Review Excerpts

Excerpts from reviews of EARTHLIGHT shows
Written & Directed by Allan Mann
with the EARTHLIGHT players



SHOW #1 (no live music, some taped):


“… someone will eventually realize just how brilliant they are … flavors of everything from the best of improvisational comedy to the polished movement of something like the Living Theatre … The members of the company have relied on magnificent simplicity to get their message across.                       – The Hollywood Reporter, Tony Lawrence


“Nearly 1,000 people were baptized Sunday night at Cahn Auditorium, and the medium was neither fire nor water.  It was Earthlight … the best parts of Second City, The Committee, Hair and Living Theater are embodied in this young, fluid and really-together company.”             – The Daily Northwestern (Northwestern U.), Larry Kaagan


“After seeing their show several times now, I’m left with the same desire I felt after the first show — wanting everyone I know to see them.  Their show is at once funny, serious, revealing and an artistic whole, and leaves me with a real, positive sense of human potential.  Their program says they believe the theatre is “one of the few places in which a large group of people can be brought closer together by sharing an experience that involves them intellectually, emotionally and spiritually”… This is what they attempt and in this they succeed. … Earthlight does not alienate portions of its audience … This is what makes them so exciting – theirs is an appeal to the commonality of audience and actors.  They chant “we are one” and at the end of the show this becomes a reality, one which doesn’t end when the lights dim, but one which stays with you if you want it to… their short pieces betray an inventiveness in sounds and movements I’ve rarely, if ever, seen.”

– Kathy Patterson, Co-chair, Northwestern University Symposium  Speakers’ Committee



“… its offering is nothing less than pure, essential theater .. [they] examined the modern god of gold; racial, religious, national, interplanetary divisions; man as the eternal enemy of man.  And in doing so incisively and with great awareness, they glorified humanity at the same time.  But they never assaulted, propagandized, offended, pornographed.  They simply enacted and served their avant-garde competition a reminder of what modern theater is all about. … Allan Mann wrote the    unnamed evening and directed nine very hip, deep, and disciplined actors …”

– L.A. Times, Frederic Milstein


“Writer-Director Allan Mann keeps the players on the move with a precision that is necessary to avoid a catastrophic collision… The excellently timed humor emphasizes the horror of the situations Man has managed to get himself into… lightning-paced, immensely funny …”                                                          – The Advocate,  Jay Ross


SHOW #2 (with music by Pure Love & Pleasure):


“Earthlight is meant more as ceremony than as entertainment.  It wants to turn its audience on and the evening I saw it something obviously touched the audience beside the actors’ hands.”                                                                         – NY Times, Mel Gussow


“… the troupe makes it their business to spread joy, light and love in exhilarating amounts … It is virtually impossible for even the most jaded “I’ve seen it all before” pseudo-cynic to keep from clapping, stamping, and smiling after ten minutes of the performance … the director seems to have achieved a near-perfect balance of theatrical tightness and free-form expression and each resulting performance is wonderfully believable and involving… the togetherness and warmth everyone feels are genuine.  It is possible to feel an involvement with this troupe that cannot be achieved elsewhere … The people of Earthlight have mastered the art of creating an intimacy among strangers; the audience … comes as close to enjoying a total theatrical experience as it is ever likely to get.”                                                – Queens College Phoenix, Pat Henry


“Earthlight … is theater in a truer form than either Broadway or so-called ‘living’ groups are … all one really needs in order to communicate is clarity of idea and simplicity of expression…The skits are all-important. Mere listening makes one aware of their originality … warm and sincere, a lively theatrical highlight with much spirit.”

– The Campus (City College of N.Y.), Ellen Abby


“… an extremely aware commentary on today’s mechanistic life style … It is a joy and wonderfully comic and abstract view of today’s world.”

– Nina Schwartz, Speakers & Theater Coordinator, Queens College


“… the result is trusting and joyful, yet nevertheless intense. … A dramatic sonata is built on the word ‘mine’ to illustrate possessiveness at work. … The terrors of a child’s world and the corrupting processes involved in growing up are eloquently portrayed.  A rudimentary economics lesson teaches a great deal in a few seconds.  Exercises in everyday conversation hit home like a miniature Bald Soprano and demonstrate how useless words can be. Much of it is funny, much is poignant and although all of it is precisely orchestrated by director Allan Mann, nothing seems forced. … The interaction seemed simultaneously natural and highly exciting, not always an easy feat for avant-garde theater… one leaves Earthlight a little more hopeful, refreshed psychologically and physically, and without any complaints of pretensions unfulfilled … Earthlight offers … a common understanding, a beginning.”

– NYU Washington Square Journal, Don Shirley


“The hope and warmth of Woodstock are expressed …”        – Columbia Spectator,  M.K.


“… ‘Earthlight’ … is strictly on the beam … a corking good time … thoroughly enjoyable … musical sunburst and elastic warmth …”              – NY Times,  Howard Thompson


“… a clever, inventive and explosive evening of music and thought.”

Show Business, Bonnie Marranca


“… excellent modern theater entertainment… Earthlight is a play of life; … And it all comes together with a message that cries out for love, peace and understanding among all people.  Its effect is strong and leaves one feeling … HOPEFUL.  It’s something everyone should see.”         – The Stute (Stevens Inst. Of Technology), Bernard A. Mallon


“… the first show in memory which faithfully coveys the excitement, abandon, and pure joy of contemporary rock.  In musical terms, it is an unquestionable success … they incorporate modern legit techniques minus the humorlessness and self-importance which often afflicts similar enterprises… this is a superb musical legit offering which is honest, simple and moving… The show should have broad appeal for youth and will even capture the affections of many adults.  It is excellent entertainment.”

Variety,  Sege.

SHOW #3 (with music by David Cohen):


“… dialogue witty, deeply satirical, intellectual … the crowd was … gripped by the exuberance of the players and the speed and depth of the dialogue … In the Human Race skit, the performers are confused by false prophets … unable to give direction.  Although the search doesn’t seem to yield solution it does raise questions (‘Questions are more dangerous than answers, these days.’) and suggests truth, at least, may be a byproduct of the search … a captivating piece with a lot for the mind in it.”

The Red Deer Advocate (Alberta, Canada), Don Towers


“ By light, they evidently mean human radiance, they mean meaningful celebration.  And, wow, do they celebrate! … Rarely have so few worked so hard with such spirit and so much energy! … Mann … stages a changing parade of scenes … There are many styles knotted together in this strenuously dynamic work… you have to admire their discipline and absolute devotion.”             – The Boston Herald Traveler, Samuel Hirsch


“… a rock and roll good time show … the kind of experience that is rare in any theater … The formula is simple: instead of provoking the members of the audience into life with insults and forced participation, you entertain them and make them forget about themselves … It is the style of each individual piece that really makes the show.  Some have a verbal brilliance that suggest what Pinter or Joyce might have done if they had been born in this country.”                        – Harvard Crimson, George Sim Johnston

SHOW #4 (with music by Joel Mofsenson & Johnny Kalb)


“… this troupe … might well take the rock opera out of its rigid all-musical stages and add the dramatic element that is now lacking in the form.  ‘Tommy’ and ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ were fine starting points in the dark.  Now let’s shed a little Earthlight on the matter.”                                                                                         – Cash Box, T. B.