Monday, August 16, 2010

Around the Horn - What to Read?

Willow Skies

During summer, it is easy to lay back and let things build up in the Google Reader. Here are a few things you may have missed, but might want to check out.

Helen Epstein has been quite taken with The Nibroc Trilogy out in Chester Theatre. She has reviewed all three plays for The Arts Fuse:

Hutton’s script rarely lets its actors or audience down. It’s fun, witty, moving, poetic. The Nibroc Trilogy builds from a chance encounter on a train between two passengers to a full portrait of a society in the grip of major changes.

Epstein reviewed Last Train to Nibroc, Rock City and Gulf View Drive.

Tom Garvey tries to preach some perspective on outdoor Shakespeare and also outlines several textual points about Othello that directors must at LEAST grapple with, before they cast the play, or get too far with a "concept."

Othello is not Denzel. Or Taye.

We like our modern Othellos to be not merely hotheads, but also hotties as well. An understandable matinee-idol impulse, to be sure. Shakespeare's Othello, however, is an old soldier, weathered rather than beautiful, and engaged in an obvious May-December romance. To be blunt, if he and Desdemona are the hottest people in the room, then a key point in Shakespeare's vision has been occluded. We should never, ever expect that they would fall in love.

Tom also has a couple of posts at the Clyde Fitch Report comparing Mamet's prescriptions for Theatre to the results evident in the Broadway production of Mamet's Race.

Guest blogger, Peter Zazzali, at The Playgoer has a series of posts about current state of American Acting Training. This is from part III:

Today the profession has become even more competitive as an increasing number of actors are entering an unstable job market. When the League of Professional Theatre Training Programs began in 1972 there were only a handful of university-sponsored acting programs, currently there are nearly 300. At the time, regional theatres contracted actors on a yearly basis thereby providing them with professional stability. As I mentioned in my previous blog, this situation began to change during the middle-1970s when external sources of funding for these theatres decreased. Nevertheless, university acting programs have proliferated ever since. From Alaska and Hawaii to Florida and Maine, BFA and MFA programs have become ubiquitous at America’s colleges over the past twenty years despite the fact that the professional demand is simply not there.

Terry Teachout posts about the Imagining Madoff affair:

Which brings us to the heart of the matter: Why on earth did Mr. Wiesel, of all people, threaten to drop the big one on Ms. Margolin and Theater J? Not only is he prominent and admired, but he is also a celebrated human-rights advocate who has famously declared that "indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil." Yet he has proved himself utterly indifferent to the rights of a serious artist and a well-regarded theater company to make art as they see fit, merely because their art portrays him in a way he doesn't like. I wouldn't go so far as to call that hypocritical—not quite—but I have no doubt that it's unworthy of a great man who ought to know better.

And Leonard Jacobs agrees, putting forward an idea to create a play about the whole affair.

On the "business of theater" front, Travis Bedard talks about social media:

What role is social media playing in regional theater? It is playing a very small role thus far. Like any good business Regionals are waiting for smaller, nimbler companies to create best practices and proofs of concepts around social media that ensure some stability before they risk time or treasure on it.

Also, Robert Weinhardt-Kendt at The Wicked Stage has been sending dispatches from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival including a review of Culture Clash's new show, which is part of a huge initiative for American plays:

Possibly even more striking is that this ensemble-created political comedy is the first salvo in "American Revolutions," a series of 37 plays commissioned by OSF from the likes of Robert Schenkkan, David Henry Hwang, Suzan-Lori Parks, Young Jean Lee, and many more. This is not business as usual for the classical rep company nestled anomalously in the Siskiyou mountain plain, to put it mildly. I look forward to more in this vein.

My inbox is starting to fill up with announcements about season opening shows around town, so blogging may pick up a bit around the blogosphere.

For now, I'll keep enjoying the weather.

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