Joe Pintauro



theater reviews



 RAFT OF THE MEDUSA (1990)


"Pintauro has fully inherited the best tradition of American playwriting; his post-Ibsen use of symbols and metaphors from the natural world, his lyricism and his wit make him resemble Tennessee Williams in particular.  Pintauro is a very fine and still too little acclaimed American playwright."

ALASTAIR MACAULAY, LONDON FINANCIAL TIMES.


"There have been a number of plays about AIDS.  None that I can recall, examines the subject as thoroughly as RAFT OF THE MEDUSA,  or is as intellectually honest."

WALL STREET JOURNAL.


"Nothing less than our mortality is on the line.  There are no outs.  Even if a play is make believe, the death sentence is palpably real.  That's certainly the case with "Raft of the Medusa", the new drama by Joe Pintauro..." DAVID RICHARDS, NEW YORK TIMES.


"RAFT OF THE MEDUSA is a microcosmic crisis clinic, airing aspects of a tragedy and entreating the audience into acts of empathy."  MEL GUSSOW, NEW YORK TIMES.

 

"Pintauro's dialogue is propulsive, humorous and blistering.... gives only the appearance of being raw.  On the inside, it's tuned like a clock."  LOS ANGELES TIMES.


"Pintauro's 'RAFT OF THE MEDUSA'  is one of the few AIDS plays which manages to outsmart the disease."  MICHAEL FEINGOLD, VILLAGE VOICE. (1990)


"Raft" grabs, holds and harrows.  Unquestionably hits home and hits hard.  Emphatically worth seeing."  CLIVE BARNES, NEW YORK POST.


"It's the character's anger I like best--not just their anger at the world and the disease, but their anger at each other.  We've seen too many plays that turn sick people into saints.  Raft touches on a subject that is taboo--the animosity of the people on "the raft" toward each other." ROBERT MASSA, VILLAGE VOICE.


"The play's climax, which hits suddenly, is a stunner."

THE GAZETTE. 


"It's a ten out of ten.

 CBC MONTREAL.


RAFT is a sock on the jaw.  The dialogue is so good, I found myself straining forward so as not to lose a single word."

C H O M, RADIO.


"Joe Pintauro's, 'RAFT', blows across stage like a breath of fresh air.  No.  Make that a hurricane or a whirlwind.  Go laugh with them, cry with them, get angry with them."

MIX 96.


"A play with the explosive power of a stick of dynamite.  An extraordinarily powerful piece of contemporary theatre."

THE SUBURBAN,  MONTREAL.

 

"RAFT is an absorbing work that careens from fierce anger to unabashed sentimentality.  The play ultimately strips the alienated characters of their defenses, revealing the bond that is both their curse and their salvation."

GREG EVANS, VARIETY


"Just as Pintauro's METROPOLITAN OPERAS, was unpredictable and inventive, 'MEDUSA' takes us into what is usually a private world of pain to see both the humor and the agony of living with a deadly disease."

THE OUTLOOK, L.A.


"Don't miss it if you love the theatre."

PALISADIAN-POST.


"Pintauro's play displays a fierce rage and cuts through the shrink genre's shortcomings."

 L.A. WEEKLY. 


"Pintauro writes in clean, bold strokes with the clear eye of a journalist."

BOSTON GLOBE


"RAFT is an unflinching, no holds barred, punch in the face performance about people with AIDS."

1010 WINS RADIO


"RAFT OF THE MEDUSA succeeds as fine theatre."

 HOLLYWOOD REPORTER


'RAFT' creates a world that will rock you from head to toe... a beautifully written work; so lean and muscular that when the poetry flowers, it feels absolutely right.  ...Rises like a helium balloon from a desiccated landscape."

 THE WESTSIDER.


"I can't find a better way to say this but when the millennium arrives and people talk about important plays of this century, there will be one you'll want to say you experienced;  RAFT OF THE MEDUSA, by Joe Pintauro.

THE VILLAGE PRESS.


"Pintauro's Insights are precise.  His mastery of the spontaneous aria is clear from the top.  Pintauro is even better at the collision course of human contact."

THE EAST HAMPTON STAR


"The Theatre is alive and rich in New York and nothing reveals this more than Joe Pintauro's RAFT OF THE MEDUSA at the Minetta Lane Theatre.  I can't imagine anything more exciting--in the era of AIDS--than finding a play that challenges all of these emotions."

THE WESTSIDER.


"RAFT OF THE MEDUSA is no grand scale ANGELS IN AMERICA. In its electrifying, deeply moving compactness, it creates a personal world of interdependency and shared life force. Mr. Pintauro's soaring script absolutely refuses to leave you unmoved. It throbs with life and triumph."

SOUTHAMPTON PRESS, NY.


