Thursday, July 26, 2012

12 Theater Articles You Should Read This Week

A scene from 3C,  David Adjmi's new play which is being sued by Three's Company.
1. Playwright David Adjmi's new play 3C just closed in New York, but it may not see a revival anytime soon. The Wall Street Journal talks to the parties representing the television sit-com Three's Company, who sent Adjmi a cease-and-desist letter, saying he has infringed on the show's copyright.

2. On the Howlround Sherri Kronfeld wonders if we couldn't use more theater artists in the ranks of theater critics.

3. On that note, a Broadway actor got a little blowback from the Twitterverse after tweeting a harsh reaction to another show.

4. The LaJolla Playhouse in San Diego hosted a forum about their decision-making process in casting very few Asians in their latest musical, which takes place in China.

5. Mike Daisey is back at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company with his infamous monologue The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. The Washington City Paper has a detailed cover story about the remount of the controversial show.

6. And on the Woolly Mammoth blog, Mike Daisey answers a question he claims nobody has asked him.

7. Ian Thal, a Boston-based theater artist, posts an article at the Clyde Fitch Report about his experiences volunteering at the recent Theatre Communications Group conference.

8. Boston's own Akiba Abaka writes about the challenges and the hopes for the Hub's black theater community.

9. Timeout New York does a "postmortem" on the now famous 13P, which began as a mission to produce thirteen plays by thirteen playwrights and is now coming to a successful conclusion. "We had to avoid the situation of becoming an institution that wanted to survive." 

10. Lyn Gardener, writing in the Guardian, suggests Shakespeare productions are crowding new works off London stages.

11. At his Superfluities Redux blog, George Hunka discusses the drama criticism of H.L. Mencken.

12. The Broadway jackpot as an aspiration for regional playwrights is not entirely a mirage, or so suggests Duane Kelly at the ExtraCriticum blog.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Are Shakespeare Conceptual Gambits Getting Out of Control?

Peter Marks, writing in the Washington Post, thinks about the reasons we are seeing so many of the Bard's plays updated to 20th and 21st century settings.  

And he wonders about the cost of all this "tinkering."

The fussing with the cosmetics of Shakespeare has become so routine that it is a shock to more devoted patrons of the Bard when any of his plays are performed these days in both the time and place the author intended them. Has a belief taken hold that only by placing Shakespeare’s characters in elaborate disguise can a contemporary theatergoer view them as relevant? The compulsive tinkering yields distressing side effects. Distracted audiences can not only lose touch with the pleasure of listening to Shakespeare’s language but also may become less able to distinguish clearly the worthier attempts at innovation.
My sneaking suspicion is that the mania for transporting a Rosalind or a Richard III to a newfangled forest or kingdom may sometimes be an anxious reflex, a product of a general unease in contemporary theater over the rigors of speaking the verse and fully illuminating character. What better way to take some of the pressure off a cast’s uneven vocal skills than to plop actors into realms in which the flatness of speech more easily echoes that of our own?
You can read the whole thing here.