Monthly Archives: June 2015

LIVESTREAM: FORCED ENTERTAINMENT’S TABLETOP SHAKESPEARE ‘COMPLETE WORKS’—WATCH NOW, 6/25-7/4 (PLUS SCHEDULE)!! ·

LIVESTREAM AT: http://www.forcedentertainment.com/complete-works-live-stream/

A salt and pepper pot for the king and queen. A ruler for the prince. A spoon for the servant. Lighter fluid for the Innkeeper. A water bottle for the messenger…

One by one, over nine days at the Foreign Affairs Festival, Berlin, Forced Entertainment performers create condensed versions of every Shakespeare play ever written, comically and intimately retelling them using a collection of everyday unextraordinary objects. Complete Works creates a series of 36 forty minute works, each a narrative from Shakespeare played out in loving miniature, on the one metre square of a tabletop.

Forced Entertainment have long had an obsession with virtual or described performance, exploring in different ways over the years the possibilities of conjuring extraordinary scenes, images and narratives using language alone. In a brand new direction for the company,
Complete Works explores the dynamic force of narrative in a simple and idiosyncratic summary of Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, histories and late plays, creating worlds as vivid as they are strange.

**
GO>
See the Foreign Affairs Festival websiteto book tickets. Each play approx. 40 min duration, limited capacity.
**Final few tickets left**

**
STREAM>
Please note all times listed here are in GMT
CET is one hour ahead orcheck the Foreign Affairs Festival website.


25 Jun:
Coriolanus 4pm | Loves Labours Lost 5pm | King John 7pm | Macbeth 8pm

26 Jun:
Pericles 5pm | Richard II 6pm | All’s Well That Ends Well 7pm | King Lear 8pm

27 Jun:
Much Ado About Nothing 5pm | Henry IV pt 1 6pm | Merry Wives of Windsor 7pm | Antony & Cleopatra 8pm

28 Jun:
Taming of the Shrew 5pm | Henry IV part 2 6pm | Measure for Measure 7pm | Hamlet 8pm

29 Jun:
No plays

30 Jun:
Julius Caesar 5pm | Henry V 6pm | Comedy of Errors 7pm | Troilus and Cressida 8pm

01 Jul:
Twelfth Night 5pm | Henry VI part 1 6pm | The Merchant of Venice 7pm | Titus Andronicus 8pm

02 Jul:
Timon of Athens 5pm | Henry VI part 2 6pm | Two Gentlemen of Verona 7pm | Romeo and Juliet 8pm

03 Jul:
Cymbeline 5pm | Henry VI part 3 6pm | A Midsummer Night’s Dream 7pm | The Winter’s Tale 8pm

04 Jul:
Othello 5pm | As You Like It 6pm | Richard III 7pm | The Tempest 8pm

A salt and pepper pot for the king and queen. A ruler for the prince. A spoon for the servant. Lighter fluid for the Innkeeper. A water bottle for the messenger…

One by one, over nine days at the Foreign Affairs Festival, Berlin, Forced Entertainment performers create condensed versions of every Shakespeare play ever written, comically and intimately retelling them using a collection of everyday unextraordinary objects. Complete Works creates a series of 36 forty minute works, each a narrative from Shakespeare played out in loving miniature, on the one metre square of a tabletop.

Forced Entertainment have long had an obsession with virtual or described performance, exploring in different ways over the years the possibilities of conjuring extraordinary scenes, images and narratives using language alone. In a brand new direction for the company,
Complete Works explores the dynamic force of narrative in a simple and idiosyncratic summary of Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, histories and late plays, creating worlds as vivid as they are strange.

**
GO>
See the Foreign Affairs Festival websiteto book tickets. Each play approx. 40 min duration, limited capacity.
**Final few tickets left**

**
STREAM>
Please note all times listed here are in GMT
CET is one hour ahead orcheck the Foreign Affairs Festival website.

HERMAN MELVILLE/DAVID CATLIN: ‘MOBY DICK’ (REVIEW PICK, CHI) ·

  

(Hedy Weiss’s article appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, 6/21.)

Lookingglass Theatre’s world premiere production of “Moby Dick” is a triumph of grand theatrical imagination, deep thought, superb acting and eye-popping, ingeniously deployed physical daring. Superbly adapted and directed by David Catlin, who finds the perfect balance of poetry, madness and muscle, the show works a remarkable sea change on Herman Melville’s massive novel, a landmark of world literature. And in this process of transformation and condensation it not only holds fast to the book’s essence, but enhances the dark magic and fever-dream quality of the story.

