Monthly Archives: November 2011

GILLIAN SLOVO: ‘THE RIOTS’ (REVIEW PICK, UK) + GUARDIAN INTERVIEW ·

 

(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/22; Nicolas Kent, the artistic director of the Tricycle theatre in London, speaks on the riots in the above video.)

Once again, the theatre steals a march on officialdom. In the absence of any full public inquiry into the August riots, the Tricycle commissioned Gillian Slovo to create a verbatim piece on the events and their possible causes. And, if the result can hardly be expected to provide any definitive answers, it asks the right questions in a way that is clear, gripping and necessary.

The evening is in two distinct halves. In the first we get witness accounts, with film footage and street maps, of events in Tottenham on the night of 6 August. One thing emerges strongly: the failure of the police to inform Mark Duggan's family of either the facts or the circumstances of his shooting. This was the match that lit the bonfire.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2011/nov/23/the-riots-tricycle-review?intcmp=239

INTERVIEW WITH GILLIAN SLOVO AND THE WRITING OF ‘THE RIOTS’

(Esther Addley’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/22.)

Gillian Slovo was travelling in Scotland in early August when she switched on her TV to see London burning. Her reaction, like everyone else's, was one of "absolute horror". But there was also, she says, "a glimmer" of an understanding, arising, perhaps, from her own South African background, of what it might have been like to take part: how rage plays a part in mob violence, that it can also be about adrenaline, and even fun. "It's as if the constraints of life are just … thrown away, and there is relief in acting."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2011/nov/22/gillian-slovo-the-riots-play

Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom by Victoria Brittain and Gillian Slovo is included in Acts of War: Iraq and Afghanistan in Seven Plays, edited by Karen Malpede, Michael Messina, and Bob Shuman, published by Northwestern University Press.  View the book at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0810127326/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_til?tag=stagvoic-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0810127326&adid=0SX28G1ZNP0EN5DETQWP&&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fstagevoices.typepad.com%2Fstage_voices%2F

SHELAGH DELANEY, REST IN PEACE (1939-2011) ·

 

(Matt Wolf’s article ran in the Telegraph, 11/21.)

Shelagh Delaney made an immediate splash with her first play, A Taste of Honey, written in 1958 when the Salford-born bus conductor’s daughter was just 19. And there was more than a trace of Delaney’s own life to her gritty yet compassionate portrait of the 18-year-old Jo, who is forced upon becoming pregnant to make her own way in life with little cushion beyond a brisk, street-wise wit. Writing largely in reaction to the work of her dramatic predecessor, Terence Rattigan, Delaney wanted as honest a portrait as possible of lives lived at the margins, and if that meant including such topics as homosexuality and illegitimacy, so be it.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theatre-news/8905260/Shelagh-Delaneys-lives-at-the-margins.html

J. T. ROGERS: ‘BLOOD AND GIFTS’ (REVIEW PICK, NY) ·

 

(Charles Isherwood’s article appeared in The New York Times, 11/21; video is from the National Theatre production.)

The gifts referred to in the title of “Blood and Gifts,” a superb new play by J. T. Rogers about the long history behind the American involvement in Afghanistan, are on ominous view throughout the play. Big boxes are carried onstage and cracked open to reveal piles of artillery. Shiny new rifles are waved in the air like harmless toys. Suitcases full of dollars are handed over with a cool smile.

On the other hand, blood never flows in Mr. Rogers’s drama, which opened on Monday night at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in a first-rate production from Lincoln Center Theater. But then it is hardly necessary to go to the theater to get an unpleasantly vivid sense of the violence that has stained the country for decades now. You only need to read today’s headlines to comprehend the continuing human cost of the political and military transactions depicted in this engrossing, illuminating play from the author of “The Overwhelming.”

http://theater.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/theater/reviews/blood-and-gifts-at-mitzi-e-newhouse-theater-review.html?hpw

‘NEW YORKER’ THEATRE LISTINGS, 11/28 PLAYDECK ·

  

(Video from the Humana Festival)

OPENINGS AND PREVIEWS

Please call the phone number listed with the theatre for timetables and ticket information.

