Monthly Archives: March 2019

SHAKEPEARE RECIPES: DID THE BARD EAT THAT? ·

(Marissa Nicosia’s article appeared on Folger.edu; via Pam Green.)  

Citrus and sugar: Making marmalade with Hannah Woolley

As our First Chefs recipe series continues, Marissa Nicosia writes about a 17th-century recipe for citrus marmalade. Nicosia is the author of the blog Cooking in the Archives: Updating Early Modern Recipes (1600-1800) in a Modern Kitchen, where you can find even more information about these adaptations.

Citrus and sugar: What could be more precious than marmalade? Oranges and other citrus cultivars come from the mountainous parts of southern China and northeast India. They were prized for their beauty, scent, and medicinal properties in this region long before Europeans saw, smelled, or tasted an orange. As Clarissa Hyman writes in Oranges: A Global History, “In India, a medical treatise c. AD 100 was the first to mention the fruit by a term we recognize today. Naranga or narangi derives from the Sanskrit, originally meaning ‘perfumed from within’” (10).

The three original citrus cultivars were the citron (prized for its thick, fragrant peel), the pomelo, and sour oranges, called China or Seville oranges in early modern England. Easily hybridized, these three cultivars are the origin of all modern citrus varieties. Soldiers returning from the Crusades brought citrons and sour oranges home with them. In the early modern period, sweet oranges, sour oranges, lemons, citrons, and exotic varieties like bergamot and blood orange were widely cultivated in Southern Europe and by wealthy gardeners who build special hot houses, or orangeries, further north.

Photo by Teresa Wood.

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ACTORS SHUT DOWN PARTS OF THEIR BRAINS TO TAKE ON ROLES, SCANS REVEAL ·

(Josh Gabbatiss’s article appeared in the Independent, 3/12.)

‘I got the idea that maybe acting was a bit similar to possession… when you’re acting you’re kind of being taken over by character,’ says scientist

To truly inhabit a role, actors must effectively turn off part of their brain, according to a new study based on brain scans of thespians. 

In a series of experiments, actors were placed in MRI machines and asked to respond to questions as if they were Romeo or Juliet during the “balcony scene” from William Shakespeare’s play.

Scientists were surprised to see that as the participants mused on concepts ranging from romance to religion, their brains were truly taken over by those of the famous star-crossed lovers,

They watched as brain activity dropped off, with a notable deactivation in a part of the frontal lobe.

This result suggested the portrayal of a fictional character goes far deeper than simply learning a script. 

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Photo: The Independent

‘MOCKINGBIRD’ PLAY PUBLISHER DEMANDS $500,000 FROM HARPER LEE ESTATE ·

(Alexandra Alter’s and Michael Paulson’s article appeared in The New York Times, 3/8; via Pam Green.)

The set for “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the Kavinoky Theater at D’Youville College in Buffalo being taken down last month after several theaters were forced to cancel their productions.CreditLibby March for The New York Times

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is proving to be an eventful legal drama. And not just in the theater.

Last month the producer Scott Rudin, seeking to protect the financial future of a new stage adaptation of the novel now running on Broadwayforced at least eight theaters around the country to cancelproductions of a 1970 stage version. Now the publisher of the earlier script says he will seek compensation and legal vindication.

“We feel horribly for those affected by the shameful bigfooting coming from Mr. Rudin,” Christopher Sergel III, president of Dramatic Publishing Company and the grandson of the author of the first adaptation, said.

Mr. Sergel said he would ask an arbitration tribunal to protect the ability of local theaters to stage his grandfather’s adaptation and to award damages of at least $500,000. He accused the estate of the “Mockingbird” author, Harper Lee, acting in concert with Mr. Rudin, of causing financial losses to Dramatic Publishing by making “false statements” to local theaters.

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Photo: The New York Times

 

RUSSIA’S ANNA KARENINA MUSICAL TO BE SHOWN IN U.S. AND UK CINEMAS ·

(Alexandra Guzeva’s article appeared in Russia Beyond the Headlines, 3 /4.)

People living in America and the UK will be able to watch Russia’s best-selling musical, Anna Karenina, staged by Moscow’s Operetta Theater. The performance will be shown throughout this month (in Russian with English subtitles).

The musical premiered in 2016 and its producer Alexei Bolonin spent much of the noughties staging licensed Western musicals on Russian soil including Metro, Notre Dame de Paris, and Romeo & Juliette.