A tale of obsession, loneliness, self-exile, the quest for vengeance and, of course, the looming presence of mortality and an accompanying vision of hell, “Moby Dick” is biblical in scale (most notably in its evocation of the story of Jonah and the whale) and American to its bone. But even as it rides the waves of all its grand themes, it also manages to home in on intimate relationships — the strange bonds that both hold men together and tear them apart. As a co-production with the Actors Gymnasium, it also is shot through with astonishingly original aerial choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, and its fearless, acrobatic cast brilliantly captures the grueling and perilous labor of life aboard a whaling ship.

http://entertainment.suntimes.com/stage/moby-dick-gets-stellar-lookingglass-treatment/

HILTON ALS: DAVID MAMET AND THE ART OF THE CON ·

(Als’s article appeared in the 6/29 New Yorker; via Pam Green.)

Illusions generated a lot of talk in postwar American theatre. The truth is that no amount of reality could compete with the Holocaust. So there was a turning inward. In 1947, Tennessee Williams’s Blanche DuBois told audiences that she wanted not realism but “magic,” and that emotional honesty wasn’t necessarily synonymous with the truth. Six years later, in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” a play inspired by the hysteria of the McCarthy era, a young girl’s fears and neuroses turned reality into fantasy, a weapon of suspicion and dread. When Mart Crowley’s “The Boys in the Band” opened Off Broadway, in 1968, it raised the curtain on certain aspects of gay male life, but it also showed that self-acceptance was still an illusion for gay people, who had spent too long struggling to breathe in the swamps of hatred and self-hatred.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/06/29/true-lies-the-theatre-hilton-als

‘KINGS OF WAR’– SHAKESPEARE WITH SHOCK AND AWE, FROM IVO VAN HOVE (REVIEW PICK, NL) ·

(Lyn Gardner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 6/21.)

There is a moment during the final part of Ivo van Hove’s conflation of Shakespeare’s Henry V, Henry VI and Richard III when Hans Kesting’s scheming Richard tries on the crown for size. He capers around like a gruesome child who has been at the dressing-up box and who does not comprehend the difference between real power and its trappings.

It recalls an opening image in this epic, four-and-half-hour performance by Toneelgroep at the Holland festival: the future Henry V (Ramsey Nasr) prematurely handles his ailing father’s crown. While the young Henry doubts that this bauble alone confers legitimacy, Richard is in such a hurry to be crowned that he rolls out his own red carpet for the coronation. While Henry stares in the mirror as if searching for a man who would be king, Richard preens in front of it, putting on a performance for himself like an actor who is greedy for star billing.

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/jun/21/kings-of-war-review-shakespeare-with-shock-and-awe

JM BARRIE’S LOST PLAY TO BE REVIVED, THANKS TO FUNDING DRIVE BY JOANNA LUMLEY ·

(Jonathan McAloon’s article appeared in the Guardian, 6/24.)

Bandelero the Bandit, an early play by Peter Pan author JM Barrie, was presumed lost. But after 140 years, the play will be revived by the Scottish Youth Theatre in collaboration with the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust, whose patron is actress Joanna Lumley.

Barrie, who wrote Bandelero in 1877 when he was just 17 years old and performed it at his school, Dumfries Academy, believed that the play had been destroyed. But after being discovered in a notebook in the Beinecke Library at Yale University, the play will now be performed in the grounds of the Academy – its original home – with young actors from all over Scotland taking part.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theatre-news/11694146/JM-Barries-lost-play-to-be-revived-at-the-authors-old-school.html

FORCED ENTERTAINMENT: WHEREFORE ART THOU PEPPER POT? SHAKESPEARE’S PLAYS RETOLD WITH HOUSEHOLD OBJECTS ·

 

 

(Andrew Haydon’s article appeared in the Guardian, 6/24.)

It’s sometimes said that British theatre is “the envy of the world”. Without wishing to rain on anyone’s parade, this is news to the rest of the world. But, if theatre really is some sort of absurd jealousy contest, it often feels that we Brits can only compete at all for two reasons: 1) the plays of William Shakespeare, and, more surprisingly, 2) the seminal, Sheffield-based experimental theatre group Forced Entertainment.

It seems apt, then, that the company are to bring their idiosyncratic style to bear on all 36 of Shakespeare’s plays in a series of pieces called Complete Works, commissioned by the Foreign Affairs festival in Berlin. “We knew that we wanted to do tabletop versions – basically a set of recountings using everyday objects as the characters,” says Tim Etchells, the company’s artistic director. This means a salt and pepper pot could become the king and queen, a spoon might be turned into a servant and so on. In a teaser trailer, Romeo is a torch and Friar Laurence is a candle. Four of the pieces will be live-streamed at theguardian.com/stage on 28 June, so you can find out how Hamlet, and others, will be represented.

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/jun/24/shakespeare-plays-retold-with-household-objects-forced-entertainment

 

‘OKLAHOMA!’ REIMAGINED: LESS CORNPONE, BUT FRESH CORNBREAD ·

(Jennifer Schuessler’s article appeared in The New York Times, 6/22; via Pam Green.)

While the team behind the current Broadway revival of “The King and I” was pondering potential Tony Award acceptance speeches the day before the ceremony, the team responsible for a rather different Rodgers and Hammerstein production was in a rehearsal room in Brooklyn working on an opening scene.

