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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The Jewish Theatre In Warsaw: Tradition With A Modern Attitude

The Jewish Theatre in Warsaw is one of only two public theatres in Europe that regularly stage productions in Yiddish and that cultivate the rich, colorful and very important tradition of Central European Jews which was so tragically destroyed by the Holocaust. A glance at history After World War II, Jews of Polish origin, those who survived the Holocaust, were settled in the Lower Silesia region with the capital city of Wrocław, which before 1945 was the German city, Breslau. This city lived through the biggest relocation of its citizens in the 20th century. First, as Wrocław was proclaimed...

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“A Doll’s House” Premieres On Istanbul Stage

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s City Theaters recently staged Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play A Doll’s House, depicting how an ordinary housewife finds strength in herself in dire straits. A Doll’s House, written by Henrik Ibsen and staged by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) City Theater, recently premiered at Harbiye Muhsin Ertuğrul Stage. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Ali Gökmen Altuğ, the director of the play, talked about the play, saying it hadn’t been staged at the City Theater for 34 years. Altuğ highlighted that the piece is a classic. “This is why I wanted to perform the play with this classic...

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A Conversation With Gia Forakis, Theatre And Opera Director

My aesthetic as a stage director is built first on a desire to create an experience that captures the poetic nature of the human condition. It’s a desire to connect with something larger than our sense of self, something sacred. And that’s what I see as the beauty of the theatre. In terms of the expression of that desire, my process is to bring to life a very visual, theatrical, and specific life on stage that illuminates increments of thought as components of physical action, which is how I articulate the methodology of One-Thought-One-Action.

The beauty of OTOA is that if you want to, you can use it almost like the cinematic process of editing film where one can compose one frame of action at a time. It’s how the text supports the physical actions on stage so that even if you could turn off the sound of the actors, the viewer would still get the story being told through the visual embodiment of thought as physical action.

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Discussion On The Greatest Theatrical Scandal Of 2017: “Klątwa” At The Powszechny Theatre In Warsaw

Kasia Lech (KL): How could we introduce Klątwa [The Curse] and its context to someone for whom the play, Polish theatre, and the Polish socio-political context are rather unknown? Agata Łuksza (AŁ): Undoubtedly Klątwa, directed by Olivier Frljić, caused in Poland the greatest theatrical scandal of 2017. It premiered at the Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw, a city-subsidized institution led by Paweł Łysak and Paweł Sztarbowski who coined their theatre “theatre which interferes.” So far, all of Frljić’s attempts to cooperate with Polish theatres have resulted in nationwide discussions about the borders of theatre art. Klątwa really struck a chord by...

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Jacek Głomb Named Polish “Theatre Person 2018”

Jacek Głomb, Polish director and Artistic Director of the Modjeska Theatre in Legnica, has just been named the “Theatre Person 2018.” The prestigious award is given annually by the Zygmunt Hübner Foundation to an eminent Polish theatre artist whose work follows Hübner’s idea; Hübner was one of the most significant twentieth-century Polish theatre-makers. In particular, the awardee work must embrace the idea of Theatre as an artistic and social mission, shaping the audiences in relation to their receptive strategies and their citizenship. He/she must be an eminent artist who continuously contributes to and develop Polish theatrical landscape. In previous...

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A Look Back at the Asian Intercultural Conference 2017: Interview with T. Sasitharan

As part of the media partnership with Intercultural Theatre Institute (ITI), culture360 has interviewed its director and co-founder T. Sasitharan on the results of the Asian Intercultural Conference organized last November in Singapore. How did the conference go? Did it meet your expectations in terms of participation and engagement? In my opinion, the Asian Intercultural Conference (AIC) 2017 was a resounding success. Given its specialized subject matter and themes (actor training, theatre-making, interculturalism and the globalization of the theatre production process) we were able to attract a wide and diverse spectrum of delegates and participants. Moreover, the quality of the presentations and, more importantly, the...

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OLT’s “An Inspector Calls”: Dark Comedy or Impactful Social Drama?

