Monthly Archives: September 2010

‘KING LEAR’ OPERA BY ALEXANDER GOEHR + 1960s DOCUMENTARY CLIPS FROM GERMAN ‘ARDEN MUST DIE’ ·



 



 

(Guardian articles by Tom Service appeared 9/23, 9/26.)

'It's about old men who get it wrong when they have power and influence – and then get into a mess. That's the reason I'm doing this opera." Alexander Goehr is telling me about Promised End, his new piece based on Shakespeare's King Lear. "As an incipient old man myself, that's what interested me about the story. I mean, I can't do Romeo and Juliet now – I'm past that stage."

via www.guardian.co.uk

I've found a miscellany of links to accompany my piece on Alexander Goehr's Promised End. For a start, have a look at his YouTube channel (despite telling me he has a luddite attitude to technology, here are 14 uploads in his own name).

via www.guardian.co.uk

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SO, WHO’S THE GREATEST AMERICAN STAGE ACTOR: MARLON BRANDO? ·


 

On September 23, Britain’s The Stage publication asked, “Who is the greatest?”—the actors being considered on a site dedicated to the question, The Greatest Stage Actor, include Ian McKellen, Maggie Smith, Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench, Michael Gambon, Vanessa Redgrave, and Mark Rylance (read a full list at http://greatest.thestage.co.uk/ and The Stage article at http://blogs.thestage.co.uk/inthepaper/2010/09/september-23-who-is-the-greatest/index.html).  Not a non-Brit in sight, though (yes, Rylance did grow up in Connecticut and Wisconsin).    

But America’s got talent, too, right? Do you have an opinion on the greatest stage actor in the U.S., past or present—or even one from Tahiti or Sicily?  If you do, write us in the comments–and tell us why–at Stage Voices or at: bobjshuman@gmail.com.  We’d love to know your thoughts.

Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Patti Lupone?  

OK, OK, we’ll pick Marlon Brando to start.

Many thanks.

Stage Voices

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PATRICK STEWART ‘HAMLET’ ONLINE AT PBS ARTS WEBSITE + MORE . . . (LINK BELOW) ·

Watch the full episode. See more Great Performances.

(Andy Propst’s article appeared on Theatermania 9/24.) Patrick Stewart in Macbeth (© Manuel Harlan)Two Tragedies: Shakespeare's Hamlet and Macbeth is now available on the recently launched PBS Arts website. The multimedia exhibition showcases full versions of Hamlet featuring Patrick Stewart as Claudius, and a sneak preview of Stewart's performance in Macbeth, which airs October 6 on PBS stations. 

via www.theatermania.com

 

PBS Arts Website (Theater): http://www.pbs.org/arts/genre/theater/

 

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T. S. ELIOT: ‘MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL’ IN BROOKLYN (REVIEW) ·

(Jason Zinoman’s article appeared in The New York Times, 9/24.)

The verse play about the final month of Thomas Becket (Godfrey L. Simmons Jr.), the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose power struggle with Henry II, the king of England, led to his assassination in 1170, could easily come off as a dated costume drama. Moving mechanically from one elegant monologue to another, the play is organized like a series of arguments. Becket is visited by four tempters, who, in this production presented by the Church of St. Joseph and the nonprofit Brooklyn Arts HQ, arrive in business suits and, standing on a tall platform, are rolled down the church’s long center aisle.

via theater.nytimes.com

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BELINDA MCKEON: ‘GRAHAM & FROST’ (REVIEW) ·

Graham & Frost, part of the 3rd Annual Festival of Irish Theatre, seems unfinished, as if the author, Belinda McKeon is letting us in on work from her sketchbooks.  It might take you, as it did me, into a rereading of Aristotle’s Poetics–I wanted to think further on the play’s action, which is open to debate (you might also feel that there is a second act to be written).  The actors have set pieces to work around–such as a tumbrella drum or a butcher’s knife (which is overly used as a threatening device)–but the play is still mostly verbal and needs to find its linearity and physical fluidity.  Set in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, three men make plans for the reopening of a restaurant, although their motivations are not always apparent.  Two are young, the future of a trendy neighborhood: an American cook (Dan Shaked) and an Italian, the inheritor of the property (Enrico Ciotti).  Steven Randazzo, as the older, Italian-American character, Benny, is a reminder of the struggles before gentrification.  The actor gives a textbook example of how to show grief on the stage toward the end of the play, covering his face with his hands: it works every time. McKeon offers insight into Pirandello and Ibsen, and the looseness of the script and production allow the show a rehearsal quality. Thomas G. Waites directs.     

 

© 2010 by Bob Shuman

GRAHAM & FROST

What happens when one self throws the shutters up on another?

Three men from very different walks of life set about reopening an abandoned restaurant in the old Italian section of Williamsburg.  Each of these men has a stake in the old place, and each of them has something from which they want to hide.  Behind the dusty storefront’s still-shuttered door, they will not allow one another to escape as they are forced to face the secrets and the fears which stalk them all.

By turns funny, poignant and stark, this is a story about the complexities of calling a place home.

“A sharp, true and quite eviscerating new play from Belinda McKeon, the highly-respected young Irish writer; Arthur Miller might have been happy to have orchestrated its humane and subtle ironies.” -Sebastian Barry, Irish playwright, novelist, and poet

Cast includes Enrico Ciotti, Steven Randazzo, Dan Shaked

Playing at: Performance Space 122

Opening: Thursday, September 16th, 2010
Closing: Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Directed by: Thomas G. Waites

Visit the 1st Irish Theatre Festival: http://www.1stirish.org/show-archive        

 

CHARLES BUSCH: ‘THE DIVINE SISTER’ (REVIEW) ·

 

(Ben Brantley’s article appeared in The New York Times, 9/22.)

Cue the “Hallelujah” chorus. Charles Busch has put on a nun’s habit and is talking to God, from whom he has evidently received blessed counsel. “The Divine Sister,” his new comedy at the SoHo Playhouse, finds Mr. Busch returned to peak form. This gleefully twisted tale of the secret lives of nuns — in which the playwright doubles as leading lady — is Mr. Busch’s freshest, funniest work in years, perhaps decades.

via theater.nytimes.com

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DAVID MAMET: ‘SPEED-THE-PLOW’ AND ‘OLEANNA’ IN CHICAGO (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) ·

 

(Hedy Weiss’s article appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, 9/22.)

Note to David Mamet: Get yourself on a plane "home" to Chicago to catch two of your shorter, most fiercely provocative plays — "Speed-the-Plow" (1988) and "Oleanna" (1992) — performed as you might never have experienced them before.

via www.suntimes.com

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STEPHEN SONDHEIM: ‘PASSION’ IN LONDON ·

 

(Michael Billington’s article ran in the Guardian, 9/22.)

Over the years the Donmar has loyally revived some of Stephen Sondheim's least-loved musicals, such as Assassins and Merrily We Roll Along. Now, in celebration of the composer's 80th birthday, it brings us a Sondheim show that has not only been somewhat marginalised but is itself about love's unpredictability. And, if the result is a triumph, it is because of the production's enfolding intimacy and an imaginative stroke of casting.

via www.guardian.co.uk

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