Posted in #dystopia, Bloom's day, Bloom's Tavern, Bloomsday, Daily Prompt, dysfunction, George Bernard Shaw, Gingold Theatrical Group, Manhattan Theater Company, Origin Theatre Company, Origins Theatre Company, public performance in public spaces, Roundabout Theatre Company, Shakespeare, Shakespeare in the Park, Symphony Space, The Mint Theatre, The Public Theater, theatrical

In Retrospect

 

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By Georges Jansoone (JoJan) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
Daily Prompt: Retrospective

“The past is prologue….” It’s a saying that suggests we learn from what has transpired before. At the theater, we certainly try hard to look at history and see where it has gotten us, how we approached our problems, what solutions were on offer. Great thinkers–and dramatists are definitely philosophers in action– have made their suggestions clear.

Shakespeare confronted every manner of political upheaval as well as all the dystopias of the soul. We regularly worship at his altar. This year, The Public Theater puts on a summer in the park season with his Othello and Twelfth Night.

George Bernard Shaw looked at askew the world from a totally original perspective. The Gingold Theatrical Group celebrates his musings in their regular Project Shaw series at Symphony Space and with Shaw Club meetings on Mondays. Manhattan Theater Company and the Roundabout folks have tackled Shaw over the years with productions of Major Barbara and, currently on stage at MTC’s Friedman, Saint Joan.

The roiling and effervescent stories told by James Joyce in Finnegan’s Wake are part of the annual Bloomsday readings, here in New York with one at Bloom’s Tavern and the other at the above mentioned Symphony Space. The Bloom’s Tavern event is coordinated through Origin Theatre Company and includes both celebrities and an Irish breakfast. To be more exacting, it also features a of the Joyce period costume contest.

 

 

Posted in comedy, Daily Prompt, drama, musical theater, theater, theater lovers

Comedy tonight!

cropped-theater
from cafepress.com

via Daily Prompt: Entertain

Theater is here to educate, illuminate, expose, engage and entertain. Sometimes it offers all five of these verbal commands, sometimes just the latter, which is the one commandment it must follow.

I am here to entertain! the thespian says, and we sit transported in a darkened house while he performs for us.

Posted in Daily Prompt, Hair the musical, Hamilton, Joe Papp, John Leguizamo, landmark, Lin-Manuel Miranda, New York City, real estate, The Public Theater, theater space

A theatrical intersection

via Daily Prompt: One-Way

There is a short street in the East Village which goes two-ways but is at its heart a one-way street. 425 Lafayette Street, formerly the Astor Library, was saved from demolition, and gained landmark status, when Joseph Papp turned it into The Public Theater.

A part of the theater’s mission statement says “THE PUBLIC is theater of, by, and for the people. Artist-driven, radically inclusive, and fundamentally democratic, The Public continues the work of its visionary founder Joe Papp as a civic institution engaging, both on-stage and off, with some of the most important ideas and social issues of today.” The Public began life in 1954 as the New York Shakespeare Festival, but moved into 425 Lafayette in 1967. Fittingly, the opening production was the innovative and “radically inclusive”  Hair, a musical that has had many revivals over time, including the one in 2011 at the St James Theatre in Times Square.

In honor of the 50 year anniversary of the Public, Lafayette at Astor Place will be co-named Joseph Papp Way on December 1 at 8:30a.m. The Public’s Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis will be at the ceremony along with Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs,  Rosie Mendez,  District 2 City Councilwoman, and Gail Papp, Public Theater Board Member. Gail Papp will unveil the commemorative sign, while Eustis will make a few remarks on the occasion.

The recent history of The Public has given us the 11 Tony winning Hamilton, which transferred to the Richard Rodgers Theatre in 2015. This year, John Leguizamo brought his downtown show, Latin History for Morons,  to Broadway’s Studio 54. In addition to its free Shakespeare in the Park programs, The Public is also a recipient of countless awards and honors for its productions, which are represented not only on Broadway but on stages across the country and worldwide.

“Joe Papp changed the life of New Yorkers forever, creating a beloved institution devoted to making the life of our culture inclusive,” said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “It is thrilling that the city of New York will recognize him forever by co-naming this street for him.”