The Ottawa Little Theatre’s production of An Inspector Calls, the classic mid-20th-century drama by British writer J.B. Priestley and directed by Jim McNabb, is one which leaves something to be desired for the more socially-conscious viewer. As a performance given by actors, it is not entirely unsuccessful; the laughter elicited from the audience at even odd moments during the show attests to this. The task of meaningfully transmitting Priestley’s message of social responsibility for others, however, is where McNabb’s vision falls short. Set in April 1912, the play begins with a scene of celebration at the home of the...

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“An Inspector Calls”: OLT Production Suffers from Problematic Staging Choices

Social responsibility and time, two of J.B. Priestley’s major preoccupations, are at the center of An Inspector Calls. One of his best-known works, the drama is part social manifesto and part mystery in a drawing-room setting. With its underlying theme of the obligation to care for others and the playwright’s signature interest in time shifts, An Inspector Calls delivers strong criticism of class divisions in Great Britain immediately before the First World War as the scene is set for the mysterious inspector of the title to call on the wealthy Birling family and dent their complacency. An Inspector Calls, which premiered in Russia in 1945...

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“Roma Arnee” Doing it Right! Production Of Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin

Doing It Right! Yael Ronen, an Israeli theatre director working for the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin, has a reputation of one of the most socially, culturally, and politically aware theatre artist of Europe. The Gorki’s latest creation–Roma Armee that premiered in Berlin in September 2017–is a proof in point. Devised by the international team of eight performers, all ethnic Roma, this production speaks directly to the most dangerous tendencies in the post-Brexit Europe: such as rising nationalism, xenophobia, and racism. With Ronan’s earlier productions Third Generation that featured German, Israeli and Palestinian actors and The  Situation that looked into the political situation in the...

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Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt” Gets A Cultural Twist When Director Yang Jung-ung Teams Up With Actor Kenji Urai

South Korean director Yang Jung-ung’s career has spanned several continents. From his theater work, with casts of numerous nationalities, to his role as artistic director for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, it’s clear he has long had the world in his sights. “I’ve always been drawn to experimental, intercultural directors such as the Italian Eugenio Barba, who is based in Denmark, Poland’s Italy-based pioneer Jerzy Grotowski and the great globe-trotting German modern dance icon Pina Bausch,” he says. Recently, though, the 48-year-old dramatist has been working out of a rehearsal studio at Setagaya Public Theatre in Tokyo, where he...

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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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Female Desire In Experimental Postdramatic Theatre: “Body Double” Directed By Eleanor Bishop, BATS Theatre, Wellington

Merriam-Webster has recently named “feminism” as the 2017 “word of the year” and feminist issues and dramaturgy are central to Body Double, the 2017 STAB commission at Wellington’s BATS Theatre. Body Double boldly integrates its theme of female desire with a riotous and playful combination of multi-media and physical theatre. Since 1995 STAB has been an annual institution at BATS, an invitation to practitioners to dream, to experiment, to invent, to risk. The commission comes with a substantial budget, so the pitching process inspires cash-starved theatre-makers to out-bid each other with proposals that push the imaginative possibilities of live...

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The Century Of Yuri Lyubimov

World-renowned Russian and Soviet theatre director Yuri Lyubimov (1917–2014) rose to fame and notoriety after founding Moscow’s Taganka Theatre in 1964. Although Lyubimov died at 97, just a few years short of what would have been his one-hundredth birthday, the Museum of Moscow recently celebrated his centenary with a special, performative exhibit entitled Lyubimov And Time. Emiliia Dementsova reports on the exhibit. Yuri Lyubimov turned 100 years old…An epochal man living through the century that was not the best of times at all. Honestly the Master in the role of the great man he was cast to play in...

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“Mrs. Pistols” A Requiem For A Dream

Mrs. Pistols is an outstanding example of an Iranian play that meets the intellectual and aesthetic expectations of serious theatre audiences. Mohammad Amir Yