Maybe! Arts Council England chair Nicholas Serota met with a delegation, some of whom say that the meeting was quite useful. “We are on that track now and we are not getting off this time. We are not allowing it to be sidelined. I don’t want young people coming out of drama school being treated like that.” – The Stage (UK)
“In a word: I’m against the New Play. New Plays take many forms and have been around for years, but they seem especially prized lately. They’re plays with budget-friendly cast sizes, simpler stories with watery stakes, forward-slashes to indicate overlapping, a pretty strict adherence to the fourth wall, “ordinary” unaffected language, and an authorial injunction to either “play it fast” or “respect the beats”—or both. Further, all of the matter onstage is matter of the theatre (i.e. no video, film, poetry, live musical interlude, non-diagetic dance, opera, or lip-sync).” – Howlround
The Japanese musical drama called Noh has been practiced without a significant break since the 14th century. In this short documentary, The Spirit of Noh, actor Michishige Udaka tells filmmaker Edwin Lee, “The actor wearing the Noh mask is not acting as a modern-day person, but as a spirit or wraith.” (video) — The Atlantic
The principal at the elite “Fame” school, Lisa Mars, ordered Nazi flags and symbols removed from the stage set of the beloved tale of the Von Trapp family, who fled the Nazis from their native Austria as Adolf Hitler took power, students told the Daily News. – New York Daily News
BBC”[Liverpool’s] Everyman became famous in the 1970s for its rep company, which launched the careers of actors like Bill Nighy, Julie Walters, Pete Postlethwaite and Sir Anthony Sher.The theatre was rebuilt at a cost of £27m in 2014, and revived its rep company two years later – decades after the system died out in most venues. … But the Liverpool and Merseyside Theatres Trust, which runs the Everyman and [Liverpool] Playhouse, has now been forced to ditch the idea once more.” — BBC
“And that to me is pure theater: the sharing through the imagination of something down to earth and concrete and appealing for the imagination, so that there’s always that sense of “and then what?”—that sense of wonder, which one needs so badly, and one has so little of in everyday life.” – Artforum
“A group of disabled theatre artists have announced the creation of National Disability Theatre, a company that will produce fully accessible live performances. The company will exclusively contract actors, designers, directors, and staff who have disabilities.” — American Theatre
“As novelist William Faulkner said about writing, but is applicable to all creative endeavours: ‘You must kill all your darlings.’ That said, killing your darlings can be really painful because you love them so dearly.” Lyn Gardner talks to theatre folk who’ve had to do it about why and how. (One groused, “I wonder if auteur directors are asked to kill their darlings. Does anyone ever say to Ivo van Hove: ‘Could you just cut 10 minutes?'”) — The Stage
Every night there is bad and thoughtless behavior conducted by people who may have spent hundreds of dollars on theater tickets yet seemingly have no idea how to behave in an actual theater. Why should you check that your phone is off, because, gee, that would be way too much trouble. Puleeze, that recorded announcement doesn’t refer to you! An hour later, that ringing sound: Oh, sorry everyone, is that me? Yes, it’s you! Look, you’re in public at the theater! Who knew! – The Daily Beast
“Rather than putting the onus on employers to address this issue alone, we decided to assist them by using the best knowledge we had available – our members’ experiences. We asked reps about the reality of theatre recruitment to establish how it really works.” – The Stage
“In 1597, Jonson and Thomas Nashe co-wrote a satirical play called The Isle of Dogs. Not much is known about the plot or contents of the show; what is known is that almost immediately after it took the stage, the British authorities not only banned it from ever being performed again, but they also threw Jonson in jail and shut down the entire London theater scene. While the curtains eventually began to ascend again, the play at the center of the controversy lived on only in whispers.” — The Daily Beast
“I was now connected directly to the heart of the Great American Songbook. It was like knowing a guy who knew a guy who knew God. If the comparison seems blasphemous, let’s recall the central role of the songbook in this nation’s culture. We don’t call them standards for nothing: they exude the off-the-cuff elegance and colloquial zing that are supposed to be our hallmark. Also, they’re beautiful, and economical enough to break your heart with a single phrase.” – The New Yorker
“One of the first questions we asked was, how do you describe your city? People would respond by saying: ‘Reading was … ‘ They were incredibly nostalgic for this glorious imagined past. It nearly broke my heart. I thought this is a city that cannot conceive of itself in the present or future tense. It is a microcosm of what is happening in America today. We are a country that has lost our narrative. We can’t project our future because we don’t know where we are going.” — The Guardian
“My recurring nightmare was me, onstage, in this 1,100-seat theater, with no people in it. I’ve had it ever since we even talked about doing the show [The New One] on Broadway. Strangely enough, that became a reality in rehearsal, because it’s just the designers and the crew in the audience. There’s eight people in a room that seats 1,100, and so I do the show from start to finish with no laughter. It’s really empowering to live your nightmare.” — New York Times Magazine
As longtime artistic director Tony Taccone leaves and new AD Johanna Pfaelzer comes in, Berkeley Rep’s managing director, Susan Medak, explains how that transition is working. “Part of the culture is undeniably a result of Tony having been here for twenty-two years. … I’ve also been saying, ‘As long as Tony’s here, this is the way it will be. But let’s all remember that when Tony leaves, this may be very, very different.’ That’s been a hard thing for some people to absorb but very easy for others to absorb.”
