NEW PLAYS BY
THE MONSTER BUILDER
In The Monster Builder, an architect from hell (literally) takes pleasure in creating chaos, whether by turning a little boathouse into a monstrosity or by designing his masterwork, the menacing Abu Dhabi Tower of Justice and Interrogation. But when he casually steals a career-making project from two fledgling architects, they decide to challenge this monster builder at his own game. The Portland Oregonian called it “a wild and witty play.” The San Francisco Chronicle described it as “equal parts sharp satire, broad farce, comedy noir and play of ideas” and praised Freed’s “near-Shavian skill in integrating her ideas into her plot.”
An examination of the cult of personality, the dangers of ambition, and the horrors of deconstructivist theory applied to actual design, this “entertaining architectural morality tale” (L.A. Times) speaks to the importance of place and of the true function of architecture at its humane best.
It would be an understatement to say that Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew has become problematic.It has been a problem for centuries, for a variety of reasons, including its notoriously dispiriting ending, which attempts to present Kate’s abject surrender as a personal victory. Amy Freed’s Shrew! is a wholesale reconception of Shakespeare’s play, written as though by a female playwright working in the 1590s.
“(Freed) has kept the rich poetics and style while reconciling it with the sensibility of a razor-sharp female writer in the 21st century,” wrote Joel Beers in the Orange County Weekly. “What Freed accomplishes in the climactic speech, as well in her tale as a whole, is [to] shift the focus from a classic battle of the sexes... into something far less political, but also far more universal and human. In this tale, gender, whether biologically or socially constructed, doesn’t win. Love does.”