Friday, July 23, 2004

The RSC Memorial Theatre Posted by Hello
RSC Drops Plan to Scrap Theatre

The Royal Shakespeare Company has dropped controversial plans to demolish its Grade II listed theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.  The company had been considering knocking down the 72-year-old Royal Shakespeare Theatre as part of a refurbishment programme.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Rush Up Your Shakespeare

You can't swing a sling in the summertime without hitting someone performing Shakespeare alfresco, but up in the hills around California Shakespeare Theater's outdoor stage you'd wind up hitting two plays with one stone. Henry IV is a homecoming of sorts for former artistic director Dakin Matthews (from back when it was the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival), whose Tony-winning adaptation of the two parts of Henry IV into a single play is directed here by newcomer Mladen Kiselov.

The play is staged in modern dress, in a sort of vague 1940s land of never-was, if for no other reason than to show off costumer Beaver Bauer's snazzy suits and a sprightly selection of vintage jazz. There's a nice running gag in which summiting leaders pause for photo ops before proceeding to brass tacks, but other modern touches seem gratuitous. Narelle Sissons' stylized set -- a huge metal silo that unfolds into a rusty industrial shell housing the opposing camps on opposite sides of the stage -- is striking, but it's unclear what it signifies
Like You Like It, Inspired by Shakespeare But Set in an '80s Mall, Wins New Voice Prize

The National Music Theater Network and The Theater for the American Musical have named the musical Like You Like It as the winner of the first New Voice Prize.

Winners Sammy Buck and Daniel S. Acquisto, the authors of the musical adaptation of Shakespeare's As You Like It, set in a suburban mall in the 1980s, will get money toward a production of the show as part of the inaugural New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) Sept. 13-Oct. 6, as well as a regional presentation, a studio cast recording and a promotional DVD."
There is Much Ado about Newmarket

Sometimes a show just feels right and when that happens, it can override a multitude of small objections.
That's the case with the production of Much Ado About Nothing, currently delighting audience on Fairy Lake in Newmarket as part of the sixth season for the Resurgence Theatre Company at the York Shakespeare Festival.

Director David Ferry has created a reading of the play that somehow manages to be faithful and outrageous at the same time.
Let me explain.

Shakespeare's comedy features those two witty romantic adversaries, Beatrice and Benedick, in a story of love, hate, betrayal and redemption. It features everything from saucy banter to slapstick highjinks, with a side journey into nearly tragic territory."
Shakespeare is for kids, too
Just because the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival is offered in the evenings doesn't mean children have to miss out on the fun. Young Shakespeare Production will be running for its third year beginning next week.

The Foothill Theatre Company will be performing Shakespeare's first big hit, 'The Comedy of Errors' during special free matinees at the Sand Harbor stage Tuesdays through Thursdays starting at 10 a.m. from July 27 to July 29; Aug. 3 to 5; and Aug. 10 to 12. The play also will be presented at Squaw Valley on Friday, Aug. 20 at 11 a.m."

Friday, July 16, 2004

All-You-Can-Eat Shakespeare

July brings more Willie to Vancouver than the city has ever seen. Savage God's ongoing Shakespeare Project culminates in 13 evenings of pay-what-you-can readings of the Bard's works at Christ Church Cathedral. The first week--ending Sunday (July 18)--concentrates on the history plays, including Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2; Henry V; the three parts of Henry VI; Richard III; and the rarely seen Henry VIII. Directors include Glynis Leyshon, David Bloom, and Katrina Dunn. Week 2, which runs July 26 to 31, tackles a number of philosophically complex works: Twelfth Night; Cymbeline; Timon of Athens; Pericles, Prince of Tyre; The Winter's Tale; and Hamlet. Interpreters include Bill Millerd, Conrad Alexandrowicz, and Dean Paul Gibson. In other words, most of the city's best directors are participating--no doubt in tribute to John Juliani, the initiator of the project, who died last year. The writing ain't too shabby, either. "

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

'Much Ado About Nothing': Sparks Are Flying With Beatrice and Benedick in Central Park

There will be a juicy battle going on nightly at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, where "Much Ado About Nothing" is this year's Shakespeare in the Park offering from the Public Theater. It's not the insult-a-thon between Beatrice and Benedick, though that remains as lively as when Shakespeare conceived it four centuries ago. The main event here is the wonderful war between Kristen Johnston and Jimmy Smits, who play those characters, as they vie for the title of crowd favorite.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

North Dakota Shakespeare Festival set for Aug. 20-21
Young troupe members hope to spark revival
By Carol Graham
The Shakespeare Players are a troupe of local young actors who are working to revive Shakespearean theater in the city. If things go as planned, it will grow to a festival of national proportions.

