Category Archives: Events

ANNA DEAVERE SMITH/ ‘THIS GHOST OF SLAVERY’: A SOLO READING ·

(Premiered Jul 8, 2024; Illustration: The Atlantic)

Anna Deavere Smith

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Award-winning actress, playwright, and professor Anna Deavere Smith explores performance as a way of knowing in this four-part series. Since 1980, Smith has been interviewing Americans through her project “On the Road: A Search for American Character,” which she developed into a new form of theater. Delivered with segments of performance, these lectures examine this material collected over the course of Smith’s career: https://www.nga.gov/research/casva/me… Lecture 1 of 4: “On the Road: A Search for American Character”    • On the Road: A Search for American Ch…   Lecture 2 of 4:

“This Ghost of Slavery: A Solo Reading” Smith conducts a solo reading from her newest play “This Ghost of Slavery,” published in The Atlantic (December 2023).    • This Ghost of Slavery: A Solo Reading   Lecture 3 of 4: “Let Me Down Easy: On the Vulnerability of Our Bodies / The Resilience of Our Spirits” Featuring photographs by Diana Walker.    • Let Me Down Easy: On the Vulnerabilit…   Lecture 4 of 4: “Me: Shot Out of a Moving Canon—Black, Female, and the 1970s”    • Me: Shot Out of a Moving Canon—Black,…   The A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts is the longest-running lecture series at the National Gallery of Art. Past lecturers have included art historians, artists, poets, and musicologists: https://www.nga.gov/research/casva/me… Still haven’t subscribed to our YouTube channels? National Gallery of Art ►►   / nationalgalleryofartus   National Gallery of Art Talks ►►   / nationalgalleryofarttalks  

ABOUT THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART The National Gallery of Art serves the nation by welcoming all people to explore and experience art, creativity, and our shared humanity. More National Gallery of Art Content: Facebook:   / nationalgalleryofart   Twitter:   / ngadc   Instagram:   / ngadc   Pinterest:   / _created   E-News: https://nga.us4.list-manage.com/subsc

HOMEGROWN SHAKESPEARE: ‘A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM’ (RIVER’S EDGE THEATRE CO, NY) ·

HOMEGROWN SHAKESPEARE:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Directed by Jessica Irons

Shakespeare never looked so sustainable! Earth conscious actors are assigned their roles 30 days before the performance. Forbidden to rehearse with one another, each actor must craft their own character, costume, and props in the privacy of their own home with sustainability in mind. Nothing can be purchased. Use of recycled materials is encouraged. Coming together for the first time on the weekend of the show, these actors perform onstage in front of a live audience. NO HOLDS BARD! Recommended for ages 8 and up.

July 20th at 4pm and 7pm

July 21st at 4 and 7pm

Bethany Arts Community, Ossining (INDOORS)

Tickets: $20 seniors and students/$25  general admission

10% of Ticket sales go to Groundwork Hudson Valley. a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating sustainable environmental change in urban neighborhoods through community based partnerships.

​This project is made possible with funds from Arts Alive, a regrant program of ArtsWestchester with support from the Office of the Governor, the New York State Legislature, and the New York State Council on the arts.

TICKETS HERE.

PEEK-A-BOO

(an immersive theatrical romp)

By Meghan Covington

Welcome, guys and gals, to the 1920s in Tarrytown, NY. You are invited to the Peek-a-boo flats, a paltry little club nestled on the banks of the Hudson. Here you may imbibe the potions, delight in the dancers, and let your senses run wild, but try not to get too spellbound. Once you walk in you might never find your way out again. Spooky local history and immersive theatre unite in this torrid tale of love and longing on the Hudson River. Mature audiences only.

Oct 17-20th and 24-27, 7:30pm

Bethany Arts Community, Ossining

Tickets: $30 seniors and students/ $35 general admission

Tickets on sale soon!

O, CANADA! THE BARD IS RIBBED AND REVERED AT ONTARIO’S STRATFORD FESTIVAL ·

(Chris Wiegand’s article appeared in the Guardian, 6/28; Photo: God, I hate Shakespeare … Mark Uhre as Nick Bottom in Something Rotten! Photograph: Ann Baggley.)

