Monthly Archives: April 2019

***** WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME REVIEW – A FIVE-STAR BROADWAY TRIUMPH ·

(Alexis Soloski’s article appeared in the Guardian, 3/31; via Pam Green.)

Shattering, galvanizing and very funny, Heidi Schreck’s What the Constitution Means to Me close reads an old text in new and breathlessly exciting ways.

When Schreck, a longtime off-Broadway actor and more recently a playwright, was a teenager, she traveled around American Legions Halls, winning money for college by delivering a speech called Casting Spells: The Crucible of the Constitution. In this mostly solo show (Schreck is joined by the actor Mike Iveson as a legionnaire and later by a teenage debater), Schreck, sunny in a daffodil blazer stands inside a re-creation of one of those halls. (The design is by Rachel Hauck.) Persuasively, she conjures both that brace-faced Patrick Swayze-swooning teenager, and the woman she became.

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TRANSFORMING THE TRADITIONAL WORLD OF KABUKI ·

TRANSFORMING THE TRADITIONAL WORLD OF KABUKI WITH KINOSHITA-KABUKI

(Nobuko Tanaka’s article appeared in Japan Times, 3/12.)

For many people, the mention of kabuki brings to mind images of exaggerated makeup on actors’ white-painted faces, beautiful kimono costumes and colorful sets with dramatic backdrops.

Then there are the distinctive standardized movements; classic poses (mie) expressing certain emotions; the precisely choreographed fights and swordplay (tachimawari); and styles of acting (kata), which are passed down through the generations of each family of performers.

In contrast, few people have likely heard of the Kinoshita-Kabuki company founded in 2006 in Kyoto, birthplace of the traditional performing art some four centuries ago.

Now attracting an ever-growing audience, the troupe adheres to almost none of kabuki’s myriad styles and rules — least of all the insistence on male actors playing the female roles.

Yet, despite its plays being staged by contemporary theater directors, often with simple sets and actors in modern clothes, Kinoshita-Kabuki’s works are invariably faithful to the essence of the dance-dramas and their stories. That same DNA remains, even amid high-tech lighting, sound and visuals — and modern jargon that helps to address current issues for today’s audiences.

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THE IRISH TIMES IRISH THEATRE AWARDS: AND THE 2019 WINNERS ARE . . . ·

(Published 3/31.)

Cillian Murphy and Sarah Morris win main acting awards

BEST PRODUCTION Richard III –A Druid Theatre production of Shakespeare’s play, in association with the Abbey Theatre

BEST OPERA PRODUCTION Il Bravo – A Wexford Festival Opera production of Saverio Mercadante’s work

BEST DIRECTOR Catríona McLaughlin for On Raftery’s Hill, an Abbey Theatre production

BEST ACTOR Cillian Murphy for his role as Dad in Grief is a Thing with Feathers, a Complicité and Wayward Production. Co-produced by The Barbican, Cork Opera House, Edinburgh International Festival, Oxford Playhouse, St Ann’s Warehouse and Warwick Arts Centre. In association with Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival

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TOM STOPPARD: ‘ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD’ (LISTEN NOW ON BBC RADIO 4) ·

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Mathew Baynton, Andrew Buchan and Toby Jones star in an energetic new production of the play that made Tom Stoppard’s reputation overnight in 1967. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Hamlet’s ill-fated attendant lords, condemned to an existence in the wings, with no control over their own destinies.

Directed by Emma Harding

Rosencrantz…..Mathew Baynton
Guildenstern…..Andrew Buchan
The Player…..Toby Jones
Tragedian…..Sam Dale
Alfred…..Ronny Jhutti
Ophelia…..Sarah Ovens
Polonius…..Michael Bertenshaw
Hamlet…..Parth Thakerar
Claudius…..Don Gilet
Gertrude…..Clare Corbett

Music arranged and performed by Clare Salaman, Philip Hopkins and Amelia Shakespeare from The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments