Category Archives: Uncategorized

THE 40 BEST IRISH FICTIONAL CHARACTERS – IN ORDER ·

(Chosen by Rosita BolandDonald ClarkePeter CrawleyMartin Doyle, and Hilary Fannin for the Irish Times, 8/1; Photo: The Irish Times.)

FROM NIDGE AND CONNELL WALDRON TO GRETTA CONROY, RASHERS TIERNEY AND PEGEEN MIKE, ALL OF THESE PEOPLE EMERGED FROM ACTS OF IMAGINATION – BUT ARE SO DEFTLY CREATED THAT THEY ARE AS REAL TO US AS ANY LIVING PERSON

40. BESSIE BURGESS

From The Plough and the Stars
Play, 1926
It befits an unsentimental classic like The Plough and the Stars that its heart resides in such an unlikely place. Bessie Burgess, the cantankerous, self-demolishing, crowing unionist (“Oh, youse are all rightly shanghaied now!” she spits at her revolutionary neighbours) is ultimately the spine of compassion, quiet heroism and genuine sacrifice amid all the posture and chaos of Seán O’Casey’s street-level view of the 1916 Rising.

39. AISLING

From Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling
Book, 2017
For a modest, sensible twentysomething from Ballygobbard, Aisling has taken Ireland by storm. The first three books featuring her, written by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen, are the bestselling Irish fiction titles this century. Compared to “an Irish Bridget Jones”, Aisling is as much in the tradition of a Maeve Binchy or Marian Keyes heroine as she is a rival to Helen Fielding’s creation.

38. CONNELL WALDRON

From Normal People
Book, 2018; TV drama, 2020
Despite being a young man both studying literature and writing it, Connell’s trademark characteristic is an inability to be articulate, especially with Marianne, his love. What Sally Rooney’s creation doesn’t, or can’t, say to her during their school and college years together is partly what makes his character so realistic, frustrating and engaging.

37. CATHERINE MCKENNA

From Grace Notes
Book, 1997
In Scotland, Catherine, a composer, is trying to literally compose her life. She is a new mother, but her partner is abusive. She is estranged from her family back in Northern Ireland. Music and her career-changing composing commission both ground her, Bernard MacLaverty’s novel, and then lift her onwards from where she has been in a paralysis.

36. SADIE JACKSON

From The Twelfth Day of July
Book, 1970
Sadie, a Protestant teenager, is sassy and feisty. As we follow her love-across-the-divide relationship with Kevin, a Catholic, over five books, we grow with them. Joan Lingard’s young-adult-fiction series brought the Troubles home to generations of young people elsewhere and brought fiction home to young people in Northern Ireland.

35 CATHLEEN NI HOULIHAN

From Cathleen Ni Houlihan
Play, 1902
“Did that play of mine send out / Certain men the English shot?” WB Yeats wondered about Cathleen Ni Houlihan. If so, they must have been as naive as the question. In 1798, a mysterious old lady disturbs a family dinner to sing of blood sacrifice, tell of her stolen “four beautiful green fields”, and lure a young man to join the Rebellion. Thus appeased, she transforms into a girl with “the walk of a queen” and struts away into several more Irish dramas.

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STRATFORD FESTIVAL ON FILM: ‘KING JOHN’ ·

Stratford Festival

King John house program: https://cdscloud.stratfordfestival.ca… When the rule of a hedonistic king is questioned, rebellion ensues, culminating in the chilling attempt to commit an atrocity against a child, whose mother’s anguished grief cannot atone for her blinkered ambitions for her son. Don’t miss the rare opportunity to see Shakespeare’s King John, in this magnificent, “deliciously contemporary” production.

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After seeing this production of ‘King John’, on 6/21, Father’s Day, Bob Shuman has now seen all the plays of Shakespeare, including ‘Cardenio’.

WATCH KATRINA LENK, PATTI LUPONE, AND THE CAST OF COMPANY PERFORM THE SHOW’S OPENING NUMBER ·

(from Theatermania, 6/15; via Pam Green.)

