Category Archives: THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW

THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, ON STAGE VOICES: SUNDAY TO MONDAY, 4/7/2024 – 4/15/2024 ·

The past week on the international stage, innovative productions and captivating performances continue to grab the spotlight. Here are 6 highlights for the theatre aficionado:

  1. GLOBAL VOICES ON THE LONDON STAGE

Source: The Guardian, April 10, 2024, by Michael Billington

The Story: London’s National Theatre launches a new season, “Global Voices,” featuring a diverse range of international productions. Audiences can expect a thrilling mix of established and emerging playwrights, exploring themes of social justice, cultural identity, and the human condition. Some of the exciting shows include:

  • “The Flood” by Buenos Aires playwright Sofia Alvarez:A magical realist drama set in a dystopian future where rising sea levels threaten a coastal community.
  • “Antigone in Soweto” by South African writer Thembi Mtshali:A powerful reimagining of Sophocles’ classic tragedy set against the backdrop of South Africa’s struggle against apartheid.
  • “Paper Promises” by rising star Indian playwright Jayaprakash Menon:A darkly comic satire that explores the growing influence of multinational corporations in the developing world.

Playing At: National Theatre, London (Season runs April – June)

  1. CHICAGO PREMIERE EXPLORES RACIAL TENSIONS

Source: Chicago Tribune, April 12, 2024, by Chris Jones

The Story: A highly anticipated world premiere, “Red Brick Walls,” tackles America’s fraught racial history. Playwright Ruben Santiago Hudson’s searing drama unfolds on a college campus, where a Black professor and a white student clash over a controversial tenure case.

Playing At: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago

  1. PARISIAN MIMES MAKE A COMEBACK

Source: Le Monde, April 8, 2024, by Camille Laurens

The Story: A revival of interest in mime sweeps the Parisian theatre scene. Acclaimed mime artist Etienne Decroux’s company performs his classic pieces alongside innovative works by new generation artists. The movement-based productions explore themes of human emotions and the power of physical storytelling.

Playing At: Various theatres in Paris

  1. YOUNG PLAYWRIGHT MAKES WAVES IN LOS ANGELES

Source: Los Angeles Times, April 13, 2024, by Charles McNulty

The Story: Eighteen-year-old prodigy, Maya Hernandez, takes LA by storm with her debut play, “Sunset Boulevard Dreams.” This coming-of-age story set in the heart of Hollywood resonates with audiences, capturing the struggles and aspirations of young artists.

Playing At: Theatre Alliance, Los Angeles

  1. SOUTH AFRICAN DRAMA HITS NEW YORK

Source: The New York Times, April 7, 2024, by Ben Brantley

The Story: A powerful South African drama, “The Wound,” arrives Off-Broadway. Written by and starring Khayalethu Khoza, the play delves into the brutal world of initiation rituals amongst Zulu men. Brantley commends Khoza’s “raw performance” and the play’s unflinching portrayal of a complex cultural tradition.

Playing At: Playwrights Horizons, New York (Limited run, April 2 – 28)

  1. WARSAW FESTIVAL CELEBRATES FEMALE DIRECTORS

Source: The Times (UK), April 14, 2024, by Sarah Hemmings

The Story: The annual Warsaw International Theatre Festival highlights the work of female directors. This year’s edition features productions from across Europe and beyond, showcasing diverse perspectives and innovative approaches to staging. Some of the directors and their works include:

  • Nadia Hussain (Pakistan):Presents her acclaimed adaptation of “The Jungle Book,” reimagining Kipling’s classic through a feminist lens.
  • Miriam Rodriguez (Spain):Stages a contemporary take on Federico García Lorca’s “Yerma,” exploring themes of female desire and societal expectations.
  • Jasmina Reza (France):Directs the European premiere of her latest play, “Conversations with a Cat,” a witty and poignant exploration of human relationships.

Playing At: Various theatres in Warsaw, Poland (Festival runs April 5 – 20)

Remember, this is just a glimpse into the international theatre scene. Keep exploring and discovering new voices that will inspire and challenge you!

THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, ON STAGE VOICES: SUNDAY TO SUNDAY, 2/18/2024 – 2/25/2024 ·

The past week’s international stage highlights, brought to you via the world’s foremost journalism.  Gemini, the large language model from Google AI, and Perplexity, provided information, insights, and materials for this article (facilitated by Bob Shuman).

  1. “The Collector” Thrills Again

Source: The New York Times, February 23, 2024, by Ben Brantley

The Story: Ivo van Hove’s “stripped-bare” revival of Harold Pinter’s classic psychological thriller is electrifying. Brantley hails Tom Hiddleston’s “magnetic” performance as the enigmatic art collector and Zawe Ashton’s “fiercely intelligent” portrayal of his unsuspecting victim. Van Hove promises a “stripped-bare” reimagining that delves deep into the play’s power dynamics.