The side-splitting Something Rotten! fondly mocks Shakespeare and musicals at the annual arts jamboree celebrated for both. It is a witty accompaniment to fresh takes on Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night and Cymbeline

Something is rotten in the province of Ontario. It is the second number of the tentpole musical at Canada’s Stratford festival, the Shakespeare jamboree that has celebrated the British Bard of Avon for more than 70 years. This is a town where a street, a school and a pet hospital are called Romeo. But what’s that I hear? “God, I hate Shakespeare!” fumes the fellow on the revolutionary thrust stage of Stratford’s Festival theatre, asking how “a mediocre actor from a measly little town” managed to become “the brightest jewel in England’s royal crown”. The sacrilege rages on as the showboating Bard himself strides on to hog the spotlight for the song Will Power, and the “sultan of sonnets” brandishes a huge quill like a mic and shamelessly flirts with fans.

Bawdy, barmy and almost incessantly hilarious, Something Rotten! is the standout show of the 2024 Stratford season, fusing the festival’s two major traditions of Shakespeare and musical theatre. This Renaissance tale of budding playwright brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom (Mark Uhre and Henry Firmston), toiling in the shadow of the all-conquering Shakespeare (Jeff Lillico), picked up 10 Tony award nominations on its premiere in 2015 including best score (for brothers Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick) and best book (co-written by longtime Guardian columnist John O’Farrell). Despite such success, it has inexplicably taken almost a decade for it to receive a UK premiere – but now a concert version will be staged for two nights at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane in August.

It is perfectly at home in Canada’s Stratford – settled in 1832 and surrounded by farmland – which has a theatrical reputation to rival its British namesake. There are irreverent gags galore about musical theatre as the Bottom brothers take advice from a soothsayer who assures them it’s the next big thing – cue fond mockery in a brassy, high-kicking, dizzyingly meta number that breaks down the genre’s key ingredients with references to Les Mis, Annie and scores of other shows. A Hamilton-style rap battle finds rhyming couplets fired across the stage and the show has a touch of The Producers, too, as the Bottoms workshop the song The Black Death (opening line: “What’s that coming up the Silk Road?”) complete with a chorus line of grim reapers.

(Read more)

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE WORLD’S BIGGEST THEATRE FESTIVAL ·

(Eve Jackson’s, Olivia Salazar-Winspear’s, Marion Cheval’s, Natacha Milleret’s , Solène Clausse’s, and Magali Faure’s report appeared on France24, 7/4/2024.)

Culture reporter Olivia Salazar-Winspear speaks to Eve Jackson about the highlights from the Avignon Theatre Festival in the south of France, including Greek tragedy “Hecuba, not Hecuba” from the event’s artistic director Tiago Rodrigues, and French director Boris Charmatz’s delightful outdoor style rave “Circles”. The directors also comment on the importance of immigration and openness for artistic creation in the current political context in France. Also on the programme, we hear from the all-female metal band Voice of Baceprot, who made history at Glastonbury as the first Indonesian group ever to play at the iconic event.

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BEHIND THE SCENES AT THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY, 7/2/2024 ·

On 7/2/2024, director Frank Farrell and playwright Bob Shuman went for a 1:00pm meeting with Dream Up Festival director, Michael Scott-Price, at Theater for the New City (TNC) to have a walk-through of the space (with other groups who will also present shows).  The stage where their project, Tongs and Bones Shakespeare, will be playing, for approximately five performances (between 8/26 and 9/15), is the Community Theater, a mid-sized space within the TNC complex–of the dimensions they had been hoping for.  You can see it below, as it is,  before they attempt to create an uninhabited (by human life) island for “From a Cloven Pine,” a prequel to The Tempest; the forest of Arden in “The Coxcomb’s Wedding,” inspired by As You Like It; and a fairy bower for “The Wanton Wind,” based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The first idea that came to mind for the creators was, “Can we get another ladder? 
  
 
Jotting down notes on pre-sale discount codes, press releases, and lighting (with Michael and Clara, their tech contact), they were then taken to a downstairs storage area for sets, props, and costumes, to meet  Susan Hemley, the volunteer, veteran  mistress of the above.  When Bob mentioned a gorilla mask, she did not bat an eyelash. The team is to gather on “pull days,” for which they will receive notification, to tape index cards to the properties they would like to use for their project, and even arrange shares with those who would like the same items (apparently blocks and cubes are highly prized). How amazing to see the imagined become tangible.  Like Christmas in July.