Marianne Elliott directs the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical.

Author

Locations

June 15, 2020

The cast of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company gathered once again to record a virtual quarantined performance of the show’s title number. Watch Katrina Lenk, Patti LuPone, and the cast sing below:

Lenk and LuPone star as Bobbie and Joanne, alongside Greg Hildreth as Peter, Matt Doyle as Jamie, Christopher Fitzgerald as David, Christopher Sieber as Harry, Jennifer Simard as Sarah, Rashidra Scott as Susan, Terence Archie as Larry, Etai Benson as Paul, Nikki Renée Daniels as Jenny, Claybourne Elder as Andy, Kyle Dean Massey as Theo, and Bobby Conte Thornton as P.J. Kathryn Allison, Stanley Bahorek, Britney Coleman, John Arthur Greene, Javier Ignacio, Anisha Nagarajan, Tally Sessions, and Matt Wall round out the ensemble.

Visit

 

LIFE SKETCHES (SHORT SCENES AND MONOLOGUES): “IN THE WOODS” (8)  ·

By Bob Shuman

SCENE: In the woods. A small clearing, off a parking lot–hardly more than a triangle where two parallel felled logs act as benches.

MARY JANE, early 70’s, sits on a log.  As at the dog run, using a launcher, SHE plays fetch with the dogs.

 CHRISTIE, late 50’s (male), is walking fast to catch up with JUNO, one of his two Jack Russell terriers (the other is Jasper) who has gotten out of her harness. Both JASPER and JUNO drag their leashes on the wet earth.  

Both MARY JANE and CHRISTIE wear gloves—CHRISTIE’s are surgical gloves.  CHRISTIE is also wearing a mask. MARY JANE leaves hers down—she only pulls it up when a stranger appears.

Beginning of May, still chilly and wet.

CHRISTIE: (About Juno.) Come on Jasper, help me get her.

MARY JANE: Did she go off?

CHRISTIE: Come on, Juno.  I’ve got to go get her. 

MARY JANE: Can you see her?

CHRISTIE:  Excuse, me I’ll be right back.

MARY JANE: I know someone who’s going to “prison.”

CHRISTIE:  Jasper, help me get her.

(Jasper runs with CHRISTIE to find Juno.)

MARY JANE: Lantern’s been a bad dog himself, running off.

CHRISTIE:  (Off.) Not too far.  Come on back, Juno.   Come  on.  Come back.  

(There is a clamor in the background.  Muted car horns and yells—shaking, pounding, rattling of kitchen utensils.)

CHRISTIE:  That’s it, that’s a good girl.  Thank you for listening.  That’s it.

MARY JANE: Lantern must be doing the loop.

CHRISTIE:  Let’s all go see Mary Jane.  Jasper, you come too.   (To MARY JANE.) Have they been sending people to the hospital ship?

MARY JANE: No, it was sent back—the ship wasn’t even half filled.  They were sending patients back to the nursing homes to infect others.

(Silence.)

CHRISTIE: (CHRISTIE makes a whooping sound for the hospital workers. About the clamor.) I think today’s Nurse Day.

MARY JANE: Nurse week.  Hello, Juno.

CHRISTIE:  (CHRISTIE gives another whoop, taking Juno to a tree branch.)  A sign was posted in our building about it.  I have to watch Juno because she can break out of her harness.

MARY JANE: Here she is.  Straight to “jail.”

CHRISTIE:  She was just like Dorothy, toodling down the yellow brick road. 

(Christie takes Juno to a tree branch of a fallen tree and loops the leash handle over it.)

MARY JANE: There’s one nurse, who walks her dog here in the woods.  She helped me, after I got out of the hospital seven years ago.  I had a sore on my back–I couldn’t reach it.  She came to my apartment and changed the bandage every other day,  so I wouldn’t have to go to a clinic.  She’s helping Covid patients now.

(Silence.)

