Patriotism is not a concept that gets a lot of love today. But this essay/book makes you think a little. Released in 1863 during the height of the Civil War, the plot’s simple: an innocent man caught up in Aaron Burr’s treasonous conspiracy stands trial for his actions. When asked to address the judge, he bitterly remarks that he wishes to be done with the United States forever. So the judge grants his wish as a punishment–he’s sentenced to live the rest of his life in a cabin aboard ships in the US Navy’s foreign fleet, and no sailor is to ever mention the US to him again. He dies many years later, an old man like Rip Van Winkle, unsure of the changing world around him. For those with some understanding of historical, you’ll enjoy the meta-fiction of it, for those that haven’t it is still a very good look into early America.
“Mary Jane,” Amy Herzog’s masterly play about a single mother with a severely disabled child, has transferred to the New York Theatre Workshop after its Yale Repertory Theatre premiere. Ms. Herzog and Anne Kauffman, the director, have done a bit of work on the script and production since it opened in New Haven, cutting the intermission and restaging the climactic scene, in both cases to good effect. They’ve also recast the show, in which Carrie Coon now plays the title role. Ms. Coon went on to TV stardom after winning a Tony nomination for her performance in the 2012 Broadway revival of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Nevertheless, she’s still a stage actor of the first rank, and in “Mary Jane” she rises to the tricky challenge of playing a very nice but rather ordinary young woman—ordinary, that is, save for her indomitable courage—in a way that is matchlessly vivid….