“Efforts to screen high-definition broadcasts of Broadway shows in movie theaters have been random, halting and frustrating. Yet, in little more than a month, a filmed-live version of the recent Broadway production of Of Mice and Men came together and, beginning in November, will be beamed into about 1,400 theaters around the world. It required an unlikely series of coincidences and a measure of sheer doggedness.”
“In 1961, partly inspired by traditional pleasure gardens and working men’s institutes, [Joan Littlewood] tried to build a venue where visitors could enjoy performances, learn practical crafts and skills, watch events on giant screens or just eat and drink.” More than 50 years later, theatres in the UK mounted 120 productions in her honor.
“The former cult leader who is serving a life sentence in a California prison is still a touchy subject, at least in the U.S. In Germany, a new stage musical about the convicted killer recently opened and provides a glimpse into Manson’s failed music career and his relationship with his followers who became known as the Manson family.”
“Children of a Lesser God, a groundbreaking play about the relationship between a deaf woman and a hearing man, who clash over ideas about speech even as they fall in love, will be revived on Broadway during the 2015-16 theater season … The director will be Kenny Leon, who won a Tony Award in June for staging the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun last spring.”
“Gender equality organisation Tonic Theatre analysed productions staged on September 13. This found that of the 24 productions staged across the top 20 theatres in receipt of the most Arts Council England core funding, women accounted for just 8% of writers, 37% of performers and 38% of directors. Women made up 17% of sound designers, 22% of lighting designers and 57% of set designers.”
Exhibit B came under attack for its alleged racist portrayal of black African people, with campaigners demanding its withdrawal from the Barbican programme. The Barbican confirmed today that it had been forced to cancel the remaining performances due to “the extreme nature of the protest and the serious threat to the safety of performers, audiences and staff”.
“The two best justifications for the practice are a relative shortage of major roles for women and a desire to freshen up overfamiliar texts.” Yet, argues Mark Lawson, cross-casting sets carefully wrought father-daughter and mother-son relationships (Prospero and Miranda, Lear, Hamlet and Gertrude) awry, and “if the governing aim of a production is to make the play seem different, perhaps those involved ought to be doing a different play.”
“Affluent Indian urbanites – till now weaned on a censorship-prone diet of cinema and soap operas – are awakening to this new form of entertainment, fascinated by the prospect of non-stop laughs for an hour. And they’re willing to pay for it.” But comedians doing their usual skewering of taboos face more-than-usual risks.