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End Of Scene Blog Entries
SATURDAY, DEC 7, 2013
Ken makes a scene about why he wrote LIFE ON PAPER
FRIDAY, JUN 7, 2013
[EXCERPTED REVIEW] Broadway World makes a scene about Warrior Class at the Alley Theatre.
FRIDAY, JUN 7, 2013
[REVIEW] The Houston Press makes a scene about Warrior Class at the Alley Theatre.
SUNDAY, FEB 3, 2013
Ken makes a scene about an upcoming reading at Ensemble Studio Theatre
FRIDAY, FEB 1, 2013
Ken makes a scene about joining Season Two of House Of Cards
SATURDAY, DEC 8, 2012
Ken makes a scene about a letter from Liz Engelman
THURSDAY, DEC 6, 2012
Ken makes a scene about "Red State Blue State" on This American Life
MONDAY, NOV 5, 2012
Ken makes a scene about a stage adaptation of Warrior Class for the BBC.
TUESDAY, OCT 16, 2012
Ken makes a scene about participating in Baltimore Center Stage's MY AMERICA PROJECT, directed by Hal Hartley
SUNDAY, JUL 29, 2012
Errol Louis makes a scene about Warrior Class on NY1's INSIDE CITY HALL
WEDNESDAY, JUL 25, 2012
Head critic for NYTimes makes a scene about Warrior Class on WQXR's Around Broadway.
TUESDAY, JUL 24, 2012
REVIEW: The Daily News makes a scene about Warrior Class
TUESDAY, JUL 24, 2012
REVIEW: The New York Times makes a scene about Warrior Class.
TUESDAY, JUL 24, 2012
REVIEW: Variety makes a scene about Warrior Class.
TUESDAY, JAN 24, 2012
Ken makes a scene about The Montgomery New's Review of FALLOW at People's Light and Theatre Company.
THURSDAY, JAN 19, 2012
Ken makes a scene about STAGE Magazine's review of FALLOW at People's Light and Theatre Company.
THURSDAY, DEC 1, 2011
Ken makes a scene about a remarkable piece of writing about the American theatre
TUESDAY, NOV 22, 2011
Ken makes a scene about a character's stage transformation
MONDAY, NOV 21, 2011
Ken makes a scene about WARRIOR CLASS online
TUESDAY, SEP 27, 2011
Ken makes a scene about the Asian American Performers Action Committee
MONDAY, SEP 26, 2011
Ken makes a scene about the fast work of SCR's casting department
FRIDAY, SEP 16, 2011
Ken makes a scene about Anne Garcia-Romero's post about LoNyLa
WEDNESDAY, JUL 6, 2011
Ken makes a scene about the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage's $150,000 grant to FALLOW
SUNDAY, JUN 19, 2011
A letter from Kaitlin Hopkins - Head of the Musical Theatre Program at Texas State
TUESDAY, FEB 15, 2011
Ken makes a scene about science plays.
WEDNESDAY, DEC 22, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Intelligence-Slave making the Houston Chronicles Top Theater Shows of 2010 list
TUESDAY, OCT 19, 2010
Ken makes a scene about intra out-group persecution.
WEDNESDAY, OCT 13, 2010
Ken makes a scene about why theater is not a humanity.
WEDNESDAY, OCT 6, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Athol Fugard's criticism about the failure of modern dramatists
MONDAY, JUL 26, 2010
Ken makes a scene about the diverse audience of Queens Theater in the Park
SUNDAY, JUN 6, 2010
Ken makes a scene about the Jewish Herald-Voice's profile of INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE
WEDNESDAY, JUN 2, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Lee Williams's review of Intelligence-Slave in the Houston Press
TUESDAY, JUN 1, 2010
Ken makes a scene about his Intelligence-Slave interview with culturemap.com
SATURDAY, MAY 29, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Everett Evans's review in the Houston Chronicle
TUESDAY, MAY 25, 2010
Ken makes a scene about sharing a collective spirituality in the theater
SUNDAY, MAY 23, 2010
Ken makes a scene about seeing the bird through the feathers
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2010
Ken makes a scene about tech, letting go of the play and making discoveries in production
MONDAY, MAY 17, 2010
Ken makes a scene about INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE in the Houston Press
SUNDAY, MAY 16, 2010
Ken makes a scene about INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE in the Houston Chronicle
THURSDAY, MAY 13, 2010
Ken makes a scene for the Alley Theatre's Mark Bly
WEDNESDAY, APR 21, 2010
Ken makes a scene about being playwright 151 in Adam Szymkowicz's blog.
THURSDAY, APR 8, 2010
Ken makes a scene about changing the name of his play.
THURSDAY, MAR 18, 2010
Ken makes a scene about pundits and why Tom Hanks is "injecting" racism into World War II.
TUESDAY, MAR 16, 2010
Ken makes a scene about writing "winning" dialogue.
MONDAY, MAR 15, 2010
Ken makes a scene about agents and the ecology of show business.
SATURDAY, MAR 13, 2010
Ken makes a scene about the beauty of the theater actor
THURSDAY, DEC 17, 2009
Ken makes a scene about non-English language productions
TUESDAY, NOV 17, 2009
Ken makes a scene about reviewing business books for theater artists
WEDNESDAY, NOV 4, 2009
Ken makes a scene about THE BIG REWRITE!
TUESDAY, OCT 27, 2009
Ken makes a scene about the discovery of an algorithm for happiness (7ZJJBYD9U6PX)
THURSDAY, OCT 22, 2009
Ken makes a scene about Holocaust fiction as a literary genre
TUESDAY, OCT 13, 2009
Ken makes a scene about Asians who don't go to the theater.
MONDAY, OCT 5, 2009
Ken makes a scene about the challenge of bravery in the theater.
MONDAY, SEP 28, 2009
Ken makes a scene about the death of Tragedy and Comedy.
TUESDAY, SEP 22, 2009
Ken makes a scene about Dave Matthews's statement that racism is "everywhere" in America.
WEDNESDAY, SEP 16, 2009
Ken makes a scene about why playwrights need websites.
End of Scene Blog

