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Showing posts from July, 2010

Legit Lit III

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According to Playbill, Derek Jacobi is set to star in an upcoming production of King Lear at London’s Donmar Warehouse, before touring the U.K. This, of course, would be quite something to witness. In fact, the production is due to be broadcast in more than 22 countries thanks to the National Theatre’s NT Live project, which broadcasts live productions to various cinemas around the world.

However, of additional interest was something I noted at the end of the press release. In the words of the esteemed Donmar Warehouse, they say of the play, “One of the greatest works in western literature, King Lear explores the very nature of human existence: love and duty, power and loss, good and evil."

Now you wouldn't argue with that, would you?

I Think She's Gonna Pull Through...

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There is a lot of concern in the theatre community (on both sides of the Atlantic) on the impact these recession ravaged years may have on the immediate future of the arts. This is very understandable. Here in the U.S. the concern is more generalized in terms of people simply tightening their belts and cutting back on discretionary spending – meaning fewer tickets sold and companies of all sizes facing a drop in operating income, or even the chop. With less operating income, conventional wisdom has it that more and more theatres will turn to the safe, proven hits that are more likely to guarantee return on investment, and consequently drop new writing like a bad smell. To some degree I have already seen signs of this happening. But, as lamentable as it is, during tough times everyone has to go into survival mode, so you can’t blame the non-profits for doing what they need to do to stay afloat.

In the U.K. things are a little different. Much theatre is state subsidized, and the new “co…

To Whom We Serve

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I have to confess, I do get a little tired when reading discussions on the current state of theatre, theatre funding, funding cuts, commercial versus non-profit, etc., etc., and repeatedly seeing a word bandied about like some old rag doll with its stuffing hanging out…the word in question being “audience.” For many, it seems, that word has come to describe some homogenous blob of humanity that has one face and operates completely in tandem. “The audience” wouldn’t be there for a show like that, it’s too edgy. “The audience” is tired of endless revivals and jukebox musicals. We’d like to program more new writing in our season, but “our audience” doesn’t like taking risks.

I find this all very strange, not to mention patronizing, whichever side of the fence it’s coming from. Audiences come in all shapes and sizes, with only one single trait common to all: an appreciation of the performing arts. Yes, there are those that prefer their theatre experience to veer to the lighter side; shows …

In Praise of Paul

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I had promised myself at the beginning of the World Cup that I would refrain from mentioning it here - even though I become completely and hopelessly obsessed with this greatest of all sporting events every four years - since it has nothing to do with theatre or writing (notwithstanding the theatrical antics of players who claim to have been fouled in the most brutal way, writhing in agony on the pitch for several minutes, before getting up and running around again once they realize their performance failed to convince the ref).

And I have done very well at keeping that promise…until now. Until, that is, I learned of Paul. If you haven’t heard of Paul by now, then you must not have been following the news very closely. Paul is an octopus. A psychic octopus who has proven to have extraordinary powers of prediction when it comes to international football matches. Paul lives in Germany (at the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen to be precise), and achieved a degree of fame in that country when…

Oh Dear!

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Perhaps serving as a sort of counterpoint to The Guardian’s recent blog on whether or not plays should be considered literature, they currently have a blog discussing the topic of “Why can't novelists make it work in the theatre?” The article itself is not up to much, in my opinion, being far too generalized and dismissive in its argument; but the responses it has generated make for some interesting and very insightful reading if you happen to be so inclined. You can read it here.