Theatre

If You Think Most Theatre Is Overrated, Perhaps You’re … Right

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“The truth is that with any art form you have to wade through a lot of less good stuff to find the gems, and there is a purpose in the less good stuff because that’s how artists, novelists, film-makers and theatre-makers learn. And for the reader or the audience there is a real pleasure in going on a journey with an author or a theatre-maker and seeing them develop over a period of time. If everything was astonishing it would be very dull.”

Can A Theatre Critic Be A Good Playwright?

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“Does writing regularly about theatre make you a stronger playwright? I feel I’ve benefited from soaking up others’ work for years; I’m in a constant state of inspiration. (Sometimes I have to tell my own characters to pipe down so I can focus on the show.) My defense has always been that I was an artist—acting and directing Off-Off Broadway—before I became a critic. But there has to be some level of talent to nurture in the first place. If you have an ear for dialogue, an eye for structure, a feel for storytelling, reviewing can sharpen those gifts.”

The Worst Act Of All Time – Perhaps By Design

The Cherry Sisters’ “variety act included original music, bass drum thumping, poetry, mouth harp playing, inspirational recitations, essay reading, fake hypnosis and other artistic expressions. And the audience responded to the whole shebang by hurling vegetables, shouting interjections and behaving rudely.”

Why Theatre Basically Sucks (Except When An Actor Entirely Forgets The Lines)

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“The vast majority of plays are distinctly average. They are fairly well written, fairly well acted and fairly well staged. But they do not reflect how people actually speak because dialogue in most modern plays is generally produced to show how clever the writer is or how gifted the actor delivering it is. The tickets are expensive. The seats are uncomfortable. The audiences are pretentious and pleased with themselves, laughing loudly to show they get obscure jokes and cultural references.”

Asian Americans, Playing Roles Well Beyond Maid, Nurse Or Grocer

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“When the actress Mia Katigbak was a student at Barnard College in the 1970s, she was the only Asian-American studying theater and mostly got to play ‘maids and hookers,’ she said. One day the department head asked her to join a Molière comedy. She would play the harpsichord from behind a screen, Ms. Katigbak recalls his saying, ‘because there were no Asians in France at that time.'”

What We Can Learn From The Greeks About Violence Onstage

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“The violence in Greek tragedies is a form of therapy and education for the audiences both then and now, Doerries argues, a communal response to suffering. The violence in many of the contemporary American plays I’ve been seeing, by contrast, is intended as a form of entertainment, a thrill ride.”

How Much Should A Theatre Worry About Offending An Audience?

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“Instead of censoring or sanitizing content that “might offend,” theatres should look at such works as opportunities to engage their audiences in critical public discourse about important issues in the play, because if we approach theatre as something that should be feared or approached cautiously, then we’ve robbed it of it’s power before the actors have even said a word.”

Do Our Theatre Reviews Have A Racial Bias Problem?

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“Reading these reviews just after following reports from the Americans in the Arts and Theatre Communications Group conferences, which demonstrated a genuine desire on the part of arts institutions to address diversity and inclusion, I worry that if the arbiters of art continue to judge work based on retrograde social views, it will only slow progress in the field that, as it is, has already been too long in coming.”

In Hungary, ‘Independent’ Theatre Isn’t Quite As Independent As It Sounds

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“Life is rife with lack of understanding, lack of tolerance, and a persistent impatience that has become a part of our everyday lives. The campaign against independent theatre companies led by the right-wing government has lasted for half a decade now. Though this issue seems to be a local concern, it reflects the general situation and the mental condition of the whole country.”

Exploring Pornography On Stage

11th June 2015, London UK. RashDash and National Theatre present We Want You To Watch by Alice Birch
Photo Credit: ©Richard Davenport 2015, Richard@rwdavenport.co.uk, 07545642134

No, we don’t mean live sex shows. This is all about a spate of recent plays about the effects that widely available porn is having on our society.

New Theatre Launches To Feature Older Actors

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The company, Frontier Theatre, has been founded by James Roose-Evans, who set up the acclaimed Hampstead Theatre in 1959. “There is a huge bank of actors in their 60s, 70s and into their 80s who become invisible, particularly actresses. Their talent is being wasted. This set me thinking: ‘What can I do?’”

It’s Not Fair That Playing Othello Is Now A ‘No-Go Zone’ For White Guys Like Me, Complains Leading UK Shakespearean

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Steven Berkoff: “Again, one suffers the bilge of a critic who in reviewing Othello warbles happily how fortunate we are, that actors no longer black up. As if that’s all there is to playing Othello: a bit of shoe polish on your chops. … To reserve, out of the hundreds of Shakespearean characters, the role of Othello for black people only, is a form of racism in reverse and to me, particularly obnoxious.”

Ask An Audience To Interact With Actors Differently And You Might Get More Than You Asked For

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“What happens when you remove the typical social contract of the theatre seat? We invited the audience to walk in our oppressive world and they wanted to change it. The audience’s acts of touching and speaking, grabbing and yelling were both revelatory and deeply disturbing. Were they assholes or heroes?”

Is Heckling Ever Good For Stand-Up Comedy? Or The Comedian?

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“Probably the closest thing you can compare it to is the fighting in ice hockey. Think about it: an activity somehow both integral and non-essential that many in the audience consider more entertaining than those parts of the performance that require actual talent. But here’s the difference between fighting in hockey and heckling in stand-up comedy, and it’s an essential one: the former is all about the players, while the latter is all about the fans trying to be the players.”

Los Angeles Website Asks Theatres To Buy Reviews. A Good Idea?

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“Bitter Lemons founder Colin Mitchell says he’s responding to the dwindling number of reviews by professional critics amid upheaval in the media industry. Many traditional outlets have retrenched in the face of falling advertising revenues they’d relied on to fund coverage, including arts reviews. He’s asking theater companies themselves to help fill the void.”

How God Turned His Twitter Account Into A Broadway Show

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“In the beginning, there was Twitter. David Javerbaum – a seasoned comedy writer for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report who has won Peabodys, Emmys, and a Grammy – started the account @TheTweetofGod in 2010. Like God Himself, he quickly gained millions of followers.” (includes audio)

Something Rotten! Capitalizes On Its Loser Status

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“If by ‘loser’ you’re referring to a man who is greeted eight times a week by a thousand people who stand as one, applauding until their hands are raw, cheering until their voices are spent, whispering, ‘He’s so much better looking in person!,’ and laughing until their faces are contorted in an anguished mask that can best be described as a sort of Bell’s palsy … then yes, I am a loser.”

Is Technology Killing Collaboration In Theatre Sound Design?

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“Any good sound designer understands that technology is making our jobs more fulfilling and manageable. But it is also making it easy for noncollaborative design to emerge. Anyone can, at this moment, find a specific piece of music, from a specific place anywhere in the world, by clicking a few buttons on multiple devices. However, this does not mean that what is found is the right choice for the production.”

Does Theatre Matter Any More? Should It?

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“Broadway attendance in 2014 was the highest it’s ever been, even if that is no great indicator of regional theater attendance. But it is the case that relatively few people are seeing any theater at all, and, apparently, theater is having such little lasting impact on audiences that its creators are all but unknown, even to the people who may be attending it. So what’s the point in restating this reality? Don’t we know it already?”