Jenny Morris and her brother, Edward, are 'lovers' of Shakespeare and have studied his writing. Their goal is to organize the North Dakota Shakespeare Festival Aug. 20-21 in the Empire Arts Center. Jenny Morris is in the talking stages with a director in Fargo, and the goal is to produce 'Richard the Third.'

'I love Shakespeare, and a lot of my friends in theater love Shakespeare' Morris said. 'And I've been missing Shakespeare in the Park. For several years, UND staged a 'Shakespeare in the Park' program in local parks."
Hawaii Shakespeare festival opens in Honolulu
By John Berger
Why is Tony Pisculli directing an all-female cast in 'Love's Labors Lost' at this year's Hawaii Shakespeare Festival?
Because talent of either gender is a terrible thing to waste.

'If 100 people audition, and 50 are men and 50 are women, and you have 40 parts for men and 10 parts for women, you can be struggling to find actors to fill the male roles and throwing away talented women,' Pisculli explained.

The festival opens at Windward Community College's Paliku Theatre tonight and, for the second time since he co-founded the festival with R. Kevin Doyle and Harry Wong III two years ago, Pisculli is working with an all-female cast."

Friday, July 09, 2004

There's `Much Ado' about Commonwealth Shakespeare Company's summer production on Boston Common

In the world of Much Ado About Nothing, a war has ended and the battle-weary people of the mythical Messina are trying to move on.

``I guess this is my aspirational piece,'' says director Steve Maler of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company's ninth annual summer production, which opens Saturday on Boston Common. ``After directing two plays about war and strife (Henry V and Macbeth), I'm trying to imagine a world beyind conflicts, beyond dangers and darkness.''
Will goes west!
Renegade's version of Shakespeare's 'All's Well That Ends Well' sounds and looks like Texas

William Shakespeare, meet Matt Dillon.

Renegade Comedy Theatre is transporting 'All's Well That Ends Well' from 17th-century European courts to the Old West. Shakespeare's language remains intact -- it's just delivered with a Texas drawl.

Ye ... erm, yeehaw.

The combination of poet and cowboy is one of those extreme risks that often leads to extreme results. With a two-month run, Renegade players are betting they won't ride this horse off a cliff.

The play opens at 7 p.m. today in the Renegade Center for the Arts, and runs Thursdays through Saturdays until Aug. 28."
Minnesota's Grand Marais Shakespeare fest cancelled

After coming up $20,000 short of fund-raising goals, the Minnesota Shakespeare Festival in Grand Marais canceled this year's festival.
Organizers haven't decided whether it will resume in 2005.

'There is a hope,' said Elizabeth Dwyer, an artistic director with the Minnesota Shakespeare Project."
Midsummer Night performance a dream
AN ENERGETIC cast of young performers will bring mortals and fairies to life when Bell Shakespeare's latest production is staged in Bendigo today.

A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Bell Shakespeare associate artist Anna Volska, has drawn a youthful, energetic cast.

The production explores the trials two pairs of star-crossed lovers face, entwined with the marital discord of the King and Queen of fairies.

Local crowds can expect a highly dynamic and magical show which has received rave reviews throughout Australia.

The production will show at The Capital today from 11 am and 7 pm, with a final performance tomorrow at 7.30 pm."
The Missing Play

Shakespeare Sedona's mission to produce all works of The Bard, including those not as well known, continues with its production of Cardenio."

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

King Lear, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon
In 1953 Michael Redgrave played King Lear at Stratford and won.

Last night his son, Corin, climbed Mount Lear and through a mixture of energy, intelligence and thoughtful husbanding of his resources got as close to the summit as one could hope.

He begins, in Bill Alexander's production, with a brilliant touch. He enters as a senile, doddering figure tapping out each step with a heavy stick. As he reaches his family, however, he straightens up and lets out a raucous laugh as if to say 'fooled you'. This tells us instantly that Lear is a whimsical despot who enjoys playing games; and the point is confirmed when he divides up his kingdom on a schoolroom map with almost infantile glee. "
Midsummer Nights
Shakespeare's classic as you've never seen it before!

The streets run with rain, the wind chills you, darkness envelops you. A door opens and something beckons you, entices you. You go in. Rythym pounds, colours flicker and effervesce, fairies dance and swirl, Puck sells a special kind of high, you are lost with the lovers, we draw you on, draw you in, the nightclub is our world. Welcome to the dream.