 

Follow the progress of the staging of Tongs and Bones Shakespeare weekly on Stage Voices.

THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY

Crystal Field, Executive Artistic Director

155 First Avenue
(between 9th and 10th Streets)
New York, NY 10003

‘TONGS AND BONES SHAKESPEARE’ AT THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY (BY BOB SHUMAN; DIRECTED BY FRANK FARRELL)

Stage Voices Web site (www.stagevoices.com) will be following the course of the production with information and rehearsal updates.  To bring this ambitious project to life, we are seeking the generous support of our community.  To start, we are beginning a GoFundMe campaign: Please consider donating, as the cast, in keeping with those in Shakespeare’s plays, is rather large—there are, of course, costume and rehearsal space costs, as well; a long list of expenditures.  Your contributions, no matter the size, will play a vital role in ensuring the success of this production—and we give many thanks for your help.

Please use the following GoFundMe link for the crowdsourcing platform to donate.  

(c) 2024 by Bob Shuman. 

ISMAIL KADARE, GIANT OF ALBANIAN LITERATURE, DIES AGED 88 ·

(Richard Lea’s article appeared in the Guardian, 7/1;  Photo: Ismail Kadare, pictured in 2005. Photograph: Murdo Macleod/The Guardian.)

His allegorical stories, informed by life under state communism, drew international praise but he insisted that he was not a political writer

Ismail Kadare, the Albanian writer who explored Balkan history and culture in poetry and fiction spanning more than 60 years, has died aged 88, his publisher has said.

Bujar Hudhri, Kadare’s editor at Tirana-based publishing house Onufri, said Kadare died on Monday after being rushed to hospital, with Reuters reporting the writer had suffered cardiac arrest.

Writing under the shadow of Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha, Kadare examined contemporary society through the lens of allegory and myth in novels including The General of the Dead Army, The Siege and The Palace of Dreams. After fleeing to Paris just months before Albania’s communist government collapsed in 1990, his reputation continued to grow as he kept returning to the region in his fiction. Translated into more than 40 languages, he won a series of awards including the Man Booker International prize.

Born in 1936 in Gjirokastër, an Ottoman fortress city not far from the Greek border, Kadare grew up on the street where Hoxha had lived a generation before. He published his first collection of poetry aged 17. After studying at Tirana University, he won a government scholarship to study literature at the Gorky Institute in Moscow. He returned to Tirana in 1960 with a novel about two students reinventing a lost Albanian text. When he published an extract in a magazine, it was promptly banned.

“It was a good thing this happened,” he told the Guardian in 2005. “In the early 60s, life in Albania was pleasant and well-organised. A writer would not have known he should not write about the falsification of history.”

Three years later he made it past the censors with The General of the Dead Army, a novel about an Italian general who travels across Albania in the 1960s to recover the remains of Italian soldiers who died during the second world war. The unnamed general trudges through dismal villages and muddy fields, questioning the point of his gloomy mission: “When all is said and done, can a pile of bones still have a name?”

Albanian critics attacked a novel that was a world away from the socialist realism required by Hoxha’s regime, but when it was published in France in 1970 it caused a sensation. Le Monde hailed it as “astonishing and full of charm”.

While his international profile offered some protection, Kadare spent the next 20 years charting a course between artistic expression and survival. After his political poem The Red Pashas was banned in 1975, he painted a flattering portrait of Hoxha in his 1977 novel The Great Winter. In 1981 he published The Palace of Dreams, an allegorical attack on totalitarianism in which a young man discovers the dangerous secrets of a government office that studies dreams. It was banned within hours. Despite these reverses, Kadare became an important figure in the Albanian writers’ union and served as a delegate in the People’s Assembly. He was also able to publish and travel abroad.

(Read more)

DOUBLE BILL DEBUTS: DOGTEAM THEATRE OPENS WITH FORNÉS AND COLLIER (7/9-8/4) ·

(via David Gibbs, DARR Publicity)

Dogteam Theatre Project launches its inaugural Off-Broadway season with two world premieres.

