CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
CHICAGO – “I like you. You say what you mean.” Showtime’s brilliant new show, “Ray Donovan,” is titled after a straightshooter in a town where no one is honest; a problem solver in a place built on mountains of problems. Ann Biderman’s stunning drama (directed and produced by “Sopranos” vet Allen Coulter) is the kind of dense patchwork quilt of character and theme that separate great shows from merely good ones.
CHICAGO – There are reasons to worry about “House.” Let’s look at the symptoms. First, the temperature — the show’s ratings. They’re down nearly 50% from the season-three peak, averaging just under 10 million last year, down from closer to 13 million the year before. They’re still impressive numbers but when there were rumors of a network shift or even cancellation last year, no one was shocked.
CHICAGO – Last season of “House” opened with a divisive episode in which our beloved doctor (Hugh Laurie) spent some time away from Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in a “Cuckoo’s Nest”-inspired tale of potential madness. Once again, the writers of one of the most successful shows of the last decade have chosen to start the new season of “House” with something a bit left-of-center in “Now What?,” premiering tonight on FOX, but this episode may have longer-lasting repercussions.