Legendary Russian Actor Oleg Tabakov Has Died. Why Was This Actor Loved by Everyone in Russia?

People’s Artist of the USSR, legendary Russian actor and director, Oleg Tabakov died on March 12, 2018, at the age of 82 years. “Oleg Tabakov, the great actor of a great era, died: the man loved by the whole country has gone,” journalist Dmitry Smirnov wrote, representing the voice of numerous admirers, colleagues and students, mourning the death of the master. Having been the head of one of the most significant Russian theatres for 18 years, the Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre, Tabakov was one of the most important Soviet and Russian theatre and cinema actors for many generations of...

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Interpreting The Epics

The Tenkutittu and Badagutittu traditional theatre styles of coastal Karnataka come alive. The casual observer might well consider most traditional theatre forms of India to be monolithic institutions whose tenets have been passed down centuries. While the provenance or historicity of these forms are never called into question, the variations and nuanced diversity innate to a performance style is often glossed over by the pervasive exoticisation of our times. For instance, the catch-all Yakshagana, or the traditional theatre of coastal Karnataka, conjures up images of archetypal performances in all too familiar regalia that are scarcely indistinguishable from each other. Yet,...

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“The Actor’s Life for Me:” A Conversation With David Greenspan

David Greenspan keeps busy. Just two weeks after closing his monumental solo rendition of Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude with the Transport Group he began rehearsals for New Saloon’s production of Milo Cramer’s new play Cute Activist at the Bushwick Starr. Then he was off to Two River Theater in Redbank, New Jersey to star in his own adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey, in which he plays the “aged Harlequin” Uncle Pio, a charming, if disreputable, man of the theater described as resembling “a soiled pack of cards.” I recently met up with him at...

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The Gaze Of The Robot: Oriza Hirata’s Robot Theatre

Ten Years of Robot Theatre Directed by Oriza Hirata In Japan, the development of humanoid robots and their integration into human society has been in the forefront of research for decades. Robots are becoming a common sight in various settings. One of the biggest telecommunication companies introduced a social humanoid robot that is able to “read” the emotions from the facial expression and voice of its partner. This robot is now serial manufactured, welcoming customers at the shops, orienting foreigners at the airport arrival, as a preparation for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. For the graying generation, the everyday presence...

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Mind The Gap: Theatre Group For The Over 60s Helps Salisbury Playhouse Cater For All

One of the things Salisbury Playhouse tries to do is provide opportunities for everyone in the community to experience theatre and the pleasure that it brings. Our theatre group for the over 60s, Mind the Gap, supports our remit of putting the key priorities of our local authority Wiltshire Council at the heart of our work. To help Wiltshire Council fulfill its key priority of inclusivity, we aim to provide opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. Mind the Gap meets weekly at Salisbury Playhouse for a variety of theatre-based workshops. The group has been running for 10...

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Actors Should Be Allowed To Be Parents Too

Acting, as the cliché goes, is child’s play. All that dressing up and pretending to be someone else. For those of us who do “normal” jobs, the idea of the theatre actor’s life sounds like a brilliant return to student life. You don’t have to get up early in the morning to commute to an office. Instead, you drink coffee and try to learn things off by heart during the day while in the evening, you do a couple of hours of intense work, then get drunk afterward. And then after a few months, you get to “rest” until...

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An Interview With Christine Lamborn: Western Actor’s Perspective On ”Kyogen”

The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) is internationally recognized as the best university-based center for the study and practice of Asian performance (outside of Asia), offering a wide-ranging Asian theatre curriculum: theory and history courses, voice and movement courses—delving into the intricacies of jingju, kabuki, kyogen, noh, randai, and wayang kulit.    Each year, students have the opportunity to undergo intensive, year-long training in a traditional Asian theatre form with renowned practitioners who have spent their lives mastering the form. This arduous training—immersing students in the history and culture surrounding the art form, as well as the theatrical praxis—culminates in an English-language production of a traditional play.  For...

