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Women Of The World Write: “Global Female Voices” At The Arcola Theatre

In April 2018, London’s Arcola Theatre staged Global Female Voices, an evening of play readings by women writers from throughout the world.  In this personal reflection, producers Lora Kristeva and Rach Skyer discuss how the project came about, the evening itself, and their plans for the future. Life happens in the most astounding of ways. When in mid-January I put my hand up at a staff meeting to vouch my support for our Creative/Disruption festival, I had no idea of what brilliant things the next few months would hold. Working as Assistant Producer alongside Participation Manager Bec Martin-Williams and colleague Rach Skyer, we embarked on...

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The Drama Of Independence

Eimuntas Nekrošius and Lithuania’s Youth Theatre May 2018 marks thirty years since an event of central importance to Lithuanian culture: the National Youth Theatre’s month-long American tour. Taking place as Lithuania began to shake loose of Soviet control, it was the first commercial tour of the USA by any group of professional artists from Lithuania– and further reinforced the legend of the theatre’s enigmatic star, director Eimuntas Nekrošius. Beginnings During the romantic 19th century, even at the beginning of the 20th, art legends were born in the attics and garrets, preferably Parisian. During the more practical decades of the late...

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World Theatre Festival Shizuoka 2018–Listening To The Other To Rediscover Yourself

World Theatre Festival Shizuoka is one of Japan’s three major annual performing arts festivals, along with Festival/Tokyo and KYOTO EXPERIMENT. For ten days every year, this festival is gathering together international theatre creators in the stimulating environment provided by SPAC, the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center. At its 8th edition in 2018, World Theatre Festival Shizuoka was held between April 28th and May 6th, a period that coincides in Japan with a series of national holidays. This made it possible for theatre lovers from all around the country to gather in Shizuoka, a city that is otherwise sought for its...

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Adaptation, Participation, Risk-taking: Creative Interventions In Contemporary Performance

Translator and theatre scholar Dr. Jozefina Komporaly reflects on a day of exchange between the worlds of research, practice, and immersive theatre, with adaptation and interactivity at its core. This article aims to highlight converges and confluences between professional performance practice, academia, and the general public, drawing on an event that situated the day-to-day work of theatre practitioners, aspects of performance criticism, and the notion of work in progress side by side. The venue, however, was not the familiar territory of a break-out space or rehearsal room regularly used by theatre professionals, but the Theatre @ Wimbledon College of Arts, University of...

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Let Sleeping Molière Lie

It is impossible to put it in writing, but to record the horror of the thing here is a black cross mark. The Cabal of Hypocrites, Mikhail Bulgakov On January 13, or about that time (cf. The Life of Monsieur de Molière by Mikhail Bulgakov), a certain Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was born. On September 13, on the stage of the Lenkom theatre, a certain production, titled Dreams of M. de Molière, was brought into the world. It was a still-birth. It is a bitter task to write an obituary for a theatre production, especially...

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Three Dancers Seek To Redefine The Contemporary Form Of Their Art In “Dan-su Series 3”

Contemporary dance seemed to enter the wider arts consciousness in Japan around the turn of the century when there was a pronounced upsurge in the number of performances, festivals, and competitions. Reflecting that rising enthusiasm, Takao Norikoshi published the encyclopedic Contemporary Dance Thorough Guide in 2003, which gave a further boost to the art form. Fast forward 15 years from then, to one delightful spring evening last month, and a lucky few dance enthusiasts could be found mingling with art lovers in the spacious entrance of the Yokohama Museum of Art to witness a one-off curatorial tour de force titled Dan-su/Nude....

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Sergey Kuryshev: This Means Figuring Out Our Life And Presenting It On The Basis Of The Classic Text

Tonight is the opening night of Uncle Vanya at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, In anticipation of the Chekhov’s play being offered to the London audience, we approached the leading actor of the Maly Drama Theatre Sergey Kuryshev (in Life And Fate he played Viktor Shtrum). Sergey, you have been working in theatre for a long time, you are a People’s Artist of the Russian Federation. What is for you the essence of an actor’s profession?  Sergey: I think, first of all, it is equally vital and fascinating to become aware of what the author is offering to us: to fully understand...