 

BONNIE & CLYDE

Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan star in a new musical based on the story of the famous bankrobbing couple. Jeff Calhoun directs, with music by Frank Wildhorn, lyrics by Don Black, and a book by Ivan Menchell. In previews. (Schoenfeld, 236 W. 45th St. 212-239-6200.)

 

THE CHERRY ORCHARD

John Turturro and Dianne Wiest star in the Classic Stage Company production of the Chekhov drama. The cast also includes Alvin Epstein, Juliet Rylance, Josh Hamilton, and Katherine Waterston. Andrei Belgrader directs. In previews. (136 E. 13th St. 212-279-4200.)

 

ELECTIVE AFFINITIES

SoHo Rep, Piece by Piece Productions, and Rising Phoenix Rep present the première of David Adjmi’s site-specific play, a look at life from the perspective of an eighty-year-old wisecracker. Zoe Caldwell stars; Sarah Benson directs. In previews. (For tickets and location, visit sohorep.org.)

 

HAPPY HOUR

Ethan Coen wrote this series of three one-act comedies, about a regular at a bar, a young couple, and a business traveller in a very ugly motel room. Neil Pepe directs, for Atlantic Theatre Company. In previews. (555 W. 42nd St. 212-279-4200.)

 

LYSISTRATA JONES

Douglas Carter Beane wrote the book, Lewis Flinn wrote the music, and Dan Knechtges directs this riff on the Aristophanes comedy, centered on a modern-day basketball team. In previews. (Walter Kerr, 219 W. 48th St. 212-239-6200.)

 

THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER

Peccadillo Theatre Company presents the 1939 play by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, starring Jim Brochu (“Zero Hour”). Dan Wackerman directs. Previews begin Nov. 25. (Theatre at St. Clement’s, 423 W. 46th St. 212-352-3101.)

 

MAPLE AND VINE

Playwrights Horizons presents Jordan Harrison’s new play, starring Marin Ireland and Peter Kim, in which a couple exasperated by modern life moves in with a community of nineteen-fifties reënactors. Anne Kauffman directs. In previews. (Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42nd St. 212-279-4200.)

 

ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER

The 1965 musical, reconceived and directed by Michael Mayer, stars Harry Connick, Jr., as a psychiatrist who falls in love with a personality from a patient’s past life. With music by Burton Lane, lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, and a new book by Peter Parnell, based on the original, by Lerner. In previews. (St. James, 246 W. 44th St. 212-239-6200.)

 

ONCE

John Tiffany (“Black Watch”) directs a new musical based on the film of the same name, with music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova and a book by Enda Walsh. In previews. (New York Theatre Workshop, 79 E. 4th St. 212-279-4200.)

 

STICK FLY

Lydia R. Diamond wrote this new comedy of manners, about an affluent African-American family who gather for a vacation at their Martha’s Vineyard home. Kenny Leon directs a cast that includes Dulé Hill, Mekhi Phifer, Tracie Thoms, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, and Condola Rashad. Alicia Keys, a producer of the show, composed original music for the production. In previews. (Cort, 138 W. 48th St. 212-239-6200.)

 

TITUS ANDRONICUS

 

EVENING STANDARD THEATRE AWARDS: PAIR WIN JOINT PRIZE FOR FRANKENSTEIN ROLES ·

 

(Mark Brown’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/20.)

After alternating playing Victor Frankenstein and the Creature for each performance of a three-month run at the National Theatre, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller have been rewarded jointly with the best actor prize at the UK's longest-running theatre awards.

The judges for the 2011 London Evening Standard awards said it would have been "invidious not to recognise both actors" for what were memorable performances in Frankenstein, the Danny Boyle-directed production.

One role involved two hours in makeup and getting naked on stage to play Frankenstein's creation; the other, that of the egomaniac scientist himself, did not.

