Monthly Archives: August 2015

DAVID HARE: ‘A SENSE OF GUILT DROVE MY LIFE FOR SO LONG’ ·

(Gaby Wood’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 8/28.)

Among the many revelations and lacerations in David Hare’s memoir, The Blue Touch Paper, perhaps the most unexpected is the assertion that he identifies with the heroine of Pretty in Pink. Hare was a successful playwright nearing 40 when John Hughes’s high school comedy was released. How did he come to see himself in Molly Ringwald’s character?

“Stephen Daldry always says I’m an honorary homosexual,” Hare replies with a smile, citing his frequent collaborator. “I have all the equipment – including the absent father and the loving mother. And as an honorary gay, my favourite films are Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club…” He pauses, then resumes, deadpan: “I don’t think – and this will come with the force of revelation to readers of The Daily Telegraph – I don’t think St Elmo’s Fire has aged very well.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/theatre/playwrights/david-hare-interview-sense-of-guilt-drove-my-life-for-so-long/

View THE BLUE TOUCH PAPER on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Touch-Paper-Memoir/dp/0393249182/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1441040017&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Blue+Touch+Paper

Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http 2015:// www.stagevoices.com/ . If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com.

ANNA ZIEGLER: ‘A DELICATE SHIP’ (SV PICK, NY) ·

 

(Charles Isherwood’s article appeared  in The New York Times, 8/28; via Pam Green.)

Snowflakes drift lazily down, a view of a cityscape looms through the blurry night, and the crisp scent of a freshly cut Christmas tree fills the air as the lights go up on “A Delicate Ship,” a lovely drama by the newly (and justly) hot playwright Anna Ziegler. But the serenity evoked by this atmosphere soon gives way to storms of philosophical debate and emotional turbulence in this memory play about the fragile dynamics of young relationships, and the mysterious workings of time.

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Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http 2015:// www.stagevoices.com/ . If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com.

KYLE JEAN-BAPTISTE, ACTOR IN ‘LES MISÉRABLES,’ DIES AT 21 ·

 

(Liam Stack’s article appeared in The New York Times, 8/29.) 

Kyle Jean-Baptiste, the first African-American actor to play the iconic lead role of Jean Valjean in the popular Broadway musical“Les Misérables,” died on Friday after falling from a fire escape in Brooklyn. He was 21.

Mr. Jean-Baptiste was an ensemble performer and an understudy for the role of Valjean, said Marc Thibodeau, a spokesman for the production. In addition to being the first African-American actor to play the role, he was also the youngest. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/30/nyregion/kyle-jean-baptiste-actor-in-les-miserables-dies-in-fall.html?hpw&rref=theater&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0 

Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http 2015:// www.stagevoices.com/ . If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com.

INTERNET OUTCRY OVER DIVERSITY LEADS MANHATTAN THEATER CLUB TO ANNOUNCE SEASON DETAILS EARLY ·

 

(Laura Collins-Hughes’s article appeared in The New York Times, 8/20; via Pam Green.)

The outrage began before Manhattan Theater Club had unveiled its full 2015-16 season. Seven of its planned eight plays had been announced, all of them written by white men. The Internet was not amused.

On Tuesday, Paula Vogel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, criticized the theater’s artistic director, Lynne Meadow, on Twitter: “For a woman in theatre who attended Bryn Mawr, where is your sisterhood?” she asked. Others, like the playwright Kristoffer Diaz, dryly referred to the company’s stated mission of producing work “as broad and diverse as New York itself.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/22/theater/after-outcry-over-diversity-manhattan-theater-club-is-making-a-change.html

Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http 2015:// www.stagevoices.com/ . If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com.

BAD SINGING AND FIRE EATING: ACTORS ON THEIR ‘SPECIAL SKILLS’ ·

 

(Erik Piepenburg’s article appeared in The New York Times, 8/20; via Pam Green.)

Look past the eyes, hair and height. Keep scanning down, after the college “Hamlet” and the regional “Little Shop of Horrors.” There, at the bottom of almost any actor’s résumé, in small letters, is a list of tricks that reads like an especially manic night at “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Acrobatics, martial arts, hula hoop: just some of the unusual and quirky kinds of expertise found under the category of Special Skills.

Sometimes the skills aren’t so much skills as they are quirks. Dave Thomas Brown, who stars in the new Matthew Lopez play “The Legend of Georgia McBride,” opening Sept. 9 at the Lucille Lortel Theater, lists a Mandy Patinkin impression.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/23/theater/bad-singing-and-fire-eating-actors-on-their-special-skills.html

Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http 2015:// www.stagevoices.com/ . If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com.

BRIAN FRIEL: ‘DANCING AT LUGHNASA’ (SV PICK, NORTHERN IRELAND) ·

(Peter Crawley’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 8/28.)

