MARGARET ATWOOD ON REWRITING SHAKESPEARE’S ‘TEMPEST’ and more...


MARGARET ATWOOD ON REWRITING SHAKESPEARE’S ‘TEMPEST’

(Atwood’s article appeared in the Guardian, 9/24.)

Whenever people ask me that inevitable question, “Who’s your favourite author?” I always say “Shakespeare”. There are some good reasons for that. First, so much of what we know about plots, characters, the stage, fairies and inventive swearwords comes from Shakespeare. Second, if you name a living author the other living authors will be mad at you because it isn’t them, but Shakespeare is conveniently dead.

Third, Shakespeare refuses to be boxed in. Not only do we know very little about what he really thought, felt and believed, but the plays themselves are elusive. Just when you think you’ve got a meaning nailed down, your interpretation melts like jelly and you’re left scratching your head. Maybe he’s deep, very deep. Or maybe he didn’t have a continuity editor. And Shakespeare will never turn up on a talkshow and be asked to explain himself, the lucky devil.

Shakespeare is infinitely interpretable. We’ve had a fascist Richard III, we’ve had a Canadian First Nations Macbeth, we’ve had a Tempest with a female Prospero called Prospera, starring Helen Mirren. In the 18th century they had a Tempestopera, which used only a third of Shakespeare’s original text. Caliban had a sister called Sycorax, Miranda had a sister called Dorinda, and there was an extra young man so Dorinda would have someone to marry.

(Read more)

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/sep/24/margaret-atwood-rewriting-shakespeare-tempest-hagseed

Visit Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http://www.stagevoices.com/. If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com .

     


ANTHONY GIARDINA: ‘THE CITY OF CONVERSATION’ (SV PICK, IL)

(Hedy Weiss’s article appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, 9/25.)

Why has this country become so ferociously polarized? And why has the American electoral landscape become so distressingly fraught, tattered and seemingly irreconcilable about so many things?

These are the questions addressed in “The City of Conversation,” the uncannily timely, uniquely balanced, multi-generational drama by playwright-novelist Anthony Giardina, now receiving a live-wire Midwest premiere at Northlight Theatre under the direction of Marti Lyons.

Making a clear-eyed assessment of the present as extracted from the not-so-distant past, Giardina homes in on the many reasons why the center has failed to hold, and why, since the 1960s, positions have become so entrenched, while the essential social glue that once made a certain amount of compromise possible has disappeared. To be sure, at certain points Giardina stretches things a bit to make his case, yet anyone who has witnessed the tension between friends and family members during the current election cycle might say he has not stretched things far enough. The so-called “culture wars,” that really have been raging since the 1960s, seem to be more heated than ever, with the front lines redrawn in ever starker ways.

(Read more)

http://chicago.suntimes.com/entertainment/in-city-of-conversation-a-key-to-our-political-polarization/

Visit Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http://www.stagevoices.com/. If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com .

     


KENNETH TYNAN ON DEMOLISHING NOËL COWARD—AND THEN DINING WITH HIM

(Tynan’s article was reprinted in the Observer, 2/21/14.)

Exit a man with a talent to amuse

One night in the spring of 1959 I sat down to dine at Sardi's, the New York theatrical restaurant. Crowded before the Broadway curtains rise and after they fall, it is usually empty in between, and was on this occasion. Suddenly I looked up from the menu and froze. Noël Coward, also alone, had come in; and that very morning the New Yorker had printed a demolishing review by me of his latest show, an adaptation of Feydeau, called 'Look after Lulu'.

I knew him too well to ignore his presence, and not well enough to pass the whole thing off with a genial quip. No sooner had he taken his seat than he spotted me. He rose at once and came padding across the room to the table behind which I was cringing. With eyebrows quizzically arched and upper lip raised to unveil his teeth, he leaned towards me. 'Mr T,' he said crisply, 'you are a cunt. Come and have dinner with me.'

