Posted in Playwrights Horizons, Sarah Ruhl, theater, theater about theater, theater folk, women playwrights

“I won’t grow up!”

Man, realizing that he could not remain forever young, bestowed immortality on his gods and let them frolic in their gardens. Then he became jealous of their frivolity, and searched for the fountain of youth, for his own opportunity to act with irresponsibility.

For J.M. Barrie, the hunt for that “Neverneverland” was led by Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up. Peter Pan was played by a number of actresses over the years– Mary Martin, Sandy Duncan, among them– and spawned a psychiatric syndrome not listed in the DSM.

In For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday, at Playwrights Horizons previewing August 18th and running through October 1st, Sarah Ruhl examines issues of immortality.

Her titular Peter is Ann (Kathleen Chalfant), an actress in community theater who played the boy 50 years ago in her youth. Those seeking to find their youth along with Ann are the “lost boys,” Wendy (Lisa Emery), Michael (Keith Reddin), Jim (David Chandler), John (Daniel Jenkins) and a dog named Macy. The cast, under Les Waters direction, is rounded out by The Father (Ron Crawford.)

For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday is the first play of the season at @PHnyc on their mainstage. On September 6th, the world premiere of a Playwrights Horizons commission, The Treasurer by Max Posner will begin at their Peter Jay Sharp space.

To learn more and find tickets for the Playwrights Horizons 2017-18 season, please visit
https://www.playwrightshorizons.org/

Posted in theater

Speaking of no intermission…

Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes
Reed Birney, Olivia Wilde and Tom Sturridge in a scene from 1984 at the Hudson Theatre on Broadway. Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

Fashions come and go in clothing, in the arts, even in the theater, which also experiences changing styles. In the Greek amphitheater, plays would last all day. For Shakespeare’s and Marlowe’s audiences, there were often five act tragedies or comedies.

A few years ago, T and B sat in utter surprise when a play ended in just 51 minutes. Today, the drama, comedy, or musical without an intermission is quite common. Likely, it will be longer than an hour, but nonetheless, it will be a one-act play.

Currently running without an interval….

This is far from an exhaustive tour of 90-minute shows currently playing New York City, but it has breadth.

For instance, on stage at the Golden Theatre is Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2clocking in at under 90 minutes. Laurie Metcalf, this year’s Tony winner for Best Actress, is leaving the production on July 23rd, when there will also be other cast changes. Although Jayne Houdyshell stays on as the family housekeeper, Julie White will take over as Nora Helmer; Stephen McKinley Henderson will replace Chris Cooper as Torvald, and Erin Wilhelmi comes aboard as the Helmer’s daughter, Emmy, replacing Condola Rashad.

Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan’s 1984 comes to Broadway’s recently redecorated Hudson Theatre from a successful UK run. and is advertised as a “chilling 101 minutes.” 1984, a play adapted from George Orwell’s oft-quoted novel, delivers its abject view of a world in which our minds are controlled by an ubiquitous Big Brother without an intermission.

Pipeline at Lincoln Center’s Newhouse Theater, a new and timely play by Dominique Morisseau, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, confronts the realities that pit opportunity against community and identity. Pipeline also plays without an intermission.

At Soulpepper on 42nd Street, the Toronto troupe is performing a repertoire of plays and musicals, ensemble pieces, and cabaret. Some of this repertory, like Kim’s Convenience is performed in a brisk 85 minutes at Pershing Square Signature Center, giving you plenty of time to run out to the corner market before dinner. The musical adaptation of Spoon River also runs without pause, and is a mere hour and 35 minutes.

For tickets, scheduling and information, please click for the show sites:

A Doll’s House, Part 2

1984

Pipeline

Soulpepper on 42nd Street‘s:

Kim’s Convenience and

Spoon River

 

Posted in theater, theater lovers, ttheater etiquette

90 min. no intermission

No intermission” are words that cheer my heart.

1. George_Cruikshank_-_The_First_Appearance_of_William_Shakespeare_on_the_Stage_of_the_Globe_Theatre_-_Google_Art_Project
George Cruikshank-The First Appearance of William Shakespeare on the Stage of the Globe Theatre-Google Art Project

You might think that Will (now a TV series, seemingly inspired by our friends at Something Rotten!, in which The Bard is a Rock Star) would not approve.

In truth, though his plays had many acts,  folks walked in and out as they saw fit. The audience were a rowdy bunch we probably would not tolerate in our theaters today. Theatrical etiquette is far more decorous these days.

I make that statement despite having to sit through a show next to an apple-chewing patron once upon a matinee. Cell-phone  incidents are another of the annoyances that Shakespeare’s contemporaries would not have had to contend with, but that are very common among today’s audiences.