MARY JANE: He’s been gone longer than fifteen minutes.  I don’t like it when he takes so long.

CHRISTIE:  (Calling.) Lantern! (To Jasper.)  Come on Jasper, stop bringing the ball to Mary Jane.  Bring it over here to me.

MARY JANE: I don’t mind.

CHRISTIE:  You might be tired of throwing it to him.

MARY JANE: What else would I be doing, since Juno’s been put in the “penitentiary”–and I don’t see Lantern? 

CHRISTIE:   (About Juno.) Juno was howling at something today.

MARY JANE: Probably critters.

CHRISTIE:   Junie, don’t pull on that harness too hard—she broke out of it on the way down here.

MARY JANE: (Calling.) Lantern!  His medication must be starting to work.

CHRISTIE: (Calling.)   Lantern! 

MARY JANE: This breed is supposed to live to fourteen years.  That’s why I bought him, because I knew he would be my last dog–but I don’t know if he’s going to make it much longer.  He’s eleven and a half.

CHRISTIE:   He gets his shots every two and a half weeks.

MARY JANE:  His arthritis is giving him a lot of pain.

(Silence.)

(CHRISTIE is playing fetch with Jasper.)

CHRISTIE:  (Recalling a previous conversation.) Wouldn’t the nurses be taxed anyway?

MARY JANE: Yes, in their own states, but this is in New York—we’re the ones who asked them to come help us. (Pause.) They should have protected the elderly first, but they didn’t know.  A 40-year-old can get over the symptoms in a few days.  

CHRISTIE: (Going to Junie, to look at her harness.) We’re going to have to get Junie a new harness—she can slip out of it, too.

MARY JANE: At my age if you wake up without something hurting you, you’re dead!

(CHRISTIE begins laughing.)

CHRISTIE: Did you hear about the llama?

MARY JANE: What was that about?  I saw something. In Belgium? 

CHRISTIE:  It’s this llama, in Belgium.   Named Winter.  In Ghent, Belgium.  She produces antibodies—two kinds of antibodies. 

MARY JANE:  I just saw the picture on the Web. Dark brown.

CHRISTIE:  Humans only have one antibody.   So this other one can stick to the virus.

MARY JANE:  I wondered why they were talking about a llama.

CHRISTIE:  This antibody gets into the spikes–you seen those pictures of the coronavirus? Those spikes?  And makes them . . . I guess it can wad up in there.

MARY JANE: At least they’re trying.

CHRISTIE:  Makes it less effective.  

(Silence.)

MARY JANE:  I looked up that show.  It was first made as a movie in 1943, with Roddy McDowall.

CHRISTIE:   My Friend Flicka.

MARY JANE:  It only lasted a season in the late Fifties.

CHRISTIE:   I knew there had to be a serious horse show.

MARY JANE:  1957.

CHRISTIE:   Mr. Ed was more popular—it was comic.

MARY JANE: (Imitating Mr. Ed.) “Will-burr.”

CHRISTIE:   (Suddenly.)  You watch it, Jasper.  I saw you try to eat that poop—you’ll be next (to go to jail). You stop that, you hear me?

MARY JANE: The Post said that the number of deaths at Hebrew Home have been under-reported.

CHRISTIE:   When?

MARY JANE:  A friend sent it to me yesterday.  192 deaths.

CHRISTIE:  (Stunned.) I worked right there,

MARY JANE:  The highest in the state.

CHRISTIE:  Next to it.  Until March. 

MARY JANE:  I know.

CHRISTIE:  I didn’t hear about this.

MARY JANE: They were piling the corpses in the old retreat center.

CHRISTIE:  We know someone who works there.

MARY JANE:  Yes, from the dog run.  Her mother also lives there.  Ruff-Ruff’s owner.

CHRISTIE:  One of my students worked as a waiter there.

MARY JANE:  There are infections among the staff.  The paper said that.

CHRISTIE:  I think people from my church (also work there). 

(Silence.)