Playing at: John Golden Theatre, until April 28

  1. “Museum of the Unsaid” Weaves Silence into Art

Source: The Guardian, February 21, 2024, by Alexis Garcia

The Story: Somaya Lee’s experimental piece explores unspoken truths across generations of Korean women. Garcia praises the “delicate power” of the performances, particularly newcomer Hana Kim’s portrayal of a stifled daughter. A poignant tapestry of memory, longing, and history.

Playing at: The Public Theater, until March 31

  1. “An Extraordinary Ordinary Man” Finds Laughter in Loss

Source: Los Angeles Times, February 20, 2024, by Daryl Miller

This deeply personal one-man show explores grief and resilience with humor and heart. Miller commends playwright/performer Michael James Lander’s “raw vulnerability” and ability to connect with audiences. A powerful exploration of loss and finding joy in unexpected places.

Playing at: Ruskin Group Theatre, Santa Monica, until February 24

  1. “The Boys of Bethlehem” Build Bridges

Source: The Jerusalem Post, February 19, 2024, by Leah Goldman

This project brings together young Palestinian and Israeli actors to challenge stereotypes and build understanding through shared artistic expression. Goldman applauds the initiative’s potential to promote peace and reconciliation. A powerful example of theatre as a tool for social change.

Playing at: Ongoing

  1. “Shayfeen” Empowers Women in Cairo

Source: Al Jazeera, February 22, 2024, by Heba Farouk

This play about female empowerment sparks important conversations about gender equality. Farouk praises the play’s “powerful message” and its ability to challenge societal norms. A beacon of hope and progress on the Egyptian stage.

Playing at: El Sawy Culture Wheel, Cairo, ongoing

  1. “Carmela Full of Wishes” Delights Young Audiences

Source: New Jersey Stage, February 20, 2024

This charming adaptation of Matt de la Peña’s children’s book follows Carmela’s adventures as she accompanies her brother on his errands. A delightful and heartwarming production for the whole family.

Playing at: The Growing Stage, Netcong, NJ, until March 3

  1. Swedish Theatre Scene Thrives

Source: Aftonbladet (Sweden), Expressen (Stockholm)

The Story: Swedish theatre offers a vibrant mix of new and established works. Catch a revival of August Strindberg’s classic “A Dream Play” starring Lena Endre at Dramaten, Sweden’s national theatre. Other highlights include a new play about Greta Garbo and a musical adaptation of “Pippi Longstocking.”

Playing at: Various venues across Stockholm

  1. Berliner Ensemble Presents “The Caucasian Chalk Circle”

Source: Berliner Ensemble

The Story: Bertolt Brecht’s renowned theatre, Berliner Ensemble, presents a fresh and exciting take on his classic play “The Caucasian Chalk Circle,” directed by Andrea Breth.

Playing at: Berliner Ensemble, Berlin, until April 2

  1. Irish Theatre Boasts Noteworthy Productions

Source: The Irish Times

The Story: Irish theatre impresses with diverse offerings. See a revival of Tom Murphy’s “Conversations on a Homecoming” at the Abbey Theatre. Other options include a new play about the Irish War of Independence and a musical adaptation of “At Swim-Two-Birds.”

Playing at: Various venues across Dublin

  1. Chicago Tribune Highlights “Sweat” and “The Minutes”

Source: Chicago Tribune

The Story: Chicago theatre offers powerful productions like “Sweat,” exploring economic anxieties in Reading, Pennsylvania, and “The Minutes,” a chillingly relevant examination of small-town bureaucracy.

Playing at: Steppenwolf Theatre and Goodman Theatre, Chicago

Remember, this is just a glimpse into the international theatre scene. Keep exploring and discovering new voices that will inspire and challenge you!

Photo credit: Hana Kim, Playmakers

THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, ON STAGE VOICES: 2/4/2024 – 2/11/2024 ·

The past week’s international stage highlights, brought to you via the world’s foremost journalism.  Gemini, the large language model from Google AI, and Perplexity, provided information, insights, and materials for this article (facilitated by Bob Shuman). 

  1. “MUSEUM OF THE UNSAID”

Source: The Guardian, February 9, 2024, by Alexis Garcia

The Story: In this experimental piece by acclaimed director Somaya Lee, three generations of Korean women grapple with silence and unspoken truths under the watchful gaze of museum artifacts. Garcia praises the “delicate power” of the performances, particularly newcomer Hana Kim’s portrayal of the stifled youngest daughter. Lee describes it as “a tapestry woven from memory, longing, and the weight of history.”