All this off the beam, however, as I was lauding the show without an interval. In that vein, I will admit that the above mentioned Something Rotten! was NOT a musical without an intermission. Many of the plays I have enjoyed over the years have been multi-acts with the obligatory pause for the audience to find refreshment and stretch their legs.

more shortly, so come on back, after this brief intermission…. and it’s July 11th, so we are back in 1, 2, 3:

LACOMBE_17024_5O9A0733_A
Laurie Metcalf and Condola Rashad in a scene from A Doll’s House, Part 2 (c) Brigitte Lacombe. Cast replacements after July 23rd include Julie White replacing Metcalf in her Tony-winning role. Lucas Hnath’s play is an intermissionless roughly 86 minutes.

n William Shakespeare’s (and Kit Marlowe’s) time, eating oranges and throwing tomatoes were not unusual activities during the course of a theatrical performance. The audience hardly needed a pause in the action to eat or drink or wander about. The interval was not for the patrons but the actors to regroup. It was for a change of scene; the groundlings bustled about throughout the show.

Get to the point, we say, and so the one act does. It suits our times as a longer play fit other eras and fashions.

A story told in one breath, without a break has a different arc from the one that follows the convention of three (or five) acts. It is shaped and shared differently. In some ways, it packs more intensity by providing a continuity of action.

And 90 minutes or an hour and forty-five is a manageable chunk of  time for those of us whose attention spans have been shortened by social media.

A one-act play is a haiku, often the more beautiful for being succinct.

Posted in avant garde, theater

Oh! Canada

Alligator Pie, Soulpepper
Ins Choi and Gregory Prest (c) Cylla Von Tiedemann in

Avant-garde theater was once the province of the French– the Samuel Becketts, Antonin Artauds and Guillaume Appolinaires and their ilk– who also gave it its name. Theater at the vanguard of social change, social commentary, and experimentalism in staging, subject and presentation has a long 20th century history.

Now, out of the north comes Soulpepper Theatre of Toronto with a brief festival of experimental plays and concerts which it brings to New York’s Pershing Square Signature Theater in July.

Spoon River, Soulpepper
Spoon River Ensemble #2 (c) Cylla Von Tiedemann

The troupe dedicates itself to creating innvoative works of all kinds, in cabaret, cafe and theater formats. Its 65 artists will perform in rep, giving workshops and holding symposia and performances. Billed as Soulpepper on 42nd Street, the month-long event will coincide with Canada’s 150th birthday as a nation. Mainstage productions include Kim’s Convenience, written by Ins Choi, and set in a Korean-run variety store; Vern Thiessen’s adaptation of W. Somerset Maughn’s Of Human Bondage; an immersive musical adaptation of Spoon River by Mike Ross and Albert Schultz. Ensemble pieces like Alligator Pie, created and performed by Ins Choi, Raquel Duffy, Ken MacKenzie, Gregory Prest, and Mike Ross with poems by Dennis Lee; and the (Re)Birth: E.E. Cummings in Song, created and developed by the rebirth collective: Ins Choi, Tatjana Cornij, Raquel Duffy, Matthew Kabwe, Ken MacKenzie, Gregory Prest, Karen Rae, Mike Ross, Jason Rothery, and Brendan Wall, take place on other stages in the Signature Theatre complex. A concert New York-The Melting Pot is a tribute from the Toronto group to its New York hosts.

Posted in 2017 Tony Nominations, The Tony Awards, theater, Tony, Tony Awards, Tony nominee

Tony tonight!

Little Foxes

The Hamilton “phenomena,” I contend, can actually be blamed on The Producers.

The Mel Brooks musical was lauded, and expected to win a lot of the many nominations it received. It did. Susan Stroman had a lot more to work with in the zany plot, choreographing pensioners, than Andy Blankenbuehler did with his Founding Fathers. They could be expected to dance, perhaps, a sedate quadrille.  At any rate The Producers set a record in Tony wins, and everyone expects there will be another such production every year.

Best of luck to all the nominees who will be at the ceremonies tonight, June 11th at 8pm. Televised on CBS, with Kevin Spacey as the host, the Tony is always a good show.

Remember it really is an honor just to be named!

Posted in drama, off Broadway, theater

The American Experience

Gun-toting, it’s so American!

Who: TGW ACTING STUDIO
What: MACAIRE
Where: Teatro Latea, 107 Suffolk St
When: August 1 – August 13

How: $25 and are now available online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2966872

The 19th Century gangster who’s so bad… he’s good!

For the tots and for you, too

Oh, Say Can You Sing?!

What: A Family Concert Featuring Songs about America, with
Who: Red Yarn and The Deedle Deedle Dees
When: Saturday, July 1 at 10:30 am
Where: at Shapeshifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place, Brooklyn, NY
How: Tickets: $10 ($12 at the door) Advance tickets are available online HERE

All Ages Are Welcome! Doors open at 10:00 am

Irish heritage

1c148-bloomsday_2014_4710
June 16, 2014 Origin’s First Bloom at Bloom’s Taven of course. Photo by Jimmy Higgins.

Bloomsday, June 16th, is celebrated around the world in honor of James Joyce’s great Ulysses. In New York, there is a juried costume contest and readings from the book of Bloom hosted by Origin Theatre Company and Bloom’s Tavern on East 59th Street. This 4th annual theatrical event expands the competition for the best dressed and announces a new Irish-American literary prize.