MARY JANE:  I always used to, I was trying to pray.  I went to Catholic School with French nuns.  I looked up to them.  But I stopped. Something always seemed to be happening, so I didn’t pray anymore and never started again—and now things are so chaotic—and I can’t pray now.

(Silence.)

MARY JANE:  I’m afraid for people going into hospitals.  You go in and you might never come out.  Families can’t go to visit.  People are dying  and they’re alone. 

(Silence.)

CHRISTIE:  (Juno breaks out of her harness.) She broke out of her harness. She can snap the holder on the harness.  Juno you come back here.  I don’t want her running away.

MARY JANE:  Juno, you come back.

CHRISTIE:  (Suddenly.)  Don’t you run, Juno.  Junie, you come back here.  I don’t want her going down to the swamp.

(CHRISTIE runs after JUNO.)

MARY JANE:  You’re not going anywhere—you come back with us.

CHRISTIE:  Jasper, you stay here with me. 

(Juno is running off. Silence.)

CHRISTIE:  Come back, Junie.

MARY JANE:  She’s had enough of being tied up . . . 

CHRISTIE:  Come on back.  Don’t go anywhere. 

MARY JANE:  She’s tired . . . of everything . . .

CHRISTIE:  This leash comes off.  This leash comes off.  It slipped over her head.

MARY JANE:  . . . and the pandemic.  She sees what it’s doing.

(JUNO begins howling.)

CHRISTIE:  Stay right there.  That’s a good girl. I’ll come get you.

MARY JANE:   I’m glad an animal is helping us solve this.

(The howling gets louder.)

(End of Scene)

Copyright (c) 2020 by Bob Shuman.  All rights reserved. Photos: Winter, the llama, Straits Times; Jasper and Juno in “jail.”

LIFE SKETCHES (SHORT SCENES AND MONOLOGUES): “AT THE DOG PARK” (5) ·

By Bob Shuman

Photo of Juno (Junie)

SCENE: A dog park in the Bronx. There are two benches. The first is near the entrance to the run—the second is toward the opposite end.

MARY JANE, early 70’s, sits on one side of the bench closest to the entrance of the dog run. Using a launcher, SHE plays fetch with her spaniel, LANTERN. CHRISTIE, late 50’s (male), is standing in the run reprimanding one of his two Jack Russell terriers, JASPER. The other dog, JUNO is digging a hole, near MARY JANE, which Lantern has started. There is a large container of water near the front of the run. A sunny day. April.

MARY JANE wears a glove on the hand she throws her ball with; CHRISTIE wears surgical gloves and a thicker glove on his right hand.

(Suddenly:)

CHRISTIE: (To Jasper, seeing he has taken the green ball from Lantern.) You’re a little thief!

MARY JANE:: When Lantern was younger, he would do that.

CHRISTIE: Stealing the ball right from under Lantern’s nose.

MARY JANE: He used to do it if he found a ball he liked better than his.

(Pause.)

CHRISTIE: (To Jasper.) I thought you wanted your orange ball.

MARY JANE: They’re playing a little game (with the green ball).

CHRISTIE: Come on—get your own. It’s right over here. (The dogs have no interest.)

MARY JANE: Look at how nicely Junie is enjoying the sun. (And Junie is sunning herself.)

CHRISTIE: Let Lantern have his own ball, for a change.

(Silence. MARY JANE and CHRISTIE begin throwing the green ball for Lantern and Jasper to fetch. )

MARY JANE: Lantern almost got out of the back run yesterday. He was headed toward the field–Natan had to get him back in.

(Silence.)

(MARY JANE and CHRISTIE sit on different benches, looking over the park.)

MARY JANE: The white cars are Enforcement. They’re the ones who disperse crowds. The green trucks are park maintenance.

CHRISTIE: The tennis nets are gone. I saw that this morning.

MARY JANE: Did they take the hoops down in the basketball courts? Just look. Are the hoops still in the baskets?

CHRISTIE: (He looks through the fence across the street.) Yes.

