, that the surreal circumstances surrounding him are meant to somehow force him to confront his shortcomings. Once again, Lehane allows this character to develop at his own pace and merely sets things in motion. Absent of any moralistic condemnation, Lehane’s approach to Daniel doesn’t seek to accomplish any social, political or moral agenda.

“Coronado: A Play in Two Acts” is Lehane’s masterpiece. Interweaving the lives of several bar patrons, the short story-turned-play is a clever and insightful exercise in observing human beings at their best and worst. And if the plot isn’t enough, Lehane throws in a few twists you don’t see coming.

“Coronado” is an exciting, frenetic read that draws you into the lives of characters, lifestyles and locales that are not only colorful but engaging. Locations are vivid and crisp, characters are memorable and, most importantly, the story lines dig into you and leave their mark.


Does Coronado Have What "IT" Takes?

Friday, July 14th, 2006

Dennis Lehane’s Coronado has been nominated for the 2006 New York Innovative Theatre Awards “Outstanding Original Full-Length Script” award.

At a ceremony held at the end of the theatre season, the IT Awards honor extraordinary Off-Off Broadway work, so stayed tuned to see if ARLA’s own is a winner!


Kirkus Calls Lehane’s Latest a Knockout

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

Kirkus Reviews sang the praises of Dennis Lehane’s forthcoming CORONADO, giving it a starred review:

Tough-as-nails crime fiction transcends genre in this first collection of five stories and a play (developed from one of them) from the Boston-area novelist (Sacred, 1997, etc.).

One hopes Clint Eastwood (who directed the Oscar-winning film based on Lehane’s superb Mystic River, 2001) will take a close look at “Running Out of Dog,” a pungent slice of Southern Gothic noir populated by runaway canines, restless Vietnam vets and the alluring women who seduce them into one another’s paths, fateful confrontations, and a savage fulfillment of its narrator’s observation that “when hope comes late to a man, it’s a dangerous thing.” This one is a classic: Robert Stone at his most unrelenting, with nerve-grating additional material contributed by Jim Thompson and dialogue by George V. Higgins. Lehane shows his talent for narrative economy in a brisk tale of revenge for drug-induced manslaughter (“Mushrooms”) and a surprisingly rich account (“Gone Down to Corpus”) of Texas high-school football jocks trashing the elegant homes of their “betters,” their destructive energies propelled by what the story’s narrator calls “something . . . I’m mad at, something I can’t put a name to.” The taut, disturbing “Until Gwen” employs grating, accusatory second-person narration to explore the murderous bonds linking a soulless con man, his hapless son (and sometime accomplice) and Gwen, whose fate drives the story toward its excruciating conclusion. And if all this weren’t sufficient evidence of Lehane’s virtuosity, there’s “Coronado” which expands “Until Gwen” into a two-act play (premiered in New York in 2005) that reshuffles its aforementioned characters into three doomed couples who enact a murderous and suicidal progression through dynamic action, detailed flashbacks and harrowing fantasy sequences. It’s a knockout performance.

An impressive step forward for a writer of commanding gifts, who seems poised on the threshold of even greater accomplishment.


Times Crowns CORONADO

Friday, December 9th, 2005

The New York Times gave Dennis Lehane’s play CORONADO a rave review this week:

Six People Walk Into a Bar, and a Drama Breaks Out

John Lennon’s creepy cover of “Be My Baby,” the perky 1963 hit by the Ronettes, is playing as the lights go down at the start of “Coronado,” a seductive new throwback of a play by Dennis Lehane. Two hours and many revelations later, it becomes clear what an apt choice of scene-setting music this is, full of double meaning and tapping into that unsettling place where the familiar turns eerie.

Mr. Lehane, a novelist whose books include “Mystic River” (the source of the Clint Eastwood film), makes smart choices in “Coronado,” his first play. He starts things off in a tried-and-true setting, one of those bars that exist primarily in theater, where people go to have loud life-changing conversations that no thinking person would hold within earshot of strangers. But once he has set the tone by invoking the conventions of the genre – shady characters; sex and murder in the air – he shakes things up by throwing the rules of time out the window.

Three pairs of drinkers inhabit this barroom at the start: a psychiatrist and his female patient (Jason MacDonald and Kathleen Wallace), who are arguing about the sex they have already had; a married woman and her lover (Rebecca Miller and Lance Rubin), who look as if they might have sex right there in the saloon; and a father and son (Gerry Lehane – Dennis’s brother – and Avery Clark), who are preoccupied with a stolen gemstone. The fun is in seeing how these tableaus are connected (a puzzle that’s not completed until the action shifts to a fairground in Act II). The playwright doles it all out at an admirable speed, so that you’re figuring the secrets out just about the time he’s revealing them – not an easy trick.

The actors of the Invisible City Theater Company, under David Epstein’s direction, play it full throttle, as if to say, “So what if the peak of the barroom/diner play was back in the last century?” The claustrophobic Manhattan Theater Source space meshes nicely with the material, too.

CORONADO continues through December 17 at Manhattan Theater Source, but it’s sold out, so we hope you’ve already bought your tickets!


Jonesing for a Lehane fix?

Monday, November 21st, 2005

Then you’ll be pleased to know that in September 2006 William Morrow will publish a new collection titled CORONADO. It will include the play of the same name and five short stories.


A New Play from Dennis Lehane

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

The Invisible City Theater Company will premiere Dennis Lehane’s CORONADO, directed by David Epstein, on November 30th. The play will only run until December 17th, so don’t miss it!