Nothing’s more amazing than a musical, we guess: More than 135,000 people watched the cinematic broadcast of the West End musical (which transferred from Broadway), and it took in nearly 2 million pounds – and it’s getting yet more screenings.
Celebrities including Sting and Benedict Cumberbatch, the mayors of New York and London, and the former archbishop of Canterbury intervened with the Trump administration The Jungle was a hit in London, and “the creative team and producers were reluctant to move the play without all the cast members, saying their life experiences — several had lived in the Calais refugee camp being depicted — gave the show its authenticity. But trying to get two Iranians and a Syrian into Trump-era America to perform a drama that is inherently sympathetic to refugees was, to put it mildly, daunting.”
This story has it all: Feuding theatre owners who used to be allies, Harry Potter, and highly juicy details about the Broadway touring business – and a judgment that allows a show to go up this Wednesday. – The New York Times
“While no date has been set, [the Detroit Repertory Theatre’s] longtime artistic director and co-founder, Bruce Millan — who helped launch the company in 1957 — has announced he’s begun planning for his retirement. When that happens, Leah Smith, the Rep’s marketing and development director, will step into his considerable shoes. The Detroit News spoke with Millan and Smith at the theater last week.”
“The Alabama Shakespeare Festival will commission 22 plays in the next five years, with more than half of the commissions set to go to female playwrights and playwrights of color. Rick Dildine, the artistic director of the [festival], … emphasized that the plays will focus on ‘transformative moments in the South that caused important and lasting changes to its people, culture and land.'”
“The average top-price ticket across all West End shows is £117.52, up 19% compared with 2017. This is the first time the average top-price ticket has exceeded £100, since The Stage started surveying in 2012. … For the first time in six years, The Book of Mormon has been overtaken as the most expensive seat across the entire West End by Hamilton, which has top-end tickets costing £250.”
At the Edinburgh Fringe this past summer and currently in London, Los Angeles actor Natalie Palamides performs her solo show titled Nate, in whch she plays an unrepentantly dopey douchebag. For two nights this week, Palamides had the show’s director, Phil Burgers (who performs as a clown under the stage name Dr. Brown), stepped in for her while she called out directions from just offstage. Did the gender swap change everything about the show? Brian Logan went to find out.
“Theatre Communications Group’s Theatre Facts 2017 observes that, with the recession largely behind them, U.S. theatres in 2017 were in a position of relative stability. … Naturally, not every company in the country was in this position, but that relative stability meant some theatre organizations could carve out time to address debt reduction, engage in strategic planning, and prepare for upcoming changes.”
Our big takeaway from the project was finding a common point of interest and building engagement with groups around that. If we started with people who were too far removed from the work, we failed. We had to be realistic about the learning journey audiences were on, given that we were only performing in venues for one or two nights, with an eight to ten week lead-in. We thought creatively about the elements of the production that the groups we hoped to engage might connect with. That could be anything from the politics, to the music or props, to the feel of the show (more like a gig or cabaret).
“It built all my confidence up, I felt alive again. I felt like there was a future.” Reporter Bruce Munro talks with current and former prisoners in Scotland (including one who’s gone on to study at the Royal Conservatoire) about the changes that prison theatre programs helped them make in their lives.
Sorkin describes how he approached the challenges of translating one of America’s most beloved novels into a different medium in a different century (the world has changed a lot since Mockingbird was written) and how the production’s team handled the lawsuit from Lee estate executor Tonja Carter.
Its primary accomplishment is its bluntness, reflected in the subtitle A Candid Look at Broadway. No writer has better captured the way theater insiders actually talk about their craft. Goldman listens in on artists discussing how to fix shows out of town, to curmudgeonly patrons and critics on the aisle, and to producers working out how to make money—even on flops. Goldman never wrote another book about the theater, and he wrote this one with the unmistakable swagger and detail of someone who can burn every bridge because he knows that his subsequent career will be elsewhere.
It started with recruiting: “Music hall stars of the day such as Marie Lloyd, Phyllis Dare and Vesta Tilley believed they were doing their bit for the war effort by exhorting – and sometimes shaming – the men in the audience into joining up. ‘We don’t want to lose you / But we think you ought to go,’ went one not very subtle refrain.”
Some might think comedy hasn’t actually changed that much – remember Andrew “Dice” Clay? Is he that different from Louis CK? – but it has, and “for some of that, we have to thank the influence of UnCabaret, the alternative showcase that celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Theatre at Ace Hotel with a mostly all-star showcase that spent almost as much time looking inward at what it means to have a conscience in comedy as it did eliciting obvious laughs.”
But too bad for the fire safety staff: “While stage door staff will be retained in a revised role, the RSC said it was continuing with a proposal to merge the fire and safety officer roles, with the fire officer role ‘absorbed into the security roles,’ which are contracted out.”