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South Africa’s Richest And Smoothest Jazz

Experiencing any show at Brooklyn Academy of Music is as magical as seeing a show at LTC3, only I don’t have to leave my own borough. The opportunity to see South African jazz legend Abdullah Ibrahim is magical on its own. Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) allows for their audience to bring back their signature BAM cup and receive a discount on their drinks, as well as drink in the theatre, which means you are already prepared to sit, sip, and listen to some wonderful sounds. The Jazz Epistles is Abdullah Ibrahim’s classics from his Jazz Epistle, Verse 1...

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The Importance Of “Hamlet”

The Bard’s tale on the machinations of Denmark’s royal family remains his most influential plays translated into Marathi says Vikram Phukan. In his authoritative tome, The Indian Theatre (1970), R.K. Yajnik states that, “No Shakespearean play, most faithfully rendered, has ever evoked such unbounded enthusiasm and admiration in India as the Marathi Hamlet.” Several writers have translated the tragedy, the longest and perhaps the most influential of Shakespeare’s plays, into Marathi. Several translations Indianised the characters while retaining the title of the play (for instance, Nana Yog’s abridged adaptation of 1959). Gopal Ganesh Agarkar’s Vikaravilasita, which opened in 1883, featured the legendary...

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Hooligan Communism: Why Did The Bolsheviks Ban Their Very First Propaganda Performance?

Despite being a revolutionary and futuristic masterpiece by Mayakovsky, Meyerhold, and Malevich, Mystery Bouffe was the first victim of Soviet censorship. On a warm day one hundred years ago a small group of friends heard the first-ever play by a Soviet dramatist. Poet Vladimir Mayakovsky was reading Mystery Bouffe to a group that included the Commissar of Enlightenment, Anatoly Lunacharsky, and the famous theater director, Vsevolod Meyerhold. The play was an aggressive piece of Bolshevik propaganda, opening at the Petrograd Conservatoire in 1918 for three performances, with stage decorations and costumes designed by Kazimir Malevich. This first piece of Soviet theater seemed...

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Theatre Kraken’s “Cry-Baby” Triumphs Over Its Material

If you lower your defenses, Theatre Kraken’s production of Cry-Baby is capable of providing you with an uproariously enjoyable time at the Gladstone Theatre. This is less due to the material—an uneven stage musical derived from John Waters’s 1950’s movie starring Johnny Depp—than to the spirited ensemble work of a 19-member cast and the sturdy contribution of a six-piece band under Chris Lucas. Only the most dedicated sourpuss would be able to resist the trashy pleasures afforded by this cheeky reworking of one of the most durable themes in dramatic literature—the one where the bad boy from the wrong...

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Following The #MeToo Movement In Korean Theatre

In the past few months, the Korean theatre scene has been under intense public scrutiny as artists—mostly women—publicly shared their experiences of sexual harassment and assault. Adopting the #MeToo and #WithYou hashtags that motivated similar revelations in other countries, the victims called out prominent theatre artists and celebrities such as Lee Youn-taek, Oh Tae-seok, Jo Min-ki, Jo Jae-hyun, and many others. Multiple accounts of Lee’s behavior, including allegations of rape, and the normativized culture of power-based violence within his company, Yeonheedan Street Troupe, were especially earth-shattering, due to the abnormal demands forced on young female company members. However, news...

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Cross-cultural Encounters In World Theatre: Bertolt Brecht, The “Alienation” Effect And Chinese Drama

The German playwright and drama theorist Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) is particularly famous for his theory of alienation as a technique of acting and as an “effect” on the audience. Brecht called them, respectively, Verfremdung and Verfremdungseffekt (or V-effekt); however, in lieu of “alienation,” a more appropriate term to render these words into English would be “estrangement,” for alienation is exactly what Brecht intended to prevent through his newly devised performance apparatus, also known as epic theatre. By replacing traditional character impersonation with third-person narration and by employing a series of other devices aimed at defamiliarizing the dramatic events, Brecht wanted the audience to avoid...