MARY JANE: They’re closing parks in New York City because people aren’t social distancing. One woman was having a children’s birthday party with twelve guests.

CHRISTIE: (To Jasper.) Get the orange ball.

MARY JANE: Washington State, they listened. California has been doing a very good job. But in New York they won’t.

CHRISTIE: (To Jasper.) You’re a little thief.

MARY JANE: I don’t want them to put locks on the run. I don’t have anyone else who can walk him now–Gina has an underlying condition.

CHRISTIE: (To Jasper.) Leave Lantern alone.

MARY JANE: (About underlying conditions.) I’ve learned that I have three: heart, diabetes, high blood pressure—and now they consider obesity one. 

CHRISTIE: (To Jasper.) Stop barking at Lantern.

MARY JANE: I left the gate ajar this morning so no one will have to touch it.

(Jasper barks at Lantern. Subsides.)

CHRISTIE: There’s a story about an epidemic. “Pale Horse, Pale Rider.” Takes place in Colorado, during the early 1900s. I read it in college. Always remembered it. Really good.

MARY JANE: (Seeing Lantern at the keg of water.) Lantern, stop acting so crazy.

CHRISTIE: What’s going on over there?

MARY JANE: He’s been acting this way all morning.

CHRISTIE: He’s knocking over the water.

MARY JANE: (To Lantern.) Enough.

CHRISTIE: (Christie picks up the water jug and pours water into the tin bowl.) I’m sorry, Lantern. I’ll get you water. I thought you had it.

(Lantern drinks, followed by Jasper.)

MARY JANE: Did you hear from your school?

CHRISTIE: I heard from them about two weeks ago. The course seems to be going online. I still seem to have it.

MARY JANE: I don’t know whether it’s true, but in Wuhan–I heard it in two places–they’ve found people with the virus locked in their rooms, from the outside.

CHRISTIE: So no one can get out.

(Pause.)

CHRISTIE: (To Jasper.) Why do you keep bringing me the green ball? What’s wrong with the orange one?

MARY JANE: Emergency services will leave you if they can’t find a pulse. They won’t make any attempts to revive you. They used to try to resuscitate you and take you to the hospital.

CHRISTIE: I didn’t hear that.

MARY JANE: Now, if you’re dead, you’re dead.

(Silence.)

CHRISTIE: What’s the matter Lantern?

MARY JANE: (About Lantern.) Sometimes I think he doesn’t get enough oxygen to his brain.

CHRISTIE: (To Lantern.) That was so nice that you dug that hole for Junie to lie in.

MARY JANE: (Lantern is lying in front of the gate.) He wants to go. Look at him. He wants to leave.

(Silence.)

CHRISTIE: Lantern’s trying to get out—he wants to get out of the gate.

MARY JANE: You come back here.

CHRISTIE: Juno. Jasper. You stay here.

(CHRISTIE closes the gate.)

MARY JANE: (About Lantern.) He’s out of the fence.

CHRISTIE: Lantern, come back here!

MARY JANE: I’m afraid he’ll run into the street and get hit by a car.

CHRISTIE: Lantern, get back.

MARY JANE: Help me get him.

CHRISTIE: He’s running.

MARY JANE: They’ll lock the fence at the run.

CHRISTIE: Do you see him? Look at him go. Out on the field. He has the orange ball. He’s running.

MARY JANE: Lantern, come here!

CHRISTIE: He’s turned around. He’s on his way back! You were beautiful, Lantern.

(End.)

(c) 2020 by Bob Shuman.  All rights reserved.

LIFE SKETCHES (SHORT SCENES AND MONOLOGUES): “AT THE DOG PARK” 4 ·

(Photo of Jasper)

SCENE: A dog park in the Bronx.  Today, it is warmer—and there is sun.  

(MARY JANE, early 70’s, sits on a bench in the dog park. Using a launcher, SHE plays fetch with her spaniel, LANTERN. Today, CHRISTIE (male), late 50’s, is standing at the beginning of the scene, but because of social distancing, he will be sitting on a second bench in this part of the run. JUNO and JASPER are CHRISTIE’s two Jack Russell terriers.)                        

