Posted in actors, comedy-drama, costume designers, dark comedy drama, dark drama, directors, domestic drama, drama, musicals and dramas, radio drama, women directors

Virtually

NYSX – Photos Freestyle Lab Photos by Cristina Lundy

What does virtual theater look like?

We already turn to TV and film for our entertainment. Actors and directors, costumers and lighting-production designers are all employed in churning out plenty of drama, comedy, dramedy, comdremy etc.

We used to say that we can view these from the comfort of our homes. Now, we have to view them from the comfort of our homes.

It’s not live theater, nor is it multi-media, it’s just good old cinema.

The fourth wall is now my armchair.

Posted in Che Malambo, City Center, dance, dance making, Fall for Dance, folkloric, Joyce Theatre, Malevo Malambo, Revolution Queens, tango, tap dance, traditional dance

Dance fervor

New Yorker’s Goings On About Town** led me to check out this troupe. Their style is a mucho macho tango and completely mesmerizing. Watching their performance led directly to another interesting find, Malevo Malambo, and from there onto Picahueso Malambo and then an all women’s troupe called Revolution Queens. Like the men from Che Malambo, Malevo Malambo are energetic, aggressive and graceful. The women of Revolution Queens exhibit similarly fierce showmanship.

Malambo, as it turns out, is an Argentine folk style that features footwork called zapeteo. The Malevo group has gone on America’s Got Talent (NBC) in an attempt to popularize this dance form which at home is seen in competitions, and not in theaters. The ladies of Revolution Queens have also been on the TV show. They came out brandishing drums and banging their feet with all the force of the all-male proponents of this genre.

Like the Irish percussive stomp dancers, these Malamboistas present more spectacle than dance performance. Can the French choreographer Gilles Brinas turn his Che Malambo company into a destination for dance fans? Malevo was created by choreographer and dancer Matías Jaime, a native Argentine, in 2015. His troupe appeared at last season’s Fall For Dance at New York City Center. Che Malambo performed at the Joyce this past February.

Seems like mainstream dance fandom, along with the folkloric crowd, is not far behind. Especially if the women of malambo continue to sing to the tune of “Anything you can do….”

**Note, I am always several weeks behind in my New Yorker reading, which is devoted and involves going cover to cover.

Posted in dance, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Gala

Tax Day?

April 15th is not just the day your taxes are due. It’s also opening night for Dance Theatre of Harlem’s City Center programming and for its 2020 VISION GALA. Your opportunity to celebrate 50 years of the legacy of Dance Theatre of Harlem is now,

Posted in comedy, comedy-drama, drama, Shakespeare

Comedy. Tonight?

By George Cruikshank – AwFKhI771c3bow at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22008301

The definition of comedy is that it ends well. The protagonists end up together.

Tragedy is something else altogether. Everything falls apart.

Happy today, happy tomorrow, together for now, together for always.

How often have happy endings ended tragically for the lead characters?


Is it a Shakespearean character who asks us to “lend me your ears?” It is also a Shakespearean trope to “never a borrower or lender be.”

Posted in film, riff, sci-fi, time travel, timeless tale, timely

Future think — Serendipity

Someone recently mentioned the innovative web browser, Mosaic, and so I binged it. Turns out, it was developed with the help of the Gore Bill in 1993 at the NCSA. The National Center for Supercomputing Applications is based in Urban, IL, under the auspices of the University there and with support from the National Science […]

Future think — Serendipity

Posted in #classism, #critique, #dystopia, #immersive-theater, #pointofview, activists, adaptation, Aditya Rawal, allegory, avant garde, Baruch Performing Arts Center, based on a novel, Brandon Walker, dark drama, drama, dysfunction, ensemble acting, equality, Erin Cronican, Ethan E. Litwin, experiments in theater, farce, George Bernard Shaw, Gingold Theatrical Group, Gwynn MacDonald, issue play, Jay O. Sanders, Kinding Sindaw Melayu, LaMama, Maryann Plunkett, off Broadway, opinion, play, political drama, politically inspired, politics, Potri Ranka Manis, premieres, refugees, riff, Siachen, storytelling, theater, theater for the common good, theatron or The Seeing Place, timely drama

All creatures, large and small

Theater can be distanced, ie by not breaking the fourth wall. It can be immersive, like Tamara at the Park Avenue Armory back in the day, or the McKittrick Hotel programs, Sleep No More or Woman in Black happening now. Audiences sit in the round, or follow the players from room to room, or sit in front of the proscenium, or on stage.

Form and presentation may contribute to the experimental nature of a play. Subject matters in making theater a relevant comment on our times.

These times need a healthy dose of cynical analysis and profound soul-searching. “All animals are equal,” George Orwell says in Animal Farm, “but some are more equal than others.” The Seeing Place, a ten year old theater collective, kicks off the season with a modern adaptation by Brandon Walker of Orwell’s novel.