“La Viuda,” by Cuban American pioneer María Irene Fornés, explores a woman’s fight for dignity after the Spanish-American War. Actor, director, devisor, and translator Olga Sanchez Saltveit, with over 25 years of experience, translates and directs the play. Saltveit served as artistic director emerita for Milagro, the Pacific Northwest’s premier Latinx arts & culture organization. Her work centers Latine playwrights and has been seen throughout the US and in Peru, Venezuela and Honduras. She is a member of the Fornés Institute and the Advisory Committee of the Latinx Theatre Commons.

The other half of the double bill is Sam Collier’s “A Hundred Circling Camps,” a look at the forgotten 1932 Bonus Army protest. Collier is a playwright whose other works include “The Light that’s Left,” “Daisy Violet the Bitch Beast King,” “Thing with Feathers” and “Silo Tree.” She holds an MFA in playwriting from the University of Iowa and is currently working on a PhD in theater and performance studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. She co-hosts the playwriting podcast Beckett’s Babies.

Atlantic Stage 2 is the Atlantic Theater Company’s black box space, located in the basement of their building in Chelsea. It is a smaller, more intimate venue than the company’s main stage, and is often used for new play readings and productions.

Both shows play July 9-August 4 at The Atlantic Stage 2. This is an exciting opportunity to see new work by talented Latina playwrights and directors.

NEW YORK THEATER VETERAN STAGES STRINDBERG’S “MISS JULIE” IN ROARING TWENTIES SETTING ·

Natalie Menna (Hedda), Mike Roche (Judge Brack) in “Hedda Gabler,” adapted and directed by Robert Greer, at Theater for the New City, 2022. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Don’t miss a fresh take on classic drama, June 27 to July 7, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 3:00 PM. Theater for the New City is presenting August Strindberg Rep‘s production of “Miss Julie 1925,” a new adaptation by Robert Greer, a renowned translator and director.

Greer, who has a deep commitment to Scandinavian theater, transplants Strindberg’s social drama from its original 1888 Swedish manor house to a lavish Long Island estate in the heart of the Jazz Age. This Americanization places Strindberg’s themes of class struggle and societal hypocrisy squarely within the context of America’s own stratified social landscape of the 1920s.

The narrative centers on Julie, a headstrong young woman from a wealthy family, her engagement to a district attorney recently broken off. On a sweltering Fourth of July night, amidst a raging party, Julie engages in a flirtatious dance with Jean, her father’s butler, a complex interplay of attraction and power dynamics simmering beneath the surface. As the evening progresses, their encounter takes a dramatic turn, leading to a desperate escape attempt and a tragic resolution.

Natalie Menna, who impressed audiences as Hedda Gabler in a previous Strindberg Rep production, takes on the role of Julie. Mike Roche, last seen as Judge Brack in “Hedda Gabler,” portrays Jean, the ambitious butler. Rounding out the cast is Holly O’Brien as Christine, the cook and Jean’s fiancée.

This production boasts a team with extensive experience. Greer himself has staged over 18 Strindberg plays and brought contemporary Scandinavian works to English-speaking audiences. Menna is no stranger to Strindberg, having tackled lead roles in several of his plays at Theater for the New City. Both Roche and O’Brien bring impressive resumes to the table, with credits ranging from Off-Off-Broadway to regional productions.

“Miss Julie 1925” promises a captivating exploration of Strindberg’s enduring themes, recontextualized for a uniquely American setting. The production runs from June 27th to July 7th at Theater for the New City.

WHERE AND WHEN:
June 27 to July 7, 2024
Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave (at E.10th Street)
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM, Sundays at 3:00 PM
$18 general admission; $15 seniors & students
Box office www.theaterforthenewcity.net – (212) 254-1109
Runs :75

Visit  Theater for the New City 

Visit August Strindberg Rep 

THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY

Crystal Field, Executive Artistic Director

155 First Avenue
(between 9th and 10th Streets)
New York, NY 10003

(Via Jonathan Slaff)

‘TONGS AND BONES SHAKESPEARE’ BY BOB SHUMAN:  TALKING WITH . . . ·

In May, when director Frank Farrell began working with playwright Bob Shuman on staging Tongs and Bones Shakespeare–coming to Theater for the New City, as part of the Dream Up Festival (at the end of August and beginning of September [final dates to be announced])–their correspondence began with finding answers.  Here is the start (Farrell’s writing and questions are in bold); the entire interview will be published on Stage Voices Web site during the next several weeks.   

FRANK FARRELL:  I have a few questions I want to ask. They will help me figure out how to direct this production. 