(LANTERN is digging a hole to lie in; JUNO and JASPER are at the far end of the run.)

 

MARY JANE:  What are these dogs eating? Mud?

CHRISTIE:  Jasper you come over here!

MARY JANE:  What are they eating? Lantern was eating mud yesterday.

CHRISTIE:  You come over here, Jasper.  You, too, Junie.

MARY JANE:   I don’t mind if he eats a little mud.

CHRISTIE: (Suspecting Jasper is going to eat poop.)  Jasper, you get away from there.  

MARY JANE:   If he’s eating a lot of it, I care.  Is it poop?

CHRISTIE: I don’t know what it is.

MARY JANE: (Standing.)   I’ve heard about a powder for dogs who eat their own poop—makes it taste bad and they stop. But that wouldn’t help your dogs, because they eat other dogs’ poop.

CHRISTIE: Probably mud. (CHRISTIE kicks the ground where Jasper has been.)

MARY JANE:  (About a small piece of dog poop on the ground.) See, that’s the kind of thing I wouldn’t normally pick up.

(CHRISTIE picks it up anyway.)

(Silence.)

MARY JANE:  Uh-oh.  Lantern’s going. (Lantern is pooping.)

CHRISTIE: (Moving straight into action.) JASPER!

MARY JANE:  Do you have a bag?

CHRISTIE: I have a bag. (Chasing Jasper.) No!

MARY JANE:  Come on, Jasper, you come up here by me.

CHRISTIE: (Yelling at Jasper, running after him, trying to get him away from the poop.) Drop it! You drop that! You drop that! You drop that, Jasper!  Drop that.

(Pause. JASPER does not listen.)

MARY JANE:  Did he get it?

CHRISTIE: I don’t think so.  Junie, you get up there, too.

(Silence.  CHRISTIE cleans up LANTERN’s poop.  JUNO sits by Mary Jane.)

MARY JANE:  Thank you for picking it up.

CHRISTIE: No problem.

MARY JANE:  I don’t think he’ll go again, but you never know–he’s been going a lot lately.

CHRISTIE: (To Jasper.)  No eating.  You know full well you’re not supposed to be eating that!  The last thing I need is a sick little dog.

(LANTERNsettles down with his ball and begins “woofing” seven or eight times.)

MARY JANE:  (About the barking.) Lantern.  Stop being so loud!

(MARY JANE coughs and uses her launcher to play fetch.)

MARY JANE:  I’ve been coughing for four weeks. (since) March 1.  I take my temperature every day—I’ve never had one.  Cuomo says this is going to peak in 21 days—he changed it from 45. 

(Pause.)

CHRISTIE: Prince Charles has Caronavirus. (CHRISTIE is throwing balls to the dogs, as well.)

MARY JANE:  He does?  That must have just happened.  I listen to the news when I’m getting ready in the morning.   

CHRISTIE: Junie, don’t you go down there.  I don’t want you eating mud. 

MARY JANE:  A lot of people around here say they’ve already had Coronavirus. Coughing, headaches, sniffling, diarrhea, they’ve been doing that all winter. They have chapped hands from washing so much.   They need to put hand cream in the bathroom, and use it. If not, they’ll forget. 

(Pause.)

MARY JANE:  This cold I have–I think it saved my life. My friend Jerome tested positive—after waiting two weeks to receive the results. He texted me he’s getting better, but he’s still in quarantine.  If I didn’t have this (cold) Jerome and I would have been going out a few times a week. He has money, doesn’t mind paying. Getting lunch at Smashburger, riding up to Dobbs Ferry for drinks on the water. I would have gotten it. 

(Silence.)

MARY JANE:  Jasper always puts the ball between feet, like croquet.  Lantern learned that from him. Now he does it too.  Is it the game called croquet where they aim the ball through a (she curves her arms and hands.