Playing at: The Public Theater, February 8 – March 31

  1. “THE COLLECTOR”

Source: The New York Times, February 5, 2024, by Ben Brantley

The Story: A revival of Harold Pinter’s classic psychological thriller, directed by the ever-provocative Ivo van Hove. Brantley finds the production “electrifying,” lauding Tom Hiddleston’s “magnetic” performance as the enigmatic art collector and Zawe Ashton’s “fiercely intelligent” portrayal of his unsuspecting victim. Van Hove promises a “stripped-bare” reimagining that delves deep into the play’s power dynamics.

Playing at: John Golden Theatre, February 7 – April 28

 

  1. “FIRES IN THE MIRROR”

Source: Variety, February 8, 2024, by Marilyn Stasio

The Story: Anna Deavere Smith’s one-woman tour-de-force returns to Broadway, exploring the 1991 Crown Heights riots through the eyes of 24 diverse characters. Stasio hails Smith’s “virtuosic” performance and the play’s “unflinching examination of race, religion, and community.” Smith calls it “a call to action, a reminder of the wounds that still fester.” 

Playing at: Public Theater, February 10 – March 17

  1. “SONG OF THE BUTTERFLY LOVERS”

Source: The Financial Times, February 6, 2024, by Sarah Hemming

The Story: A modern reimagining of the classic Chinese folktale, presented by the renowned Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre. Hemming commends the play’s “breathtaking” visual poetry and the “mesmerizing” performances of the ensemble cast. Director Stan Lai aims to create “a universal story of love, sacrifice, and the power of tradition.”

Playing at: Lincoln Center, February 2 – February 25

 

  1. “THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA” 

Source: The Stage, February 9, 2024, by Mark Shenton

Te Story: A feminist reinterpretation of Federico García Lorca’s tragedy, set in contemporary Spain. Shenton praises director Yaël Farber’s “powerful” vision and the “searing” performances of the all-female cast. Farber describes it as “a story about women’s resilience, defiance, and the yearning for freedom in a society that seeks to control them.”

Playing at: St. Ann’s Warehouse, February 8 – March 3

  1. “MACBETH”

Source: The Telegraph, February 7, 2024, by Dominic Cavendish

The Story: Shakespeare’s Scottish play gets a contemporary twist in this production by the all-female theater company, Siren Productions. Cavendish applauds the “raw energy” of the all-Black cast and director Nadia Wright’s “bold choices” that explore themes of power, ambition, and the consequences of unchecked desire. Wright describes it as “a gripping examination of the corrupting nature of power, set against a backdrop of contemporary social and political issues.”

Playing at: The Globe, London, February 1 – March 10

  1. “A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2”

Source: The Washington Post, February 10, 2024, by Celia Wren

The Story: Lucas Hnath’s acclaimed sequel to Ibsen’s classic returns, exploring Nora’s life 15 years after she walked out the door. Wren finds the play “thought-provoking” and lauds the performances of Anne Hathaway as the now-independent Nora and Laurie Metcalf as her conflicted former husband. Director Lila Neugebauer promises a “nuanced exploration of female agency, societal expectations, and the complexities of marriage.”

Playing at: American Airlines Theatre, February 6 – April 7

  1. “THE BIRTHDAY PARTY”

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, February 5, 2024, by Barbara Heenan

The Story: Harold Pinter’s absurdist comedy gets a revival at the Sydney Theatre Company, directed by the acclaimed Kip Williams. Heenan praises the production’s “dark humor” and the “unsettling” performances of the ensemble cast. Williams describes it as “a chilling exploration of identity, paranoia, and the fragility of sanity.”

Playing at: Sydney Theatre Company, February 3 – March 2

  1. “LIFE & DEATH”

Source: The Irish Times, February 8, 2024, by Peter Crawley

The Story: Irish playwright Edna Walsh’s newest work, a darkly comedic exploration of grief and mortality. Crawley applauds the play’s “inventive staging” and the “tour-de-force” performance of Domhnall Gleeson as a man haunted by the ghost of his dead father. Walsh calls it “a poignant reflection on loss, love, and the absurdity of existence.”

Playing at: Gate Theatre, Dublin, February 9 – March 16

  1. “CHIMERICA”

Source: South China Morning Post, February 6, 2024, by Karen Chu

The Story: A Chinese-American co-production that blends documentary theatre and fiction to explore the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Chu commends the play’s “powerful storytelling” and the “emotionally charged” performances of the ensemble cast. Co-directors Stan Lai and Daniel Aukin weave together the stories of an American photojournalist who captured the iconic “Tank Man” image and a Chinese dissident searching for the man’s identity, delving into the complex relationship between the two nations and the enduring legacy of that historical event.

Playing at: Hong Kong Arts Centre, February 4 – February 24

Photo credits: Smith, TED; Walsh, Guardian