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Theatre Play “Surrender” Sheds Light On New Egyptian Talents Ready To Enter Acting Scene

Staged by the Actor’s Studio, an initiative housed by the Creativity Centre, Surrender is a play consisting of 13 scenes, on the pains of modern society, expressed by a group of young talents Surrender (Sallem Nafsak), a play directed by Khaled Galal and staged by the students of the Actor’s Studio managed by Galal, is yet another opportunity to discover new talents which, for many years now, the director embraces and nourishes. The play has been running since it opened November 1. The young actors’ two-year course is housed at the Creativity Centre headed by Galal and is usually...

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Traumatic Dramatics: Iraqi Addicts, Criminals, And Survivors Use Theatre As Therapy

An Iraqi man is using drama therapy to help local drug addicts, juvenile offenders and victims of chemical weapons attacks recover. The first performance of the play, named I Exist, took place at the hall belonging to the Halabja health department, near Sulaymaniyah. This was particularly appropriate because the northern city was the target of a chemical weapons attack by Saddam Hussein in 1988. As part of what is known as “drama therapy,” victims of chemical weapons attacks wrote, created, and performed the play and afterward, invited the audience to interact with them. Drama therapy is relatively new to...

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Fiasco Theater’s Time Machine – “Twelfth Night” At Classic Stage Company

Fiasco Theater begins its experimental take of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Or What You Will by adding a musical number to dramatize Viola and Sebastian’s shipwreck. While dramatizing the shipwreck has been done before (for example, in Trevor Nunn’s film version) to insert an introductory scene to a staged production of a beloved classic play is an artistic risk that could flop badly. In this case, the shipwreck scene adds insight into how Shakespeare counted on the gloom induced from a shipwreck to bolster the comedy in Twelfth Night. The rub (tenfold): the playwright’s contribution is limited to the...

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Out Of Character: How Acting Puts A Mental Strain On Performers

Performers are twice as likely as the general population to experience depression, according to the 2015 Australian Actors’ Wellbeing Study. Many suffer from performance anxiety and report high levels of stress arising from work-related pressures such as low income and job insecurity. Research over many years has acknowledged that those drawn to working in the arts tend to be highly vulnerable to depression and anxiety. However, there are contributing factors to the strikingly high levels of anxiety and stress specific to the acting community. These include the deep emotions they are often required to access and express when playing a...

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Isabelle Huppert And Jeremy Irons Will Be Awarded Europe Theatre Prize In Rome

From the 12th to the 17th of December, Rome will host the XVI edition of Theatre Prize and the XIV edition of the Europe Prize Theatrical Realities. This is un unconventional occasion to meet and get to know the awarded artists, pieces and performances, and to take part to follow approach to theatre. Contributing to the realization of the event is the Theatre Rome. The Prize forms part of the celebrations for the 60 Rome and the G7 as a special project of the Minister of Culture, also by the will of the President of the Italian Republic. These...

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Junpei Mizobata Plunges Headfirst Into The Absurdist World Of Harold Pinter

As the saying goes, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” In the same way, if you thought the 28-year-old ikemen (drop-dead gorgeous) actor Junpei Mizobata had just been cast to fill seats for the upcoming staging of one of the world’s most well-known but challenging modern plays, you’d be doing a great injustice to a great young talent. That’s because Mizobata will play a key role in Shintaro Mori’s production of English playwright Harold Pinter’s first box-office hit, 1960’s tragicomic The Caretaker, alongside Shugo Oshinari and Yoichi Nukumizu who play its two other characters. Although Pinter (1930-2008) won...

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David Eldridge’s “Beginning” at The National Theatre

One defining characteristic of Englishness is social awkwardness, and its emotional register is an embarrassment. In David Eldridge’s new play, Beginning, the first half of the 100-minute real-time two-hander is a prolonged sonata of embarrassing exchanges, some of which are among the most excruciating you are likely to see on the London stage at the moment. In their emotional truthfulness, they not only say a lot about our national character, but they also present a picture of love and loneliness in the digital age. It’s about three in the morning on a Saturday night in the living room of a...

