(Mike Collet-White’s article appeared on Reuters, 8/31.)
The Venice film festival promises a pop superstar and a whiff of scandal Thursday, with Madonna presenting her second feature and Roman Polanski notable by his absence at the world premiere of his new picture.
Madonna, 53, is in the canal city for "W.E.," a film loosely based on the relationship between American divorcee Wallis Simpson and Britain's King Edward VIII, which eventually led him to abdicate the throne in 1936.
Starring Abbie Cornish and James Fox, it is the singer's second outing behind the camera after the 2008 comedy drama "Filth and Wisdom," which was generally poorly received by critics.
‘MAKE LOVE’: KAREN FINLEY’s yearly tribute will be playing at the Laurie Bechman Theatre, Sept 3-17 at 7:30 PM with CHRIS TANNER, LANCE CRUCE, and a rotating roster of LIZA MINNELLI IMPERSONATORS (407 West 42nd Street at 9th Ave inside West Bank Café: 212-352-3101). “Funny and surprisingly moving”—Ben Brantley, New York Times.
DAVID RIMMER, Pulitzer finalist for Album, wrote ‘NEW YORK’ to raise funds for volunteer psychiatrists dedicated to helping the overwhelming number of patients psychologically affected by 9/11. Fifteen people react to the events of that day and tell their stories. Performances: 9/8-9/11, THE GROUP THEATRE TOO Equity Showcase is at the Hudson Guild Theater on W. 26th Street in Manhattan. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the 9/11 organization September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. Visit: http://www.newyorkplay.org/. $18.00
‘DUST’ by JOHN MACDONALD, based on the play Rubble by REBECCA BERKMAN-RIVERA, tells a story of kids trapped in the rubble of 9/11 through the perspective of the Millennial generation. From the Incubator Arts Project, formerly a project of the Ontological-Hysteric Theater, (inside St. Mark’s Church–131 East 10th Street (at 2nd Ave.). Ticketing info: General $18/ Students $14 – Cash only at the door. September 16 – 24. Visit: http://tenementstreet.org/
AND . . .
Writer BARBARA CASSIDY will be reading at WG Gallery (50-52 Dobbin St, Brooklyn) as part of an ongoing project ‘COUNTDOWN 9/11/11’, which started last year on September 11 and continues through September 11, 2011. 365 pictures–one a day for a year mourning, celebrating, contemplating the American Ethos. Opening Reception: September 10, 2011, 7-10PM; KATHY SHORR – photography; BARBARA CASSIDY – text; TOM SWAFFORD – violin; Curated by KATI VILIM.
(Lyn Gardner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 8/30.)
Just four years after a superb chamber production at the Donmar Warehouse in London, Jason Robert Brown's unlikely musical gets a deserved revival, and it's a cracker. Alfred Uhry's book is inspired by the story of Leo Frank, a Brooklyn Jew who moved to Atlanta, Georgia with his wife to take up the post of superintendent at a pencil factory. In 1913 he was accused of murdering one of his workers, a 13-year-old girl. His case became a cause celebre for northern liberals, who hadn't previously taken much notice of the defeated south's propensity for dishing out rough justice to its black population.
(Peter Crawley’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 8/26.)
No matter how many times you see Faith Healer , Brian Friel’s astonishing monologue play can still subtly contradict your memory.
The vividly-recalled lines don’t fall quite where you expect them; plot details about the travelling faith healer, his wife and their manager drift to the surface as though only recently dislodged. Since it first began, in 1979, Faith Healer’s narrative puzzle, its rich humour and tragic lilt, seem capable of taking on new shapes.
Such is the triumph of this memory play, whose story is revealed, revised and contested by the speakers, and ultimately pieced together in the imagination of the audience. As the haunted and charismatic huckster Francis weaves his way home to Ballybeg, the play traces the thin line between miracles and confidence tricks, a reflection of the alchemy of performance itself – where “nine times out of ten, nothing happened”.
'They must have moved this,” frowns Barbra Streisand, sliding a tiny carved ivory box an inch to the right across the coffee table. “They have – they’ve moved it. It should be here.”
Batting a strand of hair out of her eyes, she stretches her wide, expressive mouth into a wonderfully familiar smile. “Things like that bother me. I wish they didn’t but they do. Take the new album cover: down to the last minute I’m there, trying to get the exact peach colour I want but it keeps coming out beige – and I’m not a beige person.”
Few would query that, and Streisand accepts that a desire to impose authority on the world around her has always been there. “Because I feel so impotent,” she shrugs. “Like I’m living in a world that’s going nuts.”
(Teachout’s article appeared in the Wall Street Journal, 8/26)
The modern-dress “Julius Caesar” that Orson Welles brought to Broadway in 1937 continues to cast a long shadow. By turning the play into a contemporary parable of fascism on the march, Welles raised the curtain on the high-concept production style that now dominates Shakespeare staging throughout the world. I don’t know whether Amanda Dehnert had Welles in mind when she created her own modern-dress version of “Julius Caesar” for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, but it’s very much in the tradition of that legendary production, albeit with a few postmodern frills, foremost among them the casting of a woman actor, Vilma Silva, in the title role. It is also the best “Julius Caesar” I’ve ever seen, a stark parable of good intentions run amok that has the attention-grabbing power of a hand grenade lobbed into a crowded room.
(Mike Boehm’s article appeared in the Los Angeles Times, August 28, 2011.)
Now is the summer of our discontent. If you'd like a little theatrical relief from all that's ailing America's body politic, Anne Bogart and SITI Company are probably not your ticket.
Their new adaptation of Euripides' "The Trojan Women," which begins previews Thursday at the Getty Villa's outdoor amphitheater, aims to rekindle the original political intent of a play that drives home an unrelentingly dark vision of what war does to victims and victors alike.
Bogart has long been an experimental theater eminence, often trying to counteract what she sees as the American stage's tendency to reassure audiences and settle for low stakes. Her decision to direct "The Trojan Women" now has a lot to do with the dismaying events surrounding its premiere in 415 BC and how those times reflect the United States in 2011.
(Lyn Gardner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 8/25.)
Life in the palace is awfully dull for the king's youngest daughter, who is not allowed to stray beyond the gates. Her elder sisters are not exactly ugly, but they are incredibly boring, in the way most fairytale princesses are. One of them, in fact, appears to be a puppet, and sounds just like Jennifer Saunders in Absolutely Fabulous. The future looks pretty bleak, too: the king, whose cardboard crown is already slipping off his head, has decided his youngest progeny will be the one to look after him in his old age.
(The Deadline Team’s post appeared 8/26 on Deadline Hollywood.)
All of Broadway will go dark Saturday and Sunday as Hurricane Irene approaches the East Coast and New York braces for winds, rain and potential flooding during the weekend. It will be the biggest emergency shutdown of the Great White Way since Sept. 11, 2001, and already the city has ordered mandatory evacuations in low-lying areas and will shut down the transit system by noon ET Saturday.