CHRISTIE:  (Seeing that JASPER has done this to CHRISTIE’s feet.) Yes.  Croquet.

MARY JANE:  (To LANTERN.) Now you want the orange ball.

CHRISTIE:  I don’t know what this is.  Last week everybody wanted the green ball.  Now it has to be orange.

MARY JANE:  (Lantern’s coloring is orange.) An orange ball for an orange dog.

CHRISTIE:  Trends can change at a moment’s notice.  Turn on a dime.  Everyone was fine with the green bacon ball until 11:17 this morning.  Then you couldn’t give it away. They got tired of it. No one will touch it. 

MARY JANE:  More and more I notice Lantern doesn’t like me leaving him.

CHRISTIE:  (Still talking about balls for dogs.) Jasper won’t even pick it up. Look at him. It’s right next to him. 

MARY JANE:  (About LANTERN.) He gets restless at night, can’t make himself comfortable.  Doesn’t want to be petted very long—and only when he’s lying down.  

CHRISTIE:  Lantern never likes to be petted.

(Silence.)

MARY JANE:  He has arthritis of the spine. He’s getting old fast.  He’ll be my last dog. He’s already eleven. 

(Pause.)

MARY JANE:  Uh-oh.

CHRISTIE:  (Yelling at Jasper, running after him, trying to get him away from the poop.) Drop it! You drop that! You drop that! You drop that!

MARY JANE:  Do you have a bag?

CHRISTIE:   (Running to pick up poop.) How long do you say you’ve been doing this?

MARY JANE:  I’ve had dogs since I was sixteen.  That’s when my father felt he could trust me to take care of one–when I wouldn’t mind cleaning up after them and taking them outside.  But I wanted one longer than that—I have the dog gene.

(End)

(c) 2020 by Bob Shuman.  All rights reserved.

GREAT THEATER, DANCE AND CLASSICAL MUSIC TO TUNE INTO WHILE STUCK AT HOME ·

(Published 3/20 in The New York Times; via Marit Shuman.)

If you’re stuck at home and hankering for the fine arts, there’s plenty online. Since the coronavirus pandemic began temporarily shutting down performing arts venues and museums around the world, cultural organizations have been finding ways to share their work digitally. Performances are being live-streamed, archival material is being resurfaced and social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Facebook are serving as makeshift stages, concert halls and gallery spaces.

Here’s a list of some of what’s streaming and otherwise available on the Internet. The offerings are increasing by the day, so be sure to check in with your favorite arts institutions to see what they’re providing as things develop. And check back here for updates.

Theater

“The Rosie O’Donnell Show” will return for one night only on Sunday at 7 p.m., in support of the Actors Fund. Patti LuPone, Kristin Chenoweth, Harvey Fierstein, Stephanie J. Block and other Broadway stars will appear or perform. The broadcast will be on Broadway.com and the site’s YouTube channel.

The Sirius XM host Seth Rudetsky and his husband, James Wesley, are also producing a daily online mini-show called “Stars in the House,” with actors performing from home, to raise money for the Actors Fund.

Tickets to watch a video of Ren Dara Santiago’s “The Siblings Play” at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater are now available.

At Berkeley Repertory Theater, ticket holders for Jocelyn Bioh’s “School Girls; or, the African Mean Girls Play” and “Culture Clash (Still) in America” will be able to access a production broadcast of the show through BroadwayHD.

American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco is offering the opportunity for ticket holders to watch Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s “Gloria” and Lydia R. Diamond’s “Toni Stone” from home on BroadwayHD.

Irish Repertory Theater is releasing videos of its actors performing songs, poems and monologues on its social media channels.

Melissa Errico’s concert performance of her “Sondheim Sublime” album will stream on Sunday at 4 p.m. on the Guild Hall’s YouTube channel.

Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater is offering a free series of live-streamed and archival performances on its YouTube channel.

