“The Donmar Warehouse is building a temporary theatre for an all-female Shakespeare trilogy that will see, on some days, Dame Harriet Walter performing the demanding roles of Brutus, Henry IV and Prospero back to back. … A quarter of the tickets will be free to under-25s in a new initiative called ‘young and free’.”
The Sol Project “plans to partner with 12 Off Broadway companies to produce one play per season. So far six companies have been announced: New Georges, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, the Public Theater, Labyrinth Theater Company, Atlantic Theater Company and Women’s Project Theater.”
“If even Marshall McLuhan, the 20th century expert on the merging of media and politics, would require a crash course in Twitter, Facebook and “The Apprentice,” how could we expect Shakespeare to shed light on this reality TV star turned standard-bearer of the GOP?”
Jonathan Church “has stepped down from the post in Sydney, stating that he had not been able to do the role alongside his other ventures. The outgoing Chichester Festival Theatre had already announced his own production company, Jonathan Church Productions. Earlier this week, the company announced its first production.”
Mark Shenton’s list includes old Broadway/West End hands, two classical guys, and a rock star. Prepare to agree and/or argue about. (And as you fume about the names missing from the list, don’t forget that this is the final installment of Shenton’s top 50, and there are links to the others toward the end of the page.)
“People would order these decadent desserts all the time and not finish. We were a bunch of poor actors, and we’d bring them back to the kitchen and eat them. I especially remember a banana cake soufflé. I probably ate a dozen or so famous people’s desserts in the half-year I worked there – I’m not ashamed to say.”
“Immersive entertainment is, plainly, weird. It’s far more interactive than watching a film or traditional play, and can often be unsettling. Actors can touch you, they know stuff about you, and you may find yourself exploring unknown settings on foot or alone.”
“We have a largely undiluted diet of Shakespeare, Shakespeare, and more Shakespeare, with the occasional nod to the Greeks. Particularly given the US population today, could we not envision instead a turn to the vibrant tradition of Hispanic classical theatre? The lively comedia—the theatrical corpus developed on both sides of the Atlantic by playwrights such as Spaniards Félix Lope de Vega and Pedro Calderón de la Barca, or Mexicans Juan Ruiz de Alarcón and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz—should not remain in the wings.”
There was a lot of talk about voters not knowing how to properly measure the art form—to which the designers said, “Let us judge it” rather than eliminate it altogether. How can the art form be measured properly?
Michael Feingold: “Yes, our old three-dimensional art form has stepped into an internet world where everything is accessible in one quick click. Today’s playwrights can shift focus, tone, or even subject matter in an eye-blink. Amazingly, they can do it without losing hold of their core meaning.”
“Ever more voices are suggesting that Shakespearean text be adjusted for modern audiences, with the most artistically responsible attempts so far being ones where only words and phrases that truly impede understanding are judiciously replaced by modern ones.”
“Hamilton brought a boost. The Lion King provided ballast. … Broadway seems to be defying the cultural odds: An ancient art form in the digital age, it is strengthening thanks to an ever-increasing influx of tourists and a resurgent enthusiasm for musical theater.”
Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj was honored as best new play, Stephen Karam (The Humans) and Lucas Hnath (The Christians and Red Speedo) won awards for playwriting, and the ensemble cast of Eclipsed took one of several acting prizes.
Sorry, it’s not a recording of the full performance, but it is a 2¼-minute mini-doc with interviews and excerpts.
“One of the great privileges of steady theatergoing is that you get to keep falling in love again. You’ll cautiously revisit a show you once lost your heart to, thinking it can’t possibly be as intoxicating as it was the first time around, especially if there have been cast changes.”
“You can’t say it’s a shame to be remembered for A Raisin in the Sun. It’s one of the great American plays. But Lorraine Hansberry was so much more than that one play.”
“This is an all-woman, fully nude, abridged adaptation of William Shakespeare’s final play The Tempest, … produced by the Outdoor Co-Ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society.” (Remember them?) But you’ve missed the last show, we’re afraid …
“On a press relations level, the move smacked of sour grapes – a retaliatory swipe at Fleet Street for not cooing over every offering in Rufus Norris’s strong but hardly faultless first year. On a pecuniary level, it’s hard to see how redistributing that modest allocation to other (presumably online) outlets in the name of broadening critical diversity and bringing in new audiences stacks up.”
“Archaeologists excavating the playhouse where Romeo and Juliet was first staged have found artefacts that could have been used during the iconic play’s original production.”
Co-founder Dito van Reigersberg says the company was “super-not-built-to-last, which is maybe why it did. The three of us were really interested in working together on projects, not in creating an institution, so we fashioned just enough infrastructure to support the plays we wanted to make – an impulse that kept us pretty scrappy.”
Michael Billington: “Several recent experiences have led me to believe there is a vital distinction to be made between the moral awakening that comes from shock and the visceral impact of unmitigated horror.” (E.g., King Lear versus Titus Andronicus)
“In many cities, theaters are encouraging potential patrons to subscribe to their 2016-17 seasons, even though Hamilton won’t arrive until the following season, with the promise that those who subscribe now – and then renew – will be guaranteed Hamilton tickets and can lock in their chosen subscription seats.”
“That was before email. Our writers would come in and drop the text off at our offices — Susan Sontag came by to bring the intro to a volume of plays by Maria Irene Fornes; agents came, artists. They all came to deliver their articles and plays and we’d talk for a long time. I remember one particular day when Jonathan Kalb dropped by; we stopped everything and we talked a few hours. He said to us, ‘Is it always like this?'”
“Howard Panter, a knighted titan of British theater who had been ambitiously leading his company into the American market, is suddenly out as leader of the company that he and his wife founded 24 years ago.”
“‘Once I bring myself to rehearsal,’ thinks the young dramaturg, ‘what if I fail? What if someone stumps me? What if I don’t know how a late nineteenth-century Russian family would have eaten pierogie [as a big pie, by the way], or the year the Berlin Wall went up ?'”
“The behind-the-scenes tumult [t Karamu House] has elements of tragedy, mystery and a touch of dark comedy. If it were a play, it would be titled ‘Finagle’s Law: Anything That Can Go Wrong, Will – And at the Worst Possible Moment.'”
“Just as we need to widen and diversify the stories we tell on stage and who is telling them, so we need to do the same about conversations around theatre. Otherwise we are only ever talking to ourselves. Why do some people go to the theatre and why do so many people never go, thinking that it’s some kind of exclusive club that’s not for them?”
“Is this price gouging, or the arts equivalent of blackmail? The problem is a by-product of the escalation of ticket prices for theatre everywhere. The result is that it now costs many hundreds of dollars for a single subscription to a Broadway touring series, let alone a pair for those who don’t like to see theatre alone.”
The answers include basements, pubs, barges … and petite commercial West End spaces as well.
First, Ticketmaster canceled the tickets of entities that had bought too many – and sold them to Hamilton fans who saw the tweet about new tickets in time. Them, “producers also announced via Twitter new rules for people waiting in line, often round-the-clock, outside the Richard Rodgers Theater, hoping to buy the few tickets released by the box office just before each show.”