Press for HONEY BROWN EYES
THEATER: All 'Eyes' on man's inhumanity
Play depicting Bosnian conflict shows intimacy, brutality in war
Friday, October 31, 2008
"The grotesqueries and moments of grace in the Bosnian War are illumined in Theater J's world-premiere production of Stefanie Zadravec's play "Honey Brown Eyes," directed with taut intensity by Jessica Lefkow and featuring searing performances by a first-rate cast. " CONTINUE READING
'Eyes'-Witness Account Of the Brutality of War
By Peter Marks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 28, 2008; Page C05
"When the crackle of automatic gunfire erupts outside, the old lady in the dowdy kitchen turns toward the window, warily. Her face registers neither surprise nor terror. That's how numbing this routine has become to her: a violent moment to be waved away in a little heave of disgust. " CONTINUE READING
Washington City Paper
Honey Brown Eyes
By Trey Graham
Posted: October 29, 2008
"It begins with a gasp and a laugh, and it ends with an open question—and so Honey Brown Eyes Stefanie Zadravec’s bracing new play about the Bosnian troubles, both is and isn’t what you’d expect from a serious take on a grim topic." CONTINUE READING
Washington Jewish Week
The horrors of war With focus on Bosnian war, powerful'Honey Brown Eyes' parallels Jewish tragedies
by Lisa Traiger
"The great majority of Americans experience war from a distance. They watch the news and analysis on CBS and CNN, read firsthand accounts from AP and Reuters in the daily newspapers and then go about their daily lives. When America goes to war, most Americans don't have a personal stake in it. " CONTINUE READING
What's It Good For: 'Honey Brown Eyes' Looks at War
Written by Express contributor Robyn Mincher
"WHEN NEW YORK playwright Stephanie Zadravec was penning "Honey Brown Eyes," she thought it felt a little stiff.
Set in 1992 Bosnia during the war in the Balkans, the play follows a Serbian soldier (Alexander Strain) and a Muslim resistance fighter (Joel Reuben Ganz) as they come to grips with their respective relationships amid the chaos of wartime.
So how did Stephanie, a graduate of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, get inspired? She turned to Fugazi." CONTINUE READING
DC Theatre Scene
Honey Brown Eyes
written by Stefanie Zadravec
directed by Jessica Lefkow
produced by Theater J
reviewed by Debbie Minter Jackson
"Ethnic cleansing. Serbian Croatians. Sarajevo. There was a time, not long ago when these terns and names were as unfamiliar as ancient languages or distant planets. It wasn’t long before everyday Americans got a crash course in world geography when pictures of families trudging along the countryside filled the airwaves. The world premiere, Honey Brown Eyes brings that world up close and personal, explosive and disturbingly real." CONTINUE READING
'Honey Brown Eyes' Propelled by Tension
By Barbara Mackay
Special to The Examiner
"Stephanie Zadrevic's "Honey Brown Eyes" at Theater J is a passionate, thought - provoking play about war, whose serious message is intensified by its implied comments on youth, age, courage and the disastrous effects of conflict -- not just on nations but on brothers and friends. Set in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992m at the start of the Balkan War, "Honey Brown Eyes" traces the stories of two soldiers. One, a Serb paramilitary named Dragon (Alexander Strain) enters a kitchen in Visegrad pointing a gun at the weaponless woman who lives there. The other, an unarmed Bosnian resistance fighter named Denis (Joel Reuben Ganz) enters a kitchen in Sarajevo. begging mercy of an older woman. As the stories spin out slowly, it becomes apparent that three of the characters have known one another in earlier lives, when it was possible to be united by music, affection and shared interests. In the unfolding play, the web of war entraps the three and pulls them together in the cruelestof ways. Strain is a powerful actor who smoothly pulls of a total transformation. He's zany and irresponsible at the beginning of Scene One, but forced to mature instantaneously by its end. Ganz deftly turns from a cowering animal to a joyful creature as he comes to know the fiesty Jovanka, played with vigor and humor by Barbara Rappaport. Maia DeSanti is excellent as the brave, controlled housewife in Visegrad. Eleven year old Taylor Dawson is very effective as her daughter. Director Jessica Lefkow has maximized the threat and tension levels throughout the play, emphasizing how the madness of war forces the warriors closer together. James Kronzer's set underscores the fact, as the division between the separate spaces shrinks, two kitchens begin to coalesce and the stories of five embattled souls meld together. One of the most intriguing elements of this production is Matt Nielson's sound design. From the energetic Serbo/Croatian rap and the soulful folk music to the sound of an American television laugh track creating a counterpoint to gunshots, "Honey Brown Eyes" offers endless suggestions about the effect of culture."
'Honey Brown Eyes' boasts a strong story, but is hindered by awkward pacing and several unsuccessful performances
"There was a time when the best parts of movies happened off-screen. The passionate kiss before the scene faded to black. The brilliant plan hatched as the co-conspirators strode out of frame in a rush of fedora and trench coat. The horrifying murder signaled not with a gory mash of stage blood and makeup effects, but a clap of darkness and a distant scream. Those were the grace notes that made film noir so powerful, so utterly transfixing. " CONTINUE READING
Witnessing War Through 'Brown Eyes'
Writer Reconstructs Bosnia From Half a World Away
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 19, 2008; Page M01
"When Alexander Strain was asked last winter by Theater J to participate in a cold reading of a brand-new play -- set in war-ravaged Bosnia and written by an under-the-radar playwright named Stefanie Zadravec -- he came, understandably, to the wrong conclusion."...CONTINUE READING
'Ethics and War'
Backstage, Washington Post
By Jane Horowitz
October 22, 2008
"With both of the area's religion-focused theater companies doing main-stage plays about ethics in wartime, they've decided to collaborate on staged readings to explore the subject further.
Theater J usually focuses on Jewish cultural or spiritual themes, but its latest production, "Honey Brown Eyes," is a stark drama by Stefanie Zadravec, about Muslims and Christians caught up in the Bosnian war of the early 1990s. It begins previews tonight and runs through Nov. 30.
Journeymen Theater Ensemble, which has a subtly Christian perspective, is staging the world premiere of "As American As" by Ken Prestininzi, associate chair/lecturer in playwriting at the Yale School of Drama. The darkly comic take on the "war on terror" going out of control on the home front runs tonight through Nov. 15 at Church Street Theater.
Under the umbrella title "Ethics and War," the readings will take place on consecutive Mondays (Oct. 27, Nov. 3 and Nov. 10) at 7:30 p.m. at Church Street Theater...."
To view entire article click here, scroll half way down
October 31, 2008
Honey Brown Eyes, Theater J's Engrossing Premiere
"There's something strangely comforting and yet oddly disturbing about watching Barbara Rappaport chop an onion.
There's a ritualistic way that the old woman prepares her dinner, humming about the apartment, rustling about her pots and pans. You'd almost think it was a typical day in the life of an ordinary woman. Until you notice how she avoids the window." CONTINUE READING
October 22 - November 30, 2008
Honey Brown Eyes
Reviewed October 26 by Brad Hathaway Running time 2:05 - one intermission
Disturbing drama of Bosnia's time of trouble
"Plays about man's inhumanity to man and the terror that cultural conflict can impose are hard to watch. They should be. The truths they reveal are ugly. When an author tries to explore the depths of cultural hatred, bias and bigotry it is not and should not be a pleasant walk in the park. This world premiere of a play plumbing the problems unleashed with the demise of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s is a case in point." CONTINUE READING
FULL PRESS PAGE WITH ALL REVIEWS