Posted in Daily Prompt, Grand Guignol, Phantom

Grand Guignol

Grand-Guignol-1890
By Jules-Alexandre Grün – This image comes from Gallica Digital Library and is available under the digital ID btv1b9004002cThis tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.Deutsch | English | Français | עברית | Magyar | Italiano | Македонски | Nederlands | Slovenščina | Українська | +/−, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17738259

via Daily Prompt: Ghoulish

The “Great Puppet,” a French theatrical tradition that spanned nearly a century, made horror an everyday over-the-top phenomenon.

The Grand Guignol was a small theater, seating just under 300, that left a huge impact on atrocity and terror. Their mayhem took the ghoulish to its apex, a level Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk try to mimic with some success in their televised American Horror Story.

Our American stages have never had a great tradition of frightening the audience. Phantom of the Opera is the closest thing to a scary story on Broadway right now. It is a crowd pleaser with its lush music and eccentric anti-hero.
There is nothing genuinely ghoulish about Phantom, which has had a nearly 30-year run at The Majestic Theatre
and has gone around the globe in many touring companies.

Your children, dressed as ghosts and ghouls, witches and werewolves, may be scarier than anything you’ll see on stage this year. The movies, well,  they are another story; many as truly blood-curdling, scream-inducing as anything the Grand Guignol came up with in their heydey. Hitchcock’s works are subtler than the Saw franchise, and therefore much much spookier. I spent the shower scene of Psycho under the chair in the cinama house when I saw it.

Happy Halloween!

 

Posted in Daily Prompt, long running Broadway musical, musical theater, musical theatre, religion

Faith-based

via Daily Prompt: Believe

Scientology gets more dissing and distancing than Mormonism– well, except from Broadway’s The Book of Mormon. This long-running musical gives the Mormon Church a bit of a beating.

In truth, we are afraid to disparage the beliefs of others, and religion is in general off-limits in polite company. Mormons are particularly lucky that this is so since the antics of the Church of the Latter Day Saints range from deplorable to laughable. For instance, it is appalling that they claim the ancestors of those in no way affiliated with their practice as their own.

Their mythologies, like those of L. Ron Hubbard and his ilk, many of whom have chosen acting as their metiers, are over the top. Hubbard was a writer of science fiction, another arena, like the theater, in which a suspension of disbelief is helpful.

Sorting out the Mormon backstory of their religion, and their history of the United States is a neat trick that boggles a logical mind.

 

Posted in Daily Prompt, theater, theater about theater, ttheater etiquette

Have faith

Gustav_Klimt_012
By Gustav Klimt – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=153429

via Daily Prompt: Believe

In the theater, it’s about creating make-believe worlds that mimic and explain the real spheres in which we live and love.

We call it, in the tradition of Aristotle, suspension of disbelief when the drama transports us to a new and magical sphere.

Theater is about a special kind of faith.

 

Posted in Daily Prompt

A tribute

adollshousevia Daily Prompt: Homage

Admiration can lead an artist, author, filmmaker or playwright to the ultimate act of adulation, imitation.

When something is written in the style of, it is most often considered an homage.

Over the last many New York theater seasons, Chekhov and Ibsen have each been given their due by a variety of writers and adapters.

cropped-theater.jpg
I tribute this meme to www.cafepress.com.

The latter was reimagined in the most imaginary way possible by Lucas Hnath in his A Doll’s House, Part 2, currently extended, with a mostly new cast, through January 7, 2018 on Broadway at the Golden. A Doll’s House, Part 2 is a totally original new work, but it draws its characters and their plight from the Ibsen masterwork.

Picking up a theme from a favorite writer and taking it in a different, new, or challenging direction is the ultimate tribute.

Elsewhere there are other tributes being paid as well….

For instance, in March 2018, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance will honor the legacy of Isadora Duncan. The New York City Ballet star Sara Mearns will take up the mantle of the great pioneer of the modern dance and reintrepret her work under the choreographic direction of Lori Bellilove, The Isadora Duncan Dance Company Artistic Director.

Playwright Sarah Ruhl writes a paean to her mother who was a Peter Pan interpreter in their local theater with For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday at Playwrights Horizons under Les Waters direction through October 1st. Kathleen Chalifant stars.

This is a short list. Many explications of Shakespeare begin with his work and carry forward in awe. Filmography is chock-a-block full of imitation, the sincerest form of flattery.

To learn more about and for tickets to A Doll’s House, Part 2, please vist their website.
Find tickets to For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday at PHnyc. Learn more about the upcoming spring season of Paul Taylor American Modern Dance by bookmarking and checking their site.