“Workshopping 14 reviews of the same show is enlightening and frustrating. We learn so much from each other. Different lenses, different voices, different strengths. There’s a critic who talks about music in ways that make us all jealous. We recognize each other’s paragraphs and fonts instinctually by now. As my admiration for the others grows, my self-confidence breaks apart. Every point my fellow critics makes is just another point I missed. I don’t know if I’m getting better at this.”
“In Indecent, Vogel has made a piece of art that’s about nothing more or less than Art’s survival in a world a lot like our own: a historical test case of the possibility of representing the reality of human multiplicity in a culture filled with competing singularities. What’s more, she’s done this by following the experiences of the group for whom the stakes surrounding that possibility have historically been highest, secular Jews.”
Gosh, and everyone had seemed to be on her side. Wise Children, the troupe Rice is starting after she leaves Shakespeare’s Globe, was awarded roughly £2 million (£475,000 per year) by Arts Council England, even though it didn’t exist even on paper until eight days before the application deadline. What’s more, Wise Children received money earmarked for southwestern England, which the company claims it will serve, even though it’s registered in London and will be resident at the city’s Old Vic. Following a furious denunciation in the industry press last week, controversy over the grant is mounting.
The script of the brief farce, titled The Reconstruction of the Crime, was found among J.M. Barrie’s papers at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin.
Kenneth Branagh directing his theatre company in Hamlet with Tom Hiddleston in the title role. Reporter Nick Clark has the details.
Charles McNulty: “Not everyone will agree with my assessment that he was America’s best dramatist since Williams. But as someone who has taught playwriting for years, I can say that, if Samuel Beckett has been the god of modern theater, Shepard has been the more accessible demigod who has inspired more young talents in the last few decades than any other.”
“Since every one of these spaces will be open to the public, each one has to meet the kinds of safety standards that are common in theatre buildings across the country … And ensuring that this vast archipelago of pop-up spaces comes up to the mark requires a huge amount of work.”
Derek Whitener, whose brain was damaged in the savage January beating in the parking lot of a Dallas Target, couldn’t move or speak or recognize anyone. But, he says, his brain was busy thinking about how to direct certain parts of Pippen, which opened last week. “As he struggled to heal enough to leave the hospital, he thought about Pippin’s troubled journey as he searches for meaning and purpose.”
Will the move, which Patinkin said he made because he agreed that the choice was one that wasn’t good for actors of color, cause yet more ticket sales problems for “Great Comet,” which has struggled since musician Josh Groban stepped down?
Theatre Philadelphia expanded the pool of nominators this year from 60 to 70, “to ensure we had all the voices in the room — race, ethnicity, people not on the binary, the LGBTQ community. “We wanted our nominator pool,” he said, “to reflect what we want to see in our theater audiences.”
“Wise Children, the company, didn’t exist until nine days before the deadline for registering a National Portfolio Organisation application [with Arts Council England]. … It may be that the company’s success provides a resounding and gratifying riposte to a ridiculous cock-up at Shakespeare’s Globe … But you have to ask: would other bold artists, who hadn’t been blessed with the oxygen of publicity, be successful with a similarly astronomical application?”
This week it was announced that Patinkin would make a now-rare appearance on Broadway, starring for three weeks in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. To accommodate Patinkin’s schedule, the producers cut short the contract of the actor currently playing Pierre, Hamilton alumnus Okieriete Onaodowan (“Oak”). Some fellow minority actors are denouncing the cast change on social media.
“The working class thing is an attitude. It’s a burning, it’s a feeling inside,” Cartwright says. “That’s what came in the ’50s. It wasn’t just that they were from a particular area or a particular economic strata. They carried with them a certain fire. That’s what we’re building in the classes. We’re not just classes – we’re a bit of a movement really and we’re a quiet revolution. And we’re coming. If you won’t let us through the doors, we’re coming over the walls and through the stalls. We’re coming in. It’s time. And anyone out there who feels the same as I do, join us, because it’s time for change in theatre. It really is time for change.”
“Now Mr. Moore, this willfully disheveled, 63-year-old hybrid of Noam Chomsky and P. T. Barnum, expects theatergoers to pay Broadway ticket prices to watch him in a one-man show, The Terms of My Surrender. After his previous documentaries, books and television shows, does he have anything left to say, and does he really believe it will make a difference?” Dave Itzkoff goes to a rehearsal to find out.