What: “Origin’s 4th Bloom… @ Bloom’s Tavern of Course!” — produced by Origin Theatre Company… a grand tradition since 2014! — features performances, inspiring speeches and civilized morning gaiety.
Where and When: Everything takes place — as a casual Irish breakfast and refreshments are served — at Bloom’s Tavern, 208 East 58th Street, on Friday June 16, beginning at 7:30am (and lasting until 10am).
How: The annual free event — New York’s only site-specific Bloomsday breakfast — commemorates the Dublin summer morning chronicled in James Joyce’s landmark novel “Ulysses,” which takes place in a single day, June 16, 1904. Be sure to reserve a spot at
www.origintheatre.org
Who: Among the notables in the cast are Malachy McCourt; Charlotte Moore; David O’Hara; Paula Nance; David Staller; Terry Donnolly; Fiona Walsh; The James Joyce Reading Group and David O’Leary of Trí — The New Irish Tenors.
Contest Rules: For the second year in a row the breakfast features a costume competition for the “Best, or Most Creatively, Dressed Molly or Leopold Bloom.”  The winner — either a man or woman — will be selected from among the guests by a blue-ribbon panel chaired by the internationally recognized image strategist Margaret Molloy.  A $2000 Dinner and NYC Fun Package will be offered to the grand-prize winner.
(Contestants are invited to come period-attired, or in a summer-festive outfit that is a modern interpretation of a Dublin morning 1904.  Both couples and individuals are eligible. 1 Grand Prize will be awarded.)
Exciting News: A new annual Bloomsday award honoring the work of an Irish or Irish-American author, the Origin in Bloom Literary Award, will be announced, and the first prize awarded.  Serving on the nominating committee for next year’s honor are Irish Voice’s Cahir O’Doherty, Irish America Magazine’s Patricia Harty, historian and curator Turlough McConnell and the Irish Echo’s Peter McDermott.

Theater Breaking Through Barriers

What’s more American than overcoming obstacles?
Since its founding by Ike Schambelan in 1979 as Theater by the Blind, Theater Breaking Through Barriers, now under the Artistic Direction of Nicholas Viselli, is an Off-Broadway troupe which mixes able-bodied actors with those with disabilities. Its mission is to demonstrate just how little disabilities have to do with ability and talent.
What/when: THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE runs May 27 – June 25
Where: at Theatre Row’s Clurman Theatre
How & how much: Tickets are $52.25, available at 212-239-6200 or www.telecharge.com.
More details: www.tbtb.org.

Hitchcockian drama

Suspense is also very American, very filmic. Hitchcock’s 39 Steps make for a delightful theater romp. THE 39 STEPS lampoons Alfred Hitchcock’s classic murder mystery thriller using just four actors to play over 50 characters: complete with fast changes, shadow puppets, fog machines, projections, dubious accents, and swarthy mustaches.

Who: VIA BROOKLYN
What: THE 39 STEPS
Where: Southampton Cultural Center (25 Pond Ln, Southampton, NY 11968
When: JULY 13 – 30, 2017

How: www.ViaBrooklyn.org

Honoring our returning vets

Raw_Bacon_From_Poland_Baranova-0612
Joel Perez, in Raw Bacon From Poland. Photo by Maria Baranova.

The Abrons Arts Center presents the World Premiere of Raw Bacon From Polandthe new play by 2016 Guggenheim Fellow Christina Masciotti, beginning June 1st through the 17th

Raw Bacon From Poland, directed by Ben Williams, follows the life of shoe salesman and aspiring personal trainer Dennis Toledo (Joel Perez), whose lifetime of trouble assumes a new intensity after a bad tour in Iraq.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at www.abronsartscenter.org.

 

 

Posted in 6 extremely short plays, comedy, Daily Prompt, drama, musical theater, theater

Intermission

via Daily Prompt: Pause

NoLateSeatingThe play without pause, aka the intermissionless hour and a half (appx) drama or comedy has become a favorite of ours.

The intermission can actually ruin a play and its audience. Drawn in, as we are, by the plotline that has transpired, our attention is broken by the pause. If a piece is long, the intermission is a mercy. We need to use the bathroom, or counterintuitively, grab a drink between acts. We can discuss the suspense, and rehash the story thus far with our mates.

Of course, tradition has it that a theater-work be writ in three acts, with two intermissions. That tradition dates from the days of Marlowe and Shakespeare, days when audiences came and went at their own discretion; some of the Bard’s tragedies were even longer.  I love that in England the intermission is called an interval. More recently, most plays had one intermission; sometimes even if there were three acts, the action would just pause between the first and second, until the intermission which ushered in the final act.

And now, most recently, there have been spates of works which condensed to a pithy and intermissionless conclusion.If you’ve said all you wanted in that shorter time, why not just wrap it up.  David Mamet has a habit of putting forth his premise and its conclusion in short order with wit and alacrity. Some others are not so skillful. One comedy, whose name I cannot recall, lasted just 51 minutes and not much longer in its run.  Sometimes, the extra short play is a relief for theater-goers; sometimes it leaves them wanting more.