The Alley Theatre's WARRIOR CLASS is Edgy, Poignant, and Thrilling by David Clarke
Friday, June 07, 2013
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The intriguingly tense yet comical WARRIOR CLASS is a political drama that centers on Julius Weishan Lee, a New York assemblyman who's being called "The Republican Obama." Julius, the child of Chinese immigrants and a veteran of the current war in Iraq, is hoping to get the opportunity to run for a Congressional seat. Unfortunately, a series of bad choices he made as a sophomore in college are coming back to haunt him. As he faces the allegations of his aggressions becoming public knowledge, Julius has to figure out how much he is willing to sacrifice to ensure that his dreams of political stardom can be achieved.

Direction by Wilson Milam is superbly enthralling. He coaches his cast to deliver the clever and witty dialogue in such a believable and realistic way that it really feels as if Kenneth Lin simply wrote a transcript of a series of real recorded conversations. Wilson Milam also keeps the action realistic. Every emotional outburst and each demand seems practical and reasonable for the characters and the situations. Moreover, the plot moves at a fascinating pace, never allowing the back and forth of this turbid and convoluted mental chess game to reach a stalemate. Instead, the audience is drawn further and further in as the plot grows more complicated and we inch closer and closer to the edge of our seats.

As the plot's central character, Vito D'Ambrosio phenomenally plays Nathan Berkshire. Nathan serves as the go between for Holly Lilliam Eames and Julius Weishan Lee. He mediates their negations and provides advice to Julius. Vito D'Amborsio breathes immaculate and fascinating life into the character, constructing the most likeable sleaze ball imaginable. Watching his performance, I despised his greasy and corrupt ethics, but I couldn't help but think how exhilarating a job like his must be. He appears to be the PR machine for Julius and other key politicians, which gives him an inordinate amount of power and privileged connections. These advantages make him adept at talking business, but he stumbles through small talk and is rather awkward when beginning conversations, especially with Holly. Vito D'Ambrosio times each awkward moment with precision, drawing out many uncomfortable laughs from the audience. However, the most remarkable element of Vito D'Ambrosio's Nathan is that he is so richly layered and multifaceted that the audience is just blown away by how sublimely human his portrayal is.

Accusing Julius of stalking her and terrifying her, Caroline Hewitt's Holly Lilliam Eames comes across as embittered and vindictive, but there is something more substantial to her demands as well. Julius is said to have taken away a major portion of her life and ruined the dreams she had, so she seeks to regain some of what she lost in her demands. Caroline Hewitt's Holly is never cruel, but she knows what she wants, and she knows she will have to play hardball to even get a minutia of her requests. Caroline Hewitt makes every emotion and desire of her character tangible and understandable. The audience is empathetic and feels for her. We even root for her.

As the accused, Nick Maccarone's Julius Weishan Lee has to work the hardest to earn our sympathy, which he surprisingly does. Nick Maccarone's Julius is personable and intelligent. He really comes across as the kid who made some bad choices, but has grown and matured into a rational and reasonable adult. This is not to say that he is completely removed from the person he was, which is made apparent in the show's climatic scene when he breathtakingly explodes, yelling out of anger and frustration while slamming his hands down on a bar stool. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of his thrilling performance is that when he is in private, casual conversation his voice is untailored and relaxed; however, when recorded on tape, he speaks with a tonality and cadence so similar to President Obama that the moniker of "The Republican Obama" fits the character perfectly. Nick Maccarone's Julius is such a subtly nuanced portrayal that he effortlessly spellbinds the audience with the charisma and charm needed to be a star politician, and we feel for him as his previous choices negatively impact his own hopes and desires.

...

The Alley Theatre's production of Kenneth Lin's WARRIOR CLASS is bold, fresh, and poignant. The thought provoking play is insightful and masterfully shows audiences a glimpse behind the scenes of modern politics and the games that are played to keep skeletons in the closet. Kenneth Lin's writing for this play excels at being truthfully realistic, and hopefully will make audiences reassess modern politics and start some fantastic dialogues with one another, friends, and family.
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