Rogue Elephant presents this extremely different take on Shakespeare's classic comedy, playing with the darker, grittier side of the text. Set in a Melbourne nightclub, in an enclosed underground community, the play deals with themes from bondage to drugs, love to emotional torment. Women are property, rules are there to be broken and the night wins in the end.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Albery May Be the New Home of the Royal Shakespeare Company
By James Inverne
01 Jul 2004

Not only has Royal Shakespeare Company boss Michael Boyd declared that he's reviving Peter Brook's technique of previewing shows at schools, the London Evening Standard reports that the choice of a new London home is imminent.

According to the newspaper, the Albery Theatre in St. Martin's Lane is "one of the frontrunners" to be the new RSC London base, after they abandoned the Barbican Centre in 2002. The company is in talks with Albery owners the Ambassadors Theatre Group to move into the Albery, or perhaps one of the group's alternative venues (such as the Comedy, the Piccadilly or the Wyndhams).

A move to the Albery would situate the RSC in the heart of the West End. It's one of the most centrally located theatres, an easy walk from Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden. The Barbican, by contrast, is in the financial district and far from most of the popular shops and restaurants. A final decision on the London base is expected within a month.

The RSC has announced that Boyd's new production of Hamlet, starring Toby Stephens, will be previewed with no sets or costumes in the Stratford High School on July 5. Their student audience will be aged between 15 and 17 and, following in the techniques of legendary director Peter Brook, Boyd believes the production will gain from the experience. In a press release, he said, "This is an exercise in narrative clarity. Young people are objective and want to engage fully with the story, and a good way to foster this is to play in a school hall without . . . sophisticated effects." It is, he confirmed, a process he plans to continue.
Much Ado About Nothing in NY's Central Park
The Public Theater kicks off its summer season with seven weeks of Much Ado About Nothing, the 49th consecutive season of free SHAKESPEARE IN CENTRAL PARK. David Esbjornson directs a cast that includes Dominic Chianese, Kristen Johnston, Brian Murray, Jimmy Smits, Sean Patrick Thomas, Elisabeth Waterston and Sam Waterston.

Set in Messina on the island of Sicily, a place where the changing political landscape shifts as frequently as the earthquake-prone ground, Much Ado About Nothing is the quintessential 'battle of the sexes' story of deceit, manipulation, passion and - ultimately - love.
Tickets are FREE and will be available on the day of the performance (two per person, please) at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park beginning at 1:00 p.m. and at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street (near Astor Place), from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The closest entrances to The Delacorte are at 81st Street and Central Park West or 79th Street and Fifth Avenue. "
Slimmed-down Shakespeare play enchanting
By Perry Stewart

Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is all about enchantment. In Stage West's streamlined staging, Oberon, the king of the fairies, underscores the theme by whistling a few bars of Some Enchanted Evening as he admires his latest bewitchery.
Shakespeare cast and crew hold discussions at Blue Heron coffee house
By Britt Johnsen Winona Daily News
Paul Barnes thought it was all just a dream.

But the Great River Shakespeare Festival is now a reality, and it has an added activity.

Saturday marked the first Festival Mornings session. From 10 until 11 a.m., cast members, producers and others will spend the next three Saturday mornings at Blue Heron coffee house. Discussion can range in topics and will include various cast members from the two plays 'The Winter's Tale' and 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.'"
A modern Shakespeare
Shakespeare knew a thing or two about life, especially how young people struggle through it. This summer, the Virginia Shakespeare Festival is presenting two of the Bard's popular coming-of-age plays. In 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' which begins Friday, two pairs of young lovers learn what love is really about. Then, a young king grows up to defend his country in the festival's second offering, 'Henry IV, Part I,' opening July 16"
At Ashland festival, Shakespeare comedies rule

By Misha Berson
Seattle Times theater critic
The nights have been clear and mild in Ashland lately, a boon to those taking in the open-air classics at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Getting inside the mind of a killer
Toby Stephens has been trying to get inside the mind of a killer for his next role - Hamlet at Stratford's Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

It is the highlight of his career so far and he cannot stop talking about it, a criticism he has of the Danish prince.

Mr Stephens said: 'It's a dream for an actor to be asked to play the part but it's very hard work - the guy never stops talking.

'There is a lot to do and a lot to learn and get right. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. It's such a seminal part and it's something I'm immensely proud to be doing. Most actors never get the chance to play it, I'm very aware I'm amongst a privileged group of people.'"
A modern Shakespeare

July 4, 2004

Shakespeare knew a thing or two about life, especially how young people struggle through it. This summer, the Virginia Shakespeare Festival is presenting two of the Bard's popular coming-of-age plays. In 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' which begins Friday, two pairs of young lovers learn what love is really about. Then, a young king grows up to defend his country in the festival's second offering, 'Henry IV, Part I,' opening July 16."