When you wrote the five plays* did you write them with the intention of them all being performed together? 

* For the production at Theater for the New City, three plays are being staged, due to length.

BOB SHUMAN: They were written because I wanted to cover “other” or “hidden” stories within the texts.  I could start to see them in the Shakespeare plays, so I hoped to highlight them, as if I were finding pentimento in paintings.   

I wrote them for myself.  They are exercises, really, because I was interested in learning more about Early Modern English.  At one point, I had started to look up words I did not know, from As You Like It, to define and post on my Web site, Stage Voices.

What effect would you hope each play will give to an audience? What are you hoping they walk away with at the end of each play? At the end of all five plays?

That I found interesting or untold stories within the plays. They were my crossword puzzles.                   `        `       

Is it true that each of the five plays is a mixing of various texts including Shakespeare, other sources and your own dialogue? Am I reading some contemporary wordage in the text?
Yes, Shakespeare is the common element, but I, for example, am drawing on Virginia Woolf, Euripides, and Boccaccio, too—and there are more.

What do you think we can achieve with Tongs and Bones Shakespeare in the time we have? Tell us about the title. Are you interested in having dancers on stage to express what the actors are saying while they say it? 

The reason I call it Tongs and Bones Shakespeare is because I wanted rawness and fluidity.  Sure, it can dance. “Tongs and bones,” according to Oxford, are “makeshift musical instruments, used by people on the streets or in taverns.”  My plays were relying on imagination and literary improvisation; they’re based on the great work of the Bard—made disharmonic, noisy, visible, and boisterous!

Follow the progress of the staging of Tongs and Bones Shakespeare weekly on Stage Voices.

THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY

Crystal Field, Executive Artistic Director

155 First Avenue
(between 9th and 10th Streets)
New York, NY 10003

‘TONGS AND BONES SHAKESPEARE’ AT THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY (BY BOB SHUMAN; DIRECTED BY FRANK FARRELL)

Stage Voices Web site (www.stagevoices.com) will be following the course of the production with information and rehearsal updates.  To bring this ambitious project to life, we are seeking the generous support of our community.  To start, we are beginning a GoFundMe campaign: Please consider donating, as the cast, in keeping with those in Shakespeare’s plays, is rather large—there are, of course, costume and rehearsal space costs, as well; a long list of expenditures.  Your contributions, no matter the size, will play a vital role in ensuring the success of this production—and we give many thanks for your help.

Please use the following GoFundMe link for the crowdsourcing platform to donate.  

(c) 2024 by Frank Farrell and Bob Shuman.  All rights reserved. Art: Fuseli.

 

IAN MCKELLEN HOSPITALIZED AFTER FALLING OFF STAGE DURING WEST END PERFORMANCE ·

(Ethan Shanfeld’s article appeared in Variety, 6/17. Photo:  Ian McKellen plays John Falstaff in Player Kings. Photograph: Manuel Harlanthe Guardian.)

Ian McKellen was hospitalized after falling off stage during a performance of “Player Kings” at the Noël Coward Theatre on the West End in London, according to the BBC.

McKellen was reportedly in a battle scene when he lost his footing and fell. The audience was evacuated from the theater and the evening show was canceled. A representative for the theater shared a statement that McKellen will “make a speedy and full recovery” and that the 85-year-old actor is “in good spirits.”

“Thank you to our audience and the general public for their well wishes following Ian’s fall during this evening’s performance of ‘Player Kings,’” reads the statement. “Following a scan, the brilliant NHS team have assured us that he will make a speedy and full recovery and Ian is in good spirits. The production has made the decision to cancel the performance on Tuesday 18 June so Ian can rest. Those affected will be contacted by their point of purchase as soon as possible tomorrow. Thank you to doctors Rachel and Lee who were on hand in the audience and to all the venue staff for their support.”

Variety has reached out to McKellen’s representative for further comment.

McKellen plays John Falstaff in “Player Kings,” which is a production of William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV, Parts One and Two.” It started its 12-week run on the West End in April. After circling a fight scene involving two other characters, McKellen apparently fell off the front of the stage. Per the BBC, “As the house lights came up, the actor cried out and staff rushed to help.”

An audience member speaking to the BBC called the incident “very shocking,” adding, “As far as I saw, he was conscious because he was asking for assistance.”

(Read more)