Although the awards have been running since 1955, Cumberbatch and Miller are the first to share the best actor award, jointly following in some illustrious footsteps – the first recipient was Richard Burton for Henry V, followed by Paul Scofield, Laurence Olivier and Michael Redgrave. The duo won from a shortlist which also included Bertie Carvel for Matilda the Musical and Charles Edwards for Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare's Globe.

The ceremony at London's Savoy Hotel on Sunday night, hosted by Dame Edna Everage, proved a successful one for the National, which received the most nominations and some significant wins.

They included Mike Leigh, who was named best director for Grief, his heartbreaking 1950s story of unhappiness and loneliness which was staged in the Cottesloe, the National's smallest auditorium.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2011/nov/20/evening-standard-theatre-awards-frankenstein?newsfeed=true

 

MIKE BARTLETT: ‘COCK’ (LISTEN NOW ON BBC RADIO 3 UNTIL 11/27–LINK BELOW) ·

The Royal Court Theatre production of Mike Bartlett's acclaimed and uncompromising play. On a break from his boyfriend, John accidentally falls for a woman, causing pain all round and exploding John's conceptions of his relationship, his sexuality and his identity.

Listen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b017cgkn

Cock was first presented by the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre in 2009, directed by James Macdonald.

The play contains the strongest language.

Cast:

John ….. Ben Whishaw
M ….. Andrew Scott
W ….. Katherine Parkinson
F ….. Paul Jesson

Produced by Mary Peate.

The original cast of the Olivier Award-winning Royal Court production is made up of: Ben Whishaw (most recently seen in BBC TV drama 'The Hour'); Katherine Parkinson (best known for The IT Crowd); Andrew Scott (also the recipient of an Olivier Award and most recently seen in Sherlock) and Paul Jesson (most recently Gloucester in the Donmar Warehouse production of King Lear).

PETER CRAWLEY ON JOHN B. KEANE AND ‘BIG MAGGIE’ ·

(Crawley’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 11/19.)

DOES IT MATTER precisely how or precisely where a piece of work was written? It may sound either romantic or banal: what difference does it make to the reader that Anthony Trollope rose before dawn to scribble exactly 250 words every 15 minutes, or to the spectator that Brian Friel favours the pliant softness of a 2B pencil, or that Tom Murphy, who writes in a room in an apartment above his own, must leave home in order to go to work? And yet it seems potent, even political, that John B Keane’s dramatic work was born in a pub.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2011/1119/1224307802909.html

‘CARDENIO’: GARY TAYLOR PUTS FLETCHER’S AND SHAKESPEARE’S LOST PLAY BACK TOGETHER AGAIN ·

 

(Taylor’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/18.)

In the spring of 1613, the office of the Treasurer of the King's Chamber recorded two separate payments to the King's Men – William Shakespeare's company – for performances of a play called Cardenna or Cardenno. The two records presumably refer to the same play, since it is unlikely that the King's Men had two different plays whose titles differed by only a single letter. Court records almost always abbreviated play titles, and the clerks who wrote these draft accounts were primarily concerned with exactly how much money was paid to whom. Almost all scholars agree that both payments refer to Cardenio. 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/theatreblog/2011/nov/18/cardenio-shakespeares-lost-play

NOËL COWARD: ‘PRIVATE LIVES’ WITH KIM CATTRALL (REVIEW PICK, NY) ·

 

(Ben Brantley’s article appeared in The New York Times, 11/17; video from the Canadian run.)

There’s more than one way to wear a bath towel. That’s the sum total of Kim Cattrall’s entrance costume in Richard Eyre’s larky revival of Noël Coward’s “Private Lives,” which opened on Thursday night at the Music Box Theater.

And because Ms. Cattrall is indivisible in the public imagination from Samantha Jones — the eternally randy character she played on “Sex and the City” — you may find yourself hoping for (or dreading) that moment when she opens her towel to display the goods to a hunky man onstage, or perhaps lets it fall to the floor with an arch “oops.”

http://theater.nytimes.com/2011/11/18/theater/reviews/kim-cattrall-stars-in-private-lives-review.html?scp=1&sq=Kim%20Cattrall&st=cse