Teach, Teacher, Teachest OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Matthew Dunivan





Opening Night:
September 12, 2014
October 5, 2014

Theater: Intar Theatre / 500 West 52nd Street, New York, NY, 10019


Teach, Teacher, Teachest tells the story of a pupil who arrives at the apartment of a new tutor for a lesson. What happens to her is as unexpected and random as life itself. Loosely based on Eugene Ionesco’s modern classic The Lesson, the play is a cat and mouse struggle that questions what is happening and what is not.

  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Teach, Teacher, Teachest

    A Nutty Professor Is Dangling Above You 'Teach, Teacher, Teachest,' Inspired by Ionesco

    Ken Jaworowski

    September 20, 2014: David Koteles makes bold claims in the program notes for Teach, Teacher, Teachest. His script, inspired by Eugène Ionesco’s The Lesson, is a work that “bends the rules of communication” and explores “the breakdown of language.” Sure, some of that may have happened. But all I know for certain is that I laughed quite a lot. In Mr. Koteles’s version, as in the original, a naïve student meets with a professor for a round of tutoring. The lecture goes awry, with absurd speeches and constant non sequiturs, until everything that’s said seems to hold double or triple meanings, or maybe none at all — so much can be projected (or not) onto both plays. While the original, from 1951, is seen as a condemnation of totalitarianism, Mr. Koteles attacks big business, government and religion with a babbling professor whose blind adherence to dogma is both comical and disturbing. The teacher extols “job creators” and big business, while condemning the poor and immigrants. Judged against current political discourse, his circular reasonings and hyperboles sometimes don’t seem so exaggerated.

  • BROADWAY WORLD REVIEW OF Teach, Teacher, Teachest

    TEACH, TEACHER, TEACHEST Electrifies Ionesco

    Charles Quittner

    September 19, 2014: In the new absurdist comedy, Teach Teacher, Teachest, One-Eighth Theater and INTAR Theatre sets Ionesco against Lazy Town and other pre-school aimed shows with highly entertaining results. Director/actor/acrobat Daniel Irizarry keeps the pace speedy and dangerous as he leads the acrobatic, and hilarious ensemble, zipping through Ionesco's The Lesson in a thrillingly funny and scarily contemporary adaptation by David Koteles. Through a series of thrilling games led by a manic Professor (a charismatic and clowning Izizarry), an art Student (a wide eyed and game Laura Buler Rivera) learns how to conform to an odd conservative standard, updating the Nazi undertones of the original. These sketch-like lessons include a Lady Gaga dance sequence, a game of flashcards that showed a cartoon soldier as both a freedom fighter and an insurgent, and a smashing conclusion that resonates with the entire audience (tarp included).

  • THEATER PIZZAZZ REVIEW OF Teach, Teacher, Teachest

    Lesson Learned? Teach, Teacher, Teachest

    JK Clarke

    September 20, 2014: Any nationalized education program is a platform for social indoctrination. From a patriotic pledge to specifically chosen literary texts to emphases on certain disciplines (like, say, math and science) which are meant to drive young citizens toward ​specific beliefs and behaviors. In some cases the intent is benevolent; ​at​ others manipulative and fascistic. The latest production from One Eighth Theater (in residence at INTAR Theatre), Teach, Teacher, Teachest (based on Eugène Ionesco’s 1951 Absurdist play, La Leçon)—a piece about a mad professor tutoring a naïve, young student and ultimately murdering her—explores the exploitive potential of education. This update (by David Koteles) is largely contextual, providing contemporary references and settings. One Eighth Theater’s recent productions have focused on both the absurd and on subject matter deliberately left open to interpretation and debate. Teach, Teacher, Teachest has a lot in common with last year’s Ubu (based on Jarry’s Ubu Roi) in both style and content. Director and performer (as the Professor) Daniel Irizzary makes the most of his manic energy once again, spewing his rat-a-tat-tat dialog as if to challenge the audience to keep pace with him. There is a good deal of information layered in his words and actions and it’s a good thing the play’s run time is a mere 70 minutes, for his pace is exhausting. Like Ubu, The Professor is a megalomaniac with countless other mental disorders.

  • STAGE BUDDY REVIEW OF Teach, Teacher, Teachest

    One-Eighth at the INTAR Theatre through October 5

    Jack Mauro

    September 16, 2014: If the unlikely conjugation of that title throws you, it should.  Teach, Teacher, Teachest is not theater of the absurd; it is theater of the certifiable, in keeping with the Ionesco classic, The Lesson, inspiring it. David Koteles's play is also (pick one): a minimalist Cirque du Soleil; recess on the jungle gym at a particularly free-thinking junior high; a lone Marx Brother taking the lead in the Laurents/Sondheim Anyone Can Whistle Second Act; or the unholy love child of one of Genet's The Maids and a rhino out of, yes, Ionesco. Oh, hell, it's all of these, and more. It's also less.  Persephone (Laura Butler Rivera) appears for tutoring with the esteemed Professor (Danial Irizarry, who directs), which occurs after a Gothically sinister encounter with the maid (Michael Leonard - or a young Joan Crawford: you decide). She is intent on preparing for her exams and, after a spectacular geography warm-up in which flying limbs identify global points, we get to the meat of the lesson. Persephone, rechristened Jane by her new master, is educated forcefully as to the nature of reality. Soldiers are freedom fighters, fast food burgers represent glorious choice, Monsanto is beautiful, and Lady Gaga is not a slut because we like her, as opposed to all other sluts who deserve death.  All right.  Inversion is swell and makes its thunderous point once again, but this is not the 1960s and we have, in a word, heard this before.

  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Teach, Teacher, Teachest

    David Koteles has adapted Ionesco’s absurdist miniature The Lesson into Teach, Teacher, Teachest, and the result is rather hard to grade

    Helen Shaw

    September 19, 2014: David Koteles has adapted Ionesco’s absurdist miniature The Lesson into Teach, Teacher, Teachest, and the result is rather hard to grade. The adaptation (made specially for Laura Butler Riviera and Daniel Irizarry’s One-Eighth Theater company) is itself anemic, making facile jabs at neoliberal semantics—but the ebullient actors run roughshod over criticism. Ridiculous, endearing and charismatic, the performers are lessons in and of themselves. In a bizarre, eventually dangerous tutoring session, the Professor (mad-eyed Irizarry) shows the Student (Riviera) a flashcard of a poor person. “What is this? A taker!” he crows. He teaches her to construct superlatives: “Lie! Liar! Congress!” (These are not good jokes.)



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