Limp with relief, I joined him, and for over an hour this generous man talked with vivacious concern about the perils of modishness. ('There's nothing more old-fashioned than being up to date'), the nature of the writer's ego ('I am bursting with pride, which is why I have absolutely no vanity'), the state of the theatre in general and of my career in particular. Not once did he mention my notice or the play. It would have been easy to cut or to crush me. It was typical of Coward that he chose, with an almost certain flop on his hands, to amuse and advise me instead.

(Read more)

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/feb/21/kenneth-tynan-noel-coward-observer

Visit Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http://www.stagevoices.com/. If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com .

     


SUZAN-LORI PARKS: FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS’ (SV PICK, UK)

 

 

 

(Dominic Cavendish’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 9/24.)

They like to think big in the States. First seen to acclaim at the Public Theater in New York two years ago, Suzan-Lori Parks’s “Father Comes Home from the Wars” (Parts 1, 2 and 3) is a very full standalone evening in itself – a three-hour slice of brutal life set in the first half (1862-3) of the American Civil War.  But it’s also the start of an intended nine-part opus that will apparently take its audience from that decisive period through to the post-Iraq present-day.

Parks was the first African-American woman to get the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, in 2002. Despite her intimidating accolades, her monumental aspirations, plus the implied grandeur of “Parts 1, 2 and 3” (each part is actually more like a long act), the piece, restaged at the Royal Court by Jo Bonney with a largely British cast, is remarkably accessible. 

(Read more)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/theatre/what-to-see/father-comes-home-from-the-wars-is-a-witty-civil-war-odyssey--re/

Visit Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http://www.stagevoices.com/. If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com .

     

NEWS FROM THE EDWARD F. ALBEE FOUNDATION

(Via Miguel Mendiola, Sam Rudy Media Relations)

The Edward F. Albee Foundation, started by its eponym, playwright Edward Albee, in 1967, regrets to announce the death of Mr. Albee on Friday, September 16, 2016.  Mr. Albee passed away peacefully following a brief illness at his home in Montauk, Long Island, according to Jakob Holder, the Foundation’s Executive Director.  Edward Albee was 88 years old. 

Located in Montauk, the Edward F. Albee Foundation was begun with revenue from Mr. Albee’s enormously successful play WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?  The Foundation maintains a residency program known as The William Flanagan Memorial Creative Persons Center, housed in a large, white converted barn, and was created with the intent of aiding visual artists and writers.  The facility is open from June to mid-October; residencies are four or six weeks in duration, with the standards for admission simply put – talent and need.  Writers are offered a room; visual artists are offered a room and studio space.  The foundation accepts application between January 1st and March 1st every year through its website: www.albeefoundation.org

Notable writers and artists who have attended in past years include:  John Duff, Christopher Durang, Will Eno, Spalding Gray, Cindy Hinant, A.M. Homes, Tom Holmes, Keith Milow, Sean Scully and Mia Westerlund-Roosen.

According to Mr. Holder, the Edward F. Albee Foundation will continue its mission as established 50 years ago, “Edward created our foundation with the sole intention of assisting as many talented creative people as possible  We will continue to do exactly that, keeping his unique sensibility as our guiding force.”

EDWARD ALBEE wrote more than 30 plays, including The Zoo Story; The Death of Bessie Smith, The Sandbox, Fam and Yam, The American Dream; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Tony Award); The Ballad of the Sad Café; Tiny Alice; A Delicate Balance (Pulitzer Prize);  Box and Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung; All Over; Seascape (Pulitzer Prize); Listening; Counting the Ways; The Man Who Had Three Arms; Finding the Sun; Marriage Play; Three Tall Women (Pulitzer Prize); Fragments; The Play About the Baby; The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (Tony); Occupant; At Home at the Zoo (Homelife/The Zoo Story); and Me, Myself and  I. He was a member of the Dramatist Guild Council and president of the Edward F. Albee Foundation. Mr. Albee was awarded the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1980 and in 1996 received the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts. In 2005 he was awarded a special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement. 

www.albeefoundation.org

Visit Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http://www.stagevoices.com/. If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com .

     

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