In The Beginning there was the word. And the word was boring. So some old dudes tried to manipulate it through tools called poetry and philosophy and it was less boring. However, people still preferred to watch people getting mocked and maimed in crazy ways such as being eaten by lions, burned at the stake, and hung upside down by their ankles over boiling vats of oil.
In the age known for its rebirth, a chap from the English countryside named Bill, who really liked the poetry
(Medford) The Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s Macbeth wraps itself in a pleasing 1920’s aesthetic. Opening in the midst of a funeral procession, Latin is chanted for a tiny coffin as the witches follow in nun habits. Lady Macbeth (Mara Sidmore) turns to hush them as the funeral ends and she sits down to listen to the radio. The effect of the historical displacement is gorgeous and creepily off-putting. Continue reading →
The Brown University/Trinity Rep MFA Programs is pleased to present one of Shakespeare’s most intriguing plays, The Winter’s Tale, directed by Taibi Magar (Brown/Trinity Rep MFA Programs ’14). With a story that is both epic and intimate, The Winter’s Tale is a roller coaster ride from tragedy to romance to redemption, boasting some of Shakespeare’s most beautiful poetry.
Tickets are now on sale at the Trinity Rep box office, by phone (401) 351-4242, and online at trinityrep.com.
Directed by Kyler Tausten
Fight Choreographer: Conor Olmstead
Review by Craig Idlebrook
What are your evening plans this weekend? Cancel them. I’ve got a Shakespeare play for you.
Wait, no, I’m serious. I can hear the arguments now from the Bard-haters: long-winded speeches, posturing on stage, something fit for academic halls. But that’s why you’ve got to drop what you’re doing and see the Brown Box Theatre breathe some life into the dusty folios with a no-frills, fast-paced production of Romeo and Juliet. Continue reading →
(Boston) Happy Medium Theatre (HMT) took a risk: it cast a black Romeo against a white Juliet (who had excellent chemistry by the by). Bravo HMT for having the chutzpah for casting biracially! Bravo for making your audience ask “what if?” What if Romeo had been a Moore like Othello? What if Juliet had fallen in love with her Romeo and the resulting drama was a result over their family names and not the color of their skin? What if their love was measured against all other loves and found to be equal? What if HMT’s version of Romeo and Juliet was the version that had been performed for centuries rather than the typical all White cast? Topical questions for 2012: What if, indeed.
In a time when the Supreme Court system cannot make up its mind as to whether marriage is a religious or a civil rights issue, HMT’s production forces us to take a look at the history of love. Just 15 years ago one wouldn’t see a biracial couple on daytime TV much less a reproduction of Shakespeare. It is time for all love to be measured by its inherent worth on the streets. It is also time for the shock to be amputated from love that exists outside the norm on the stage. If it has been acceptable for a 13-year-old girl to marry a 17-year-old boy for hundreds of years then it is certainly time for that couple to reflect its audience members.
As artists, we have an obligation to entertain and educate our audience, an obligation to leave our audience in better condition after the show than before it starts. It is our privilege as enthusiasts to create theater with our community. Thank you Happy Medium Theater Company for taking the opportunity to be poignant and to pose difficult questions. Thank you for being brave. Bravi tutti!
Performances ran August 10-25, 2012 at the Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 537 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116
(Chelsea, MA) In a twist on Shakespeare in the Park, the Apollinaire Theatre Company has chosen to perform a free production of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead during the most gorgeous time of year. Each act is in a different location through out Mary O’Malley Park with the audience following the actors during intermission. The sunset, view of the river, docks, mural, and brilliant staging make a surprisingly fitting backdrop for Stoppard’s clever script. Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) There’s a funny story the actor Charles Grodin shares about famed acting teacher Uta Hagen, where Hagen was dissecting the terribleness of a scene Grodin had just done. She hated everything except for one moment when Grodin’s scene partner was slow to hand the actor a prop. Because there was a delay, Grodin looked genuinely concerned, and that, Hagen announced, was true acting.
I’m not a big fan of the Method myself, but I’m starting to see her point, especially when it comes to Shakespeare. Acting involves a weird combo of memorization and playful improvisation. But when it comes to the Bard’s work, too many productions are populated with actors who know they are saying weighty words and making weighty gestures; every move is preordained and dripping with importance. Such a style robs the lyrical and impish qualities of plays that once were performed for bawdy Elizabethans.
Luckily, there are productions like Bad Habit’s staging of Much Ado About Nothing to inject life into scripts that we have too long sanctified. Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) There are two major ways to connect audiences to Shakespeare, despite the tricky language: you can glitz up the production so theatergoers don’t realize their brains are doing heavy-lifting (a la Baz Luhrmann’s seizure-inducing Romeo and Juliet) or make sure you serve up quality and let the script speak for itself. Tina Packer consistently has chosen the second option in her body of work. Continue reading →