Patinkin will spend three weeks at the end of the summer as Pierre in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. “This marks Patinkin’s first role in a Broadway musical since 2000’s The Wild Party, and his first time on Broadway since his 2011-12 season concert An Evening With Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin.”
Lauren Gunderson recently topped the annual list of American Theatre magazine’s ranking of the country’s most-produced playwrights. (She was second only to August Wilson, who is deceased. Shakespeare receives so many productions every year he is no longer included on the list). Her placement there was remarkable for a number of reasons. She’s one of only a handful of women to make the list, and at 35, she is relatively young to appear there. But Gunderson took the theater world by surprise primarily because she has never had a major production in New York.
Isaac Butler and Dan Kois: ” Call it the Rylance Rule: Great stage actors can be great on film as well, but their film careers are always less interesting than their stage careers.” And Mark Rylance himself is their Exhibit B; Exhibit A is Nathan Lane: “So why on earth would we want to push one of the four or five best living stage actors onto film? Is Nathan Lane’s road to an Oscar worth the dozen great performances on stage that he’d sacrifice to get there?”
The playwright politely ducked the question about what might come next, saying that he was eternally on the hunt for material—in magazines, newspapers, science journals, monographs—but hadn’t yet located something that felt like a script. Brexit fascinated him, he added, as did the rise of Trump. He’d also considered writing a drama about cloning, and another on the Leveson inquiry. So far, though, nothing has quite stuck. “I like to think that something is marinating. I read out of a combination of normal interest and the hope that there will be a play in there, or the half-notion of a play.”
“If you’ve got somebody as distinguished and inventive and good as [director] Marianne Elliott, and she says, ‘I would love to do Company with a female central character.’ … What is there to lose? It can only make the play either interesting or, if you dislike it … dislikable … but still. I’m fumfering here, but the point is: That’s what keeps the theaters alive. So I’m always open.”
After a long rehearsal and a lot of planning, actors know how to substitute themselves for the characters (mostly without creating problems for the actors themselves). They can be “clear about drawing distinctions between performance and life. Ms. Grant believes in ‘really healthy, strong boundaries,’ she said, and as Mr. Hernandez put it,’This is literally my job. I went to school for it. I’m not skeezing on anybody. It is in the text.’ No carnal appetite here.”
The Shakespearean actor said it was “a dream come true,” despite the fact that she’s succeeding another woman, Emma Rice, whose vision for the Globe was famously undercut when the theatre’s board decided to force her out (Rice is headed to the Old Vic).
Can the U.S. ever catch up? Hm. “Americans say we are modern and experimental. … But for me, I don’t see that. I don’t think it’s that much of a provocative performance at all.”
Suzan-Lori Parks: “I love them because they are difficult. If they were easy I wouldn’t find them as delightful and delicious.”
Real glassware in the theatre bar, for one thing. And the patrons like it. “‘It shows class,’ said Billy-Grace Ward of Manhattan, who was drinking Champagne before a performance of 1984. ‘It’s not a disposable experience.'”
One of the current students; “It’s sad to see such a unique, outstanding, renowned college be let down by a bunch of suits who didn’t make their mind up over the future of it, and there’s at least a hundred of us that have been left with the mess they patched together for us.”
“When Major-General Charles Sandford recalled the scene at the Astor Place Theatre on May 10, 1849, it was with a sentiment one would not normally associate with a night at the theater. ‘During a period of thirty-five years of military service,’ wrote the general, ‘I have never seen a mob so violent as the one on that evening. I never before had occasion to give the order to fire.'”
Nicole Chung writes about her meaningful mother-and-child trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Winter’s Tale.
“I as a director do not feel it is my responsibility to have a dialogue with a young person about subject matter that should be left to the parents. So to do a scene that is dealing with sex — I mean, I have trouble even just communicating a kiss and the emotion of love and attraction, let alone talking through a scene where they’re having sex. There’s no way I could ever do anything like that.”
“The play, he says, will not focus on the Trump presidency itself, but will be set two years before the election. Kushner says he will try to write Trump as a direct character, rather than anything oblique or symbolic. ‘He’s the kind of person, as a writer, I tend to avoid as I think he is borderline psychotic,’ Kushner says. ‘I definitely think that incoherence lends itself well to drama, but he really is very boring. It’s terrifying because he has all the power, but without the mental faculties he ought to have.”
We’re are not in Hoboken but in a space beneath the 14th Street entrance and exit of New York City’s High Line, and this is the immersive theatrical experience of Seeing You.