(Zachary Woolfe’s article appeared in The New York Times, 12/30/12.)
Richard Rodney Bennett, the British composer who in a long, distinguished career moved with ease among classical concert music, jazz and film, died on Dec. 24 in New York, where he had lived since 1979. He was 76.
His death was confirmed by his sister, Meg Peacocke.
Enid Bagnold's 1950s classic. In a Sussex country house, the elderly Mrs St Maugham lives with her unruly granddaughter Laurel. Though without references, Miss Madrigal becomes the paid companion to Laurel. Only when the Judge visits does the truth unravel. The production is introduced by the director, Michael Grandage.
Mrs St Maugham ….. Margaret Tyzack Miss Madrigal ….. Penelope Wilton Laurel ….. Felicity Jones The Judge ….. Clifford Rose Maitland ….. Jamie Glover Olivia ….. Suzanne Burden Second Applicant ….. Steph Bramwell Nurse & Third Applicant ….. Una Stubbs
Written by Enid Bagnold Director: Michael Grandage Composer and sound design: Adam Cork Radio production: Penny Leicester and Wilfredo Acosta Producer: Nicolas Soames
A classified file released by the FBI shows how the agency tracked Marilyn Monroe's suspected ties to communism in 1956.
The agency documented an anonymous phone call to the New York Daily News that year warning that playwright Arthur Miller was a communist and Monroe had 'drifted into the communist orbit' after her marriage to him earlier that year.
(David Batty’s article appeared in the Guardian, 12/22; Via The Drudge Report.)
Leading Middle Eastern cultural figures and academics have warned that the arts of the Arab spring are under threat because of increasing violence, censorship and lack of political vision.
The popular perception that the region is experiencing unprecedented freedom of expression is "simplistic and misleading", with many artists "wary of the increasingly violent nature of the Arab spring", according to a study for the British Council by the postwar reconstruction and development unit at York University. The report, Out in the Open: Artistic Practices and Social Change in Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, found that the system of strict government censorship that has existed for decades is "largely still in place".
While artists have become emboldened by the 2011 uprisings, many were struggling to deal with the new political landscape amid worrying signs of a wave of political and religious censorship, said lead researcher Professor Sultan Barakat.
(Tim Walker’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 12/19.)
If there are two words on a playbill that can be taken as a guarantee of quality, then they have to be “Michael” and “Grandage”. The former boss of the Donmar Warehouse launches his theatre company – and its season of five star-studded productions – with Privates on Parade, and it is, needless to say, a singularly wicked pleasure.
Peter Nichols’s raw 1977 farce about a British military concert party stationed in the Far East in the post-war years might appear to be a wayward choice as a curtain-raiser. Its casual racism and homosexual stereotypes make it as politically incorrect a piece of theatre as it is possible to imagine, but it is also human and very, very funny, and its heart is unquestionably in the right place.
(Ben Brantley’s article appeared in The New York Times, 12/10.)
“I seem to spend my life missing you,” Robert Lowell wrote to Elizabeth Bishop, many years after the long and intimate friendship between these two great American poets began. In another letter he sadly observed, “We seem attached to each other by some stiff piece of wire, so that each time one moves, the other moves in another direction.”
The geographical distance between them, breached only rarely during their sometimes tumultuous lives, was a deeply felt burden to both — if perhaps occasionally a blessing, too. But it left behind a great literary treasure: more than 400 letters that they exchanged as their careers and lives blossomed, faltered, foundered, almost fell apart, then blossomed anew. The playwright Sarah Ruhl has distilled from their voluminous correspondence a concise selection to create “Dear Elizabeth,” an epistolary play that is having its premiere at the Yale Repertory Theater here.
The Delhi Ibsen Festival, which featured seven plays of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen this week, gave troupes a chance to experiment and adapt his works for contemporary audiences. The professional edition of the festival featured three plays by foreign troupes and one collaboration between a Polish director and a Kolkata troupe.
These included two by Pakistan’s Tehrik-e-Niswan Cultural Action Group and Uzbekistan’s Ilkhom Theatre. Karachi’s Tehrik-e-Niswan (Women’s Movement) presented a South Asian proletarian interpretation of Ibsen’s A Doll House. Ibsen’s play, radical at its time, culminates in the female protagonist walking out of an unequal marriage.
The Karachi troupe attempted to explain how a woman in a conservative society is driven out of an institution like marriage that has come to define her existence. Sakina, the adapted character of Mrs. Linde, a friend of the protagonist Nora, is transformed in this adaptation named Gurrya ka Ghar.