Marconi, the wireless set acquired by the five unmarried Mundy sisters in 1936 Ballybeg, seems to have developed a mind of its own. At least that’s how Michael remembers it, as a thing possessed, blaring to life or falling away at will. As the adult narrator of Brian Friel’s 1990 memory play casts his mind back, memories are no easier to command. They come unbidden; to delight, disturb, overwhelm.

On the 25th anniversary of Friel’s remarkable play, director Annabelle Comyn’s respectful and inquisitive revival is engaged as much with nostalgia – more acutely, the pain at the root of that word – as the act of summoning itself. The staging of the Lyric Theatre’s production, in association with the inaugural Lughnasa International Friel Festival, may seem unusually austere, with Paul O’Mahony’s set erasing the small home’s boundaries in favour of a dominant patina mirror that looms down from above. It suggests a play where reflection is more wary than warm.

http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/stage/theatre/dancing-at-lughnasa-review-a-thoughtful-adept-25th-anniversary-revival-1.2332340

Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http 2015:// www.stagevoices.com/ . If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com.

ON JACK SMITH: UNDERGROUND FILMMAKER AND “GODFATHER OF PERFORMANCE ART” ·

 

(Emma Allen’s article appeared in The New Yorker, 8/29.)

Jack Smith has been described as “the only person I would ever copy” (by Andy Warhol); “the only true underground filmmaker” (John Waters); and “the godfather of performance art” (Laurie Anderson). He appeared in Warhol movies and in Robert Wilson productions; his campy films and performances, with their mummies, mermaids, and harems of veiled drag queens, influenced the work of Matthew Barney, Cindy Sherman, and Ryan Trecartin, to name a few. So how come you likely haven’t heard of him?

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/08/31/ephemeral

Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http 2015:// www.stagevoices.com/ . If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com.

‘PERICLES’ AT THE OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL (SV PICK, ORE.) ·

 

(Charles Isherwood’s article appeared in The New York Times, 8/21; via Pam Green.)

ASHLAND, Ore. — Even among the beleaguered heroes and heroines of Shakespeare’s late romances, the title character of “Pericles” stands out for the weight of strange misfortunes that chase him around the Mediterranean, and more than once dump him in it when the ships he’s traveling aboard founder. (A favorite stage direction: “Enter Pericles, wet.”)

He’s forced to flee his home country, Tyre, after he divines the secret of the temperamental ruler of Antioch — namely that he has been sleeping with his own daughter — and fears violent retribution. Later blows include the deaths of his wife and his daughter, although this being a romance, those disasters ultimately prove to be illusions.

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Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http 2015:// www.stagevoices.com/ . If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com.

JOSEPHINE BAKER INTERVIEW ·

 

(Tim Murari’s interview appeared in the Guardian, 8/26; via Pam Green.)

An enchanting child opens the door, gravely extends her hand and says, “Bon jour Monsieur.” She isn’t more than 10, her hair curly and long, skin a pale porcelain brown, a delicate vivacious face which will outlast beauty, and inexhaustible energy that keeps her jumping on the bed as if it were a trampoline, until her mother, Josephine Baker, finishes her telephone call.

Miss Baker isn’t that easy to describe. Her head is covered with a blue polka dot turban and huge plastic rimmed dark glasses mask her face from eyebrow to lower cheek. The rest of her is swathed in a dressing gown. Though her eyes remain hidden, occasionally the sun penetrates the glass gloom to reflect a spark as she glances away, the rest of her body makes it very obvious that she’s tired. She leans back into the deep couch and continually keeps adjusting the pillows to make herself as comfortable as possible. It’s a task that never quite succeeds for her tiredness doesn’t appear short termed. It’s deeper than that.

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/aug/26/josephine-baker-interview-1974

Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http 2015:// www.stagevoices.com/ . If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com.

JOYCE CAROL OATES: INSPIRATION AND OBSESSION IN LIFE AND LITERATURE ·

(Oates’s article appeared in The New York Review of Books, 8/13.)

I think that I should begin by evoking René Magritte’s famous painting of 1929, The Treachery of Images, with its simple, literal depiction of a pipe and the provocative caption beneath—Ceci n’est pas une pipe. “This is not a pipe.” (How strangely people seem to have reacted to this self-evident statement! Though no one in actual life would confuse a pipe with the drawing of a pipe.)

This is not a traditional lecture so much as the quest for a lecture in the singular—a quest constructed around a sequence of questions: Why do we write? What is the motive for metaphor? “Where do you get your ideas?” Do we choose our subjects, or do our subjects choose us? Do we choose our “voices”? Is inspiration a singular phenomenon, or does it take taxonomical forms? Indeed, is the uninspired life worth living?

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/aug/13/inspiration-and-obsession-life-and-literature/

Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http 2015:// www.stagevoices.com/ . If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com.