Steven Chaikelson – Brannon Wiles – Avram C. Freedberg

Yeeshai Gross – Donny Epstein – Elie Landau





Opening night: November 5, 2003, Theater at the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, NYC


Directed by MARIA MILEAF

Scenic Design NEIL PATEL

Costume Design LAURIE CHURBA

Lighting Design JEFF CROITER


Stage Manager TOM TAYLOR




(in order of speaking)

Erhardt – Sebastian Roché

Colin – Geoffrey Wade

William – Anthony Rapp

Margaret – M.J. Kang


Photo: Carol Rosegg

Having opened its doors to the public on October 7, 2003, The Center for Architecture of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects has chosen Oren Safdie’s PRIVATE JOKES, PUBLIC PLACES to be the inaugural work presented in the Theater at the Center for Architecture. Appropriate choice, and an unabashedly hilarious one too. This comedy, after all, is about architecture.

PRIVATE JOKES, PUBLIC PLACES tells the tale of one student’s presentation of her thesis project to a final jury at a graduate school of architecture. If it sounds stuffy and dull, I guarantee you that it is anything but. Raucously verbose, sarcastically self-aware, and both politically and socially relevant, this play is an overall delight. It is not just that playwright Safdie knows all of the inside jokes to stoke (the son of architect Moshe Safdie, Oren Safdie attended the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University before succumbing to the writing bug), because he does. It is the whole package as presented. The actors are on point, the direction is smooth, the setting is splendid, and the script is far wittier than I would have hoped for. The dialogue sounds like an actor’s dream, with plenty of opportunities to get in the digs, to be superior, to be thwarted, and to come out fighting and ready for yet another verbal assault. What is all the debate about? It starts with the design for a public swimming pool, but it goes everywhere from there.

There is measurable pretension, palpable anxiety, floating lust, fear of failure and loathing of change. There is infighting, innuendo, institutionalized isolationism and infusions of mediocrity, hypocrisy, and full-frontal nudity. What more do you need to know to realize that you must see PRIVATE JOKES, PUBLIC PLACES?

- Kessa De Santis -

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