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“Still Life With Chickens:” New Samoan Play Confronts Loneliness Through Comedy

Samoan playwright David Fa’auliuli Mamea’s Still Life With Chickens won the 2017 Adam Award for Best New Zealand Play and now, its stylish premiere production is touring the country. It concerns Mama, an elderly Samoan woman who befriends a stray chicken. While the premise seems slight, and the production is light and humorous, the script digs deeply into an issue not often explored in New Zealand theatre, loneliness among the elderly. Loneliness has become a major health issue internationally, with British Prime Minister Theresa May appointing a Minster for Loneliness in January 2018 in response to a report that...

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Dreams And Reality: Fortune Theatre, Dunedin, New Zealand Closes

The mid-morning phone call I receive from a colleague brings bad news. The Fortune Theatre–the only professional theatre in Dunedin, New Zealand, the only professional theatre in the southern quarter of the country, and the world’s southernmost professional theater–has closed forever effective immediately due to insufficient funds. The theatre is no longer financially sustainable. The fact that it is May 1st, International Workers’ Day, is not lost on me. The Fortune Theatre’s workers were called to a 9 am meeting with members of the board and told the awful news. They have ninety minutes to clear their desks. It’s...

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Finding “Piramo E Tisbe”

Upon entering the theatre for Piramo E Tisbe, I was intrigued by the setup of the stage and the placement of the orchestra. On one side was a bed and blanket, and on the other side, an elaborate set up of an abandoned space taken over by the past of the Persian War, implying it would be inhibited by anyone seeking shelter. The orchestra consisted of five violinists, Danika Paskvan on viola, Anthony Albrecht on cello, David Ross on flute, two oboes, two bassoons, and Arash Noori on theorbo, and was conducted by Elliot Figg, who accompanied on the...

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A Cyclical Tragedy: Poetry, Humor, Theatre, And Neoliberalism In Argentina

Remar, An Improper Destination, written and directed by Mariano Saba, premiered at the Sportivo Teatral in 2017 and is being mounted again, for its second season, in the same theatre. Remar won the 5th Edition of the Artei Prize for independent theatre production, and Odyssey Double Par (A Farce Of The Empire), the work’s antecedent, also authored by Saba, received mention in the Casa de las Americas Literary Prize in 2016. Remar, An Improper Destination is a tragicomedy based on the crossing of the Odyssey but takes place in the El Tigre Delta in Argentina. The two rowers belonging...

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Romanian Theatre Today: The Postdramatic Emancipation Of The New Generation

The very moment I step into the building, great expectations surround me. If a measuring device existed for such feelings, the degrees of suspense would surely become visible. I enter each room highly curious and slightly heavyhearted, but, after scanning each room and discovering what is inside, I feel the simple joy of discovery and no longer want to leave. I find there the deserted scene of a feast, with a large table, plates, glasses, wine stains, a tablecloth angrily pulled off; in a different room, a character seemingly descending from another century is buried amongst files behind a...

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“Masterpieces” at The Finborough Theatre

Neil McPherson, the long-serving head of this London fringe theatre, has a brilliant record of succeeding where many other venues have failed—namely in reviving both modern postwar classics and restaging the forgotten plays of recent decades. And all on a shoestring. His current revival of Sarah Daniels’s 1983 feminist classic, Masterpieces, is his latest good idea. It’s a play that is often seen, in textbooks, as typical of a militant femintern style of theatre-making so, in the #MeToo moment, it now acquires a renewed relevance. But is it really such a good play? The first professional London production in 35 years, Masterpieces tells...

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Birthing A Country: “Womb Of Fire”

The provocative one-hander Womb Of Fire by The Mothertongue Project recently had a three-week run at Cape Town’s Baxter Theatre. The play won prizes at the Stellenbosch Woordfees for Best Actor (Rehane Abrahams), Best Director (Sara Matchett) and Best Play (Womb Of Fire). The Mothertongue Project started when Abrahams and Matchett came together over a cup of chai in a Mumbai kitchen in 1999. Actress/writer Rehane Abrahams persuaded Dr. Sara Matchett to direct a piece she was writing. She described the work as seminal and that it would mark a transition into a new way of being for her. Back in...

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