“Tolstoy’s novel like no other is suited for a musical because it has all the necessary ingredients, most importantly, a love story,” Bolonin said.

Turning the famous Russian writer’s masterpiece into a musical was a little risky because addressing the book’s philosophical themes on stage is no easy task. However, it includes many direct quotes from the novel and all the important moments are reflected in the lyrics.

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A ‘TRADITION’ OMISSION: I HAD NEVER SEEN ‘FIDDLER’ UNTIL NOW ·

(Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s article appeared in The New York Times, 2/27; via Pam Green.)

At the relatively late age of 43 — though basically a toddler compared to much of a recent audience for the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene production — I finally saw “Fiddler on the Roof.”

We all have our cultural blind spots. I’ve never seen an episode of “The Simpsons,” either, though I very much have always meant to. Some things just slip by. My failure to see “Fiddler” is only important in that it would be extremely on-brand for me to have seen “Fiddler” 35,000 times — to have “Fiddler” be the only show I’d ever seen. I grew up attending Jewish schools and in a home where my mother became Orthodox when I was 12, and where my mother’s full-time mission became to guide my sisters and me toward her enlightenment. This worked on my sisters. It still works for them.

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Photo: The New York Times

 

LET’S GO: ‘DEATH OF A DRIVER’ AT URBAN STAGES (3/1-3/24) ·

Urban Stages Presents

DEATH OF A DRIVER

Written by WILL SNIDER. Directed by KIM T. SHARP

Starring SARAH BASKIN and PATRICK SSENJOVU

New York: Urban Stages (Frances Hill, Founding Artistic Director), will close its 35th season with the World Premiere of Will Snider’s DEATH OF A DRIVER directed by Kim T. Sharp.

Urban Stages (259 West 30th Street)

Sarah is an American engineer. Kennedy is an East African taxi driver. They strike up a friendship and embark on a journey to change rural Kenya building new roads. But when a disputed local election lands Kennedy in jail and threatens the work, Sarah questions the integrity of their alliance and wonders how well she knows the man she thought was her friend. Death of a Driver is a bracing examination of “doing good” abroad, the limits of understanding another person, and what happens when personal and political obligations collide.

“We are thrilled to bring Death of a Driver to Urban Stages’ to help close our 35th season. It is a smart, well-written tale of people trying to help. It explores how good intentions may not always have the best results, especially on a global level. I look forward to seeing how audiences react to this piece.”   Frances Hill, Founding Artistic Director

DEATH OF A DRIVER will be performed by Sarah Baskins (TV: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; NY: Wolves) and Patrick Ssenjovu (Theatre: Red HillsGa-aad at Uganda National Theater. Film: Sydney Pollock’s The Interpreter). The creative team includes: Frank Oliva (Set Designer), John Salutz (Lighting Designer), Ian Wehrle (Sound Designer), Vincent Scott (Assistant Director), TBA (Technical Director), Miriam Hyfler (Stage Manager), Lindsay Kipnis (Assistant Stage Manager). and Abou Lion Diarra (Original Music). Urban Stages staff includes Antoinette Mullins (Development & Literary Director), Olga Devyatisilnaya (Company Manager/Financial Administrator), Ilanna Saltzman (Outreach Director), Bara Swain (Creative Consultant), Vincent Scott (School Consultant), Myan Disnie Sabastien (Social Media) and Sylvia Haber, Perpetuart (Graphic Designer).

 

DEATH OF A DRIVER

Written by Will Snider. Directed by Kim T. Sharp

Vincent Scott – Assistant Director

Performed by Sarah Baskins & Patrick Ssenjovu

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AMERICAN REPERTORY THEATER WILL MOVE TO BOSTON WITH HELP OF $100 MILLION GIFT ·

(Michael Paulson’s article appeared in The New York Times, 2/28; via Pam Green.)  

The American Repertory Theater, one of the nation’s leading regional theaters, is planning to move from Cambridge, Mass., to Boston, Harvard University said Thursday.

The university, which houses the theater, said it had received $100 million from the hedge fund manager David E. Goel, who is a Harvard alumnus, and his wife, Stacey L. Goel, to begin fund-raising and planning for what it is calling a “research and performance center” in Allston, a section of Boston just across the Charles River from Harvard Square. The center will include a new home for the A.R.T.

Allston is already home to Harvard’s business school, as well as a planned science and engineering complex and some arts facilities.

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