Theatre News - Criticism: March 2007 Archives
There are as many answers to that question as there are classics themselves. However, a textbook answer is that it has themes that are universal and endure beyond the moment of the play's first staging. Arthur Miller's The Crucible falls into the category, even when it is sometimes pigeonholed into being "about" the Salem Witch Trials or McCarthyism.
The director of The Crucible is also Artistic Director for the Peppermint Creek Players, a group that also opened Hedwig and the Angry Inch last weekend. It was a show that also had new relevancy for area theater-goers. In recent weeks, Michigan has had a hate crime killing of a gay man, a business that supported the LBGT community forced to close down, and a transsexual professor fired from Spring Arbor College.Â Perhaps sometimes we could wish that art didn't need to be so relevant.
I wanted to add this clip of a local theater troupe, because I could. Technology is wonderful. Seriously, this is a case in which young actors newly graduated from an art school taking the risk of creating theater that's challenging and sometimes downright weird. And it's working. High schoolers are being drawn to the theater. High schoolers! Something is right.
Dreams & Blue Eyes
Putting Classical Literature on Stage
Sherry Deatrick reviews a recent production of The Scarlet Pimpernel for the Louisville Eccentric Observer. "Given the rather restricted space (the MeX is the smallest of the Kentucky Center's venues), the cast manages to be quite kinetic and keep the proceedings action-packed. You won't miss a beat in this intimate setting. The only distraction was the cheesy synthesizer playing over the loudspeaker to accompany the actors' singing. At times, the music was louder than the vocalists, and I'd much rather hear them."
She also reviewed adaptations of Chaim Potok's The Chosen and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.
This week, Darcie Flansburg reviewed David Auburn's Proof, ""Proof" is a testament to the struggle of genius and the burden of good genes, and Crafton Hills College's production presented the story with strength and conviction." and See How They Run.
Spread too Thin
Cats Still Worth Seeing
Review Roundup for Oregon Shakespeare Festival
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival opened four plays, which Richard Moeschal compares in the second part of a round-up.
That gets us partway through the list of fellows. More soon.
In one of the NEA Arts Journalism Insitute sessions, Ben Cameron expounded on how the original vision for theater non-profits is that shows would begin on Broadway and then make their way out to the non-profits. Instead, the opposite has happened. Shows are now being created in regional theaters and then make their way to Broadway, a place where only the safe, money-makers appear.
So it's not too surprising that people who for many years made their careers in New York are heading back to their hometowns. Mark Ruhala, an artist who choreographed some of NEA Chairman Dan Gioia's poetry has returned to his hometown where he is bringing experimental dance and minimalist theater to young people. This weekend they open the critically acclaimed Once On This Island, a musical the town has yet to see.
Earlier this week, the composers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty hosted a benefit for Katrina victims and the documentary "After the Storm," a film version about how Katrina survivors produced their musical one year after the hurricane:
After The Storm is a non-profit Film/Theater project designed to bring hope and financial aid to children and young adults of New Orleans. A feature documentary follows a company of young, non-professional actors from New Orleans as they stage a musical play one year after the levees broke and changed their lives. The film will then be used as a springboard to launch a nationwide program encouraging high school drama clubs and community theaters to raise money for the established 501(c)3. All proceeds from both the play and the film will go to After The Storm Foundation.