The theme for this year is the Body Politic, and its Animal Farm focuses on drawing out the ways in which we are susceptible to the collective power of a group. The line between community and a folie à tous is subtle.

Executive Artistic Director, Erin Cronican says of TSP’s production; “By creating this play for just four actors playing 28 characters, we shine a spotlight on the malleability of people’s opinions and desires, which often depend upon who is in charge and what is promised to them.”

Another exploration of present day politics can be found in the works-in-process Siachen at Baruch Performing Arts Center, from April 30 through May 2. This anti-war play, written by Aditya Rawal, takes us to India’s disputed Kashmir region where a group of soldiers awaits rescue. Gwynn MacDonald directs.

George Bernard Shaw was a principled man, whose ideals of humanitarianism and universal human rights were a creed underpinning everything he wrote. His politics were always in evidence in his dramas. The Gingold Theatrical Group’s annual party, the Golden Shamrock Gala 2020, takes place on Monday, March 16th; they will be honoring Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders, and Ethan E. Litwin. The Gingold Theatrical Group creates theater in the activist spirit of GBS with regularly scheduled events through the year.

Kinding Sindaw – Photos by Josef Pinlac
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LaMaMa, the mother of experimental theater, hosts a play appropriate for our time. Pananadem (Remembering) is about refugees brought to these shores by the Filipino troupe Kinding Sindaw. Potri Ranka Manis, the Founder and Artistic Director of Kinding Sindaw is the creative and choreographer behind this production, running from March 12th through March 15th in a New York premiere. The work uses the tradition of myth to capture the experience of the displaced.

Posted in #dystopia, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Bonobo, Chilean experimental theater group, George Bernard Shaw, GTG Project Shaw, J.M. Barrie, new work, politically inspired, politics, Shakespeare, Theater Resources Unlimited, troubled times, Tu Amaras, turmoil

Theater for troubled times

This is not the first era in history that has found itself in one or another kind of turmoil. Trouble, as often as not, is the friend of art. It provides the inspiration for high drama or low comedy. But… it often takes a perspecive to really examine our own times.

Shakespeare used his history plays to comment about Elizabethan mores, as well as display them in the context of history, power and politics. Not his most famous quote, but one I like for our times, is from Measure for Measure:

“We must not make a scarecrow of the law, setting it up to fear the birds of prey, and let it keep one shape till custom make it their perch and not their terror.”

Or perhaps in the midst of the impeachment dramedy we might look to Julius Caesar‘s Brutus when he mulls Caesar’s rise “Th’ abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power.” Or, lastly, since our current emperor lives in such delusion, we can quote Kent from King Lear “Think’st thou that duty shall have dread to speak when power to flattery bows? To plainness honor’s bound when majesty falls to folly.”

May our playwrights continue to “speak truth to power” and let the voice of reason prevail for the 21st century. Or at least let that voice ring out clearly against all the “fake-news” conspiratorials that are invoked by those who seek to oppress and conceal truth. Amen.

Project Shaw, the Gingold Theatrical Group’s ongoing one-nighters looks to the works of George Bernard Shaw (and contemporaries) for a “montly guide to reason.” The theme for their 2020 season is “seeing clearly through art.” Next up on the schedule is the February 24th concert reading of J.M. Barrie’s What Every Woman Knows. On May 18th, they turn to Shaw’s Saint Joan for an inspiration of commonsense. For the full 2020 schedule, visit the GTG website.

Playwrights looking to develop their “voices” can turn to Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) for their 21st Annual TRU Voices New Plays Reading Series . The call for submissions is by January 31, 2020.. TRU is a twenty-seven-year-old 501(c)(3) nonprofit network established for the purpose of helping those involved in the theater understand and navigate the business of the arts

For the 2020 TRU Voices New Plays Reading Series, which will take place in June 2020, TRU will help pay for the developmental reading of new plays, connect finalists with producers, and assist in finding venues.

Please note that all links to shows in this “review” of theater for the disaffected, for the dystopia of our times, for progressives are for past dates except for the GTG schedule of Project Shaw. The dates for and info on TRU New Voices is also current.


By way of postscript: Dystopia takes many forms. The state of depravation and oppression can be answered by the comic as well as the tragic. For the experimental theater troupe from Chile, Bonobo, it takes a sci-fi turn.

In Tú Amarás (You Shall Love), doctors attending a conference on Prejudice in Medicine find the subject of their program disrupted by a group of extraterrestials seeking asylum after a genocide against them.

Bonobo developed the play during its residency at Baryshnikov Arts Center, where it will get the U.S. premiere in Spanish with English supertitles, Thursday, February 13, through Saturday, February 15.