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“Poison” at The Orange Tree Theatre

Continental drama, in this era of Brexit negotiations, seems to be rarer and rarer on British stages. But, luckily, there are some venues which buck this parochial trend. The Gate Theatre in Notting Hill, with its current production of Jean-Pierre Baro’s Suzy Storck, is one such; another is the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond. This Off-West End theatre, led by its artistic director Paul Miller, has an exceptional record in welcoming voices from the rest of Europe. This year, there have been plays from Germany and France, and now from the Netherlands. Lot Vekemans is an award-winning Dutch playwright and...

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Kosovo Actors Demand Higher Salaries

The Ministry of Culture said that actors’ salaries will be raised by January of next year after Kosovo National Theatre actors threatened an indefinite strike. In Don Quixote’s New Adventures by Tariq Ali, the only learned characters that discuss books, art, and philosophy are the Donkey and the horse Rocinante. While humans—“superior beings” as the play calls them—illustrate the new society full of injustice, corruption, and inequality, the two animals accompanying Don Quixote and Sancho Panza seem to be the only voices of reason. In Kosovo’s rendition, which was staged in Prishtina this week, Don Quixote’s boxing gloves punched...

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Bobi Pricop And The Empathetic Theatre

Each year, the Romanian higher education system supplies, through its art universities with their faculties and institutes in Bucharest, Cluj Napoca, Iaşi, and Tg Mureş (every two years), around 15 graduates in Performance Arts and Directing. In an unchanging, predictable institutional system, with the same number of state-owned theatres and staff grids, and with quasi-limited financial resources and perspectives for the independent/private field, it is not easy for young talents to emerge. On the other hand, the Romanian art environment, dominated by the idea that the director is responsible for theatrical success or failure, is impatient with the young directors, who achieve success early in their careers and who manage to go with the current, despite the burden of general expectations and success, which may...

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Interview With Fanny Gautier: Exit(o) Madrid

Fanny Gautier, star of stage, television, and film, gives some insight into succeeding as a working actor in her home of Madrid, Spain.  She trained with William Layton in Madrid, studied at the Central School of Speech & Drama in London, and at the Cours Florent in Paris. After working in Paris, she returned to Madrid and performed in many well-known TV series such as Antivicio, Policías, Un Paso Adelante, 7 Lives, Al Filo De La Ley, La Pecera De Eva. In cinema you can see her in La Torre De Suso Of Tom Fernandez, Elsa And Fred Of Marcos Carnevale, My House...

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David Greenspan’s One-Man, 6-Hour Performance of Eugene O’Neill’s “Strange Interlude”

The most interesting question about David Greenspan’s one-man, 6-hour performance of Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude is why an artist of his intelligence, wit, and sophistication would want to do such a thing. In 1963, reviewing one of the three Broadway productions it has had, Richard Gilman called this 1928 drama “very likely the worst play that has ever been written by a dramatist with a reputation.” Strange Interlude is dramatic literature’s great cautionary lesson in the wages of unbridled bloviation: a 9-act, numbingly prolix, psychologically preposterous, embarrassingly pretentious, drearily melodramatic saga about a woman unhinged with regret about not sleeping with her hunky...

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Thomas Ostermeier’s “Richard III” at BAM

Richard Crookback is Shakespeare’s dazzling carnival monster, a showoff criminal who charms us into reveling in his villainy. It’s a no-brainer to make him funny-scary in production. Or over-the-top disgusting, or intimidating, or lurid, or for that matter attractive. The sole requirement is a big, game ham. What’s really difficult—close to impossible, actually, after 424 years of sensationalizing—is to make him genuinely disturbing, to portray this monster in a way that breaks through our psychic defenses and plants sticky misgivings about ourselves and our world in our minds. Thomas Ostermeier’s astonishing production of Richard III, visiting BAM from the Schaubühne...

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