The show was “Oklahoma!,” but the room might have been mistaken for a local hangout, with plaid-shirted 20-somethings leaning against the wall, checking their phones or watching a six-piece retro-Americana band, including a banjo and an accordion, tune up.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/23/theater/oklahoma-is-reimagined-at-bard-colleges-summerscape-festival.html?em_pos=large&emc=edit_cu_20150624&nl=theater&nlid=68469194&ref=headline

 

MICHAEL FEINGOLD: JUDITH MALINA AND THE AWARD-SEASON RUSH (PART II) ·

(Feingold’s article appeared on Theatermania, 6/5.)

The late Judith Malina, who died on April 10, just as Broadway was gearing up for its vast outpouring of new productions in advance of award-nominations deadlines, was a hero to many theater people, myself included, but the word "exemplary," which some have applied to her life, makes me slightly uncomfortable. An exemplar is someone whose life can serve as a model — literally an example — to others, and I'm not sure that I would like to see large numbers of young theater people trying to duplicate what Malina did. The passionate consistency of belief, both aesthetic and political, that made her an inspiration (the correct word) to so many of us also led her into a chronicle of sufferings, mingled with triumphs, too long and harrowing to detail here.

http://www.theatermania.com/new-york-city-theater/news/judith-malina-and-the-award-season-rush-part-ii_73099.html

CULTURE SHOCK: GARRY HYNES’S ASTONISHING, EXHILARATING ‘DRUIDSHAKESPEARE’ ·

 

(Fintan O’Toole’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 6/19.)

The most obvious thing about Garry Hynes’s extraordinary production of Shakespeare’s Henry plays is that it is not as previously advertised. When the project was announced it was called The Irish Shakespeare. Now it’s called DruidShakespeare. It is a mark of Hynes’s commitment to what emerges in the process of making a piece of work that the initial concept has all but disappeared. An intellectual idea – let’s explore these plays of English nationhood in the context of the wars in Ireland that shaped their creation – has been replaced by a theatrical one: let’s make these plays our own.

Ireland as an idea has fallen away to the extent that the famous first Irish character in a major drama, Macmorris in The Life of King Henry V, has been consigned to the wastebasket, taking his plangent question – “What ish my nation?” – with him. Instead of Ireland as an idea we get Ireland as a presence, as the bodies and voices of a great ensemble of Irish actors. The point is no longer to interrogate Shakespeare. It is to embody and inhabit, indeed to possess, him.

http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/stage/culture-shock-garry-hynes-s-astonishing-exhilarating-druidshakespeare-1.2254568

CARIDAD SVITCH: ‘THE HOUR OF ALL THINGS’ AT ENSEMBLE STUDIO THEATRE (REVIEW FROM NEW YORK) ·

In an evening of four new shorts by women (Emma Goidel, Martyna Majok, Caridad Svich, and Julia Cho) at Ensemble Studio Theatre’s 35th Marathon of One-act Plays, Series B, only Svich’s, retrogressively voiced The Hour of All Things, rises above being politically correct.  Her monologue, on the impact of global capitalism, sounds as if it were written by the last '80s feminist left on earth.  How sensitive, perceptive, and singular she is, as if Camille Paglia had never critiqued the faux innocence of Feminism or Rush Limbaugh hadn’t identified the feminazi.  Even if the emotions sound like psychological boilerplate, though, Switch is pinpointing a problem with no name.  American society has become more rigid.  Not only do feminists seem to be sounding “my way or the highway” more but so does the rest of the culture.  Svitch literarily describes a peaceful protest, which is unnecessarily dispersed with tear gas—the punishment is so outlandishly out of synch with its provocation.  The story may even remind of the Kalief Browder case, where a teen was beaten and thrown in and out of solitary confinement, spending three years without trial; ultimately, he committed suicide.  His crime—stealing a backpack.  Svich also descends into immobility and despair—“we’re all ghosts now,” her female character, Nic, tells us.  We live in fear.  She’s right—but she’s also so passive: we aren’t living in The Handmaid’s Tale yet.  What she is highlighting needs to be fought about, even by artists, who feel more human than the rest of us.  People have been quantified, according to their purse; Americans have had legislation sneaked behind their backs–and had their privacy rights impeded.  Think of the ways we are currently controlled, from legal or arbitrary self-appointed authorities. Svitch tells us everything in the world is in ruins—but isn’t drama a way of making us all stronger?  When her piece ends it has become less taut; apparently, the work has, too much, allowed itself the expression of futility.  We must find ways to fight back.

With the superb Miriam Silverman as Nic.  Directed by William Carden. Recommended to be read, seen, and debated.

The EST Marathon continues until 6/27.

Press: Bruce Cohen.

Visit EST:  http://www.ensemblestudiotheatre.org/      

© 2015 by Bob Shuman.  All rights reserved.