The 24 Hour Plays, a group that brings actors, writers, directors and composers together to produce new work in a single day, released “Viral Monologues,” videos that paired performers like Hugh Dancy and Bobby Moreno with playwrights including Stephen Adly Guirgis and Jenny Rachel Weiner.

HERE Arts Center is hosting weekly watch parties of full-length past productions, as well as collaborative live-streamed creative activities led by HERE artists and staff members.

Dance

New York Live Arts has posted three full-length performances from its back catalog online.

The Paris Opera Ballet will broadcast “Swan Lake” and its “Tribute to Jerome Robbins.”

All Arts, an arts and culture channel from WNET, offers dance videos on its site.

Members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater banded together to perform “I Been ’Buked,” a section of Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece, “Revelations,” which is now available on Instagram.

Boston Ballet has posted a collection of clips from canceled productions on YouTube.

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Samantha van Wissen shared instructional videos to guide dancers at home through the choreographer’s seminal piece “Rosas danst Rosas.”

Mariana Oliveira posted a video on Vimeo of Carolina Ballet performing her piece “Blue Jay Eyes,” whose run was interrupted.

Bayerisches Staatsballett will offer a streamed performance of “Jewels” by George Balanchine from March 21 at 2:30 p.m. to March 22 at 6:59 p.m.

Classical and Opera

The Metropolitan Opera features “Nightly Met Opera Streams,” which are free encore Live in HD presentations. Tune in on Monday for a week of Wagner.

Berliner Philharmoniker is offering free access to all concerts and films in its “Digital Concert Hall.”

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is regularly releasing online playlists of chamber music concerts and events from its archive.

On Site Opera, a company that performs in site-specific settings, is hosting live-streamed “watch parties” of past productions through mid-April.

The 92nd Street Y’s streaming archives have recordings of classical concerts, and there are upcoming live streams from the likes of the Junction Trio (the violinist Stefan Jackiw, the pianist Conrad Tao and the cellist Jay Campbell) and the pianist Jonathan Biss.

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony’s “Keeping Score” project is streaming on the Symphony’s YouTube channel. Episodes are being released in weekly batches and make a good alternative for those who planned on attending Thomas’s final Carnegie Hall performances as the Symphony’s music director this month, before they were canceled.

(Read more)

IN HAMLET AND IN LIFE, RUTH NEGGA DOES NOT HOLD BACK ·

(Robert Ito’s article appeared in The New York Times, 1/17; via Pam Green.)

The Ethiopian-Irish actress returns to a “completely destroying” stage role. Next: a film adaptation of a 1920s novel about passing for white.

LOS ANGELES — What stage actor wouldn’t jump at the chance to play Hamlet? Ruth Negga, for one. When she was offered the role at Dublin’s Gate Theater in 2018, her first impulse was to say thanks, but no. Too tough, too daunting, “too much,” she said. In 2010, Negga had tackled Ophelia at the National Theater in London — surely that experience would give her a leg up?

Nothing helps you play Hamlet,” she laughed.

Negga ultimately took the role, however, earning rave reviews. The Guardian praised her “priceless ability to savor the language,” while the Irish edition of The Times of London called her performance “a stunning gift for Irish theatergoers.”

If she made it all look easy, however, it was anything but. “It nearly killed me,” said Negga, who is perhaps best known for her Oscar-nominated turn in the 2016 biopic “Loving,” in which she played a woman who endures jail time and exile for the then-crime of being married to a white man in 1950s Virginia. “If you ask anyone who’s played Hamlet, it’s completely destroying,” she said. “It cracks you open, and you feel like you’re this mass of nerves and open skin.”

(Read more)

Credit…Chantal Anderson for The New York Times

CONSTANT STANISLAVSKI (63) ·

We exaggerated the outward and external side of manners. . . . . This resulted in naked naturalism. And the nearer it was to reality, the more ethnographical it was—the worse it was for us.  There was no spiritual darkness, and therefore the outward and naturalistic darkness proved unnecessary. It had nothing to round out and illustrate. Ethnography choked literature and the art of the actor. (MLIA)