Pintauro preaches positivism but not dumb optimism, realism rather than fatalism: and he affirms and celebrates love amid the acerbic banter.  It's the detail in the performances and the witty, weepy impact of dialogue that triumphantly elevates Pintauro’s writing.   NICK CURTIS,  THE EVENING STANDARD, LONDON.  Jan 19, 1995.


'The question of forgiveness is angled here even more uncomfortably than in "Angels in America,"  Donald’s unforgiven ghost haunts the group session which Pintauro presents to us in all its heart-wrenching, recrimination ridden and blackly comical emotional messiness."  PAUL TAYLOR, THE INDEPENDENT, LONDON.


The excitement of "RAFT" is that you never know where it will go next.  It achieves extraordinary highs and lows.  Following it, I both laughed and cried several times.   Several aspects resemble Tony Kushner's "Angels in America,"  which came after "Raft", but Pintauro's dramaturgy is less schematic and his writing more sensitive to human feeling in all its peaks and troughs.  The issues become unusually gripping here because Pintauro's stage world is persuasive.   It is the finest AIDS drama I have seen. ALISTAIR MACAULAY,  THE TIMES, LONDON.




CACCIATORE (1977)


"Pintauro has two considerable strengths: an ability to write pungent, idiomatic urban speech, and a willingness to let human passions overflow on the stage."

THE NEW YORK TIMES.




SNOW ORCHID (1981)


"Pintauro reveals a talent for dramatizing grand passions with almost operatic vigor.  He unleashes a volcanic uproar of affection, obscenities and physical abuse worthy of Raging Bull."

FRANK RICH, THE NEW YORK TIMES, (1989)




BESIDE HERSELF (1989)


  ...unlike Orpheus Descending..., Pintauro demands less than Tennesee Williams of his audience and his heroine.  It's as though he set out to dismantle the older-woman/blue collar-stud cliche' and he rings changes on just about every other literary device--from wounded animal imagery, (a dying bear) to the use of flashbacks.  Instead of watching a character relive past events (Willy Loman style), we see characters from the past taking an unnatural interest in what is going on in the present.  It's funny and poignant and one of the best uses I've seen of the device of representing the divided self by more than one actor.  Like the ghosts in "Our Town", he gives each character his own agenda.  There's a generosity toward actors in the way he gives apparitions a thematic and psychological function."

THE NEW YORKER




AMERICAN DIVINE (1995-96), CHICAGO.


Nominated for six Jeffersons for 1995, it appeared in four major "Year End Best" Lists, was called "Best Play of 1995" by The Reader and The New City and has been invited to The Traverse Theatre Edinburgh Festival, August, 1996.


"The umbrella title of the three-part production of 26 short plays required a trio of directors and a cast of 21.  This impressive epic also required and found a unifying vision to encompass the saints and sinners and the dreamers and destroyers of Pintauro's sacred and profane world.  There are bursts of unforgettable poetry.  Pintauro’s greatest strength is his poetic impulse--a lush blend of lyricism and mean streets rage.   All of Pintauro's characters are torn between sinning and penitence."

HEDY WEISS, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.


"Pintauro uses poetic devices to link the plays thematically and the actors are true to the work as literature as well as psychological drama.  If they had compressed the best of Pintauro's playlets into one or perhaps two programs, American Divine would be a masterpiece.  As it is, it is simply superb."

ALBERT WILLIAMS, THE CHICAGO READER (AND AMERICAN THEATRE)


"So sublime is this production, I left the theatre in an altered state.  In play after play of this beautiful, hopeful evening, we see the alienated enlightened and the estranged reunited.  As you might expect from a playwright who avoids Hallmark moments like the plague, few of these reconciliations are conventional. "

NEW CITY, CHICAGO.




BY THE SEA, BY THE SEA, BY THE BEAUTIFUL SEA. (1995)


"To an irreconcilable rivalry, Mr.  Pintauro brings an uncommon gift of clarity, toughened by the reality of psychological truths and damages, tempered by an outcry from the heart.   It is so moving as to cause one to marvel at how the language of theater art can express the accumulated rage, the scarred disclosures--all that is so patly called life's baggage--with the focus and empathy that real life, blindingly defensive, does not allow.  Without resorting to fake reconciliation, Mr. Pintauro's compassionate cameo eloquently takes in a husband's devotion to his wife.  In a stunning final tableau, it becomes dramatically evident that a theatrical moment can be momentous."

NEW YORK TIMES.


BY THE SEA, BY THE SEA, BY THE BEAUTIFUL SEA.

"This was another of Manhattan Theatre Club's clever, quicksilver, wry, ironic takes--in an elegantly realist, blue and gold, but never literalist vein--on contemporary life."

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL 


"Pintauro's play, DAWN, in this trilogy with Lanford Wilson and Terrence McNally, is not only the best but also of a quite different tonality.  Here is a savage, Albee-like evisceration of a family's values, as Pintauro's verbal scalpel strips his characters to the bone in double-quick time.   This is impressive."

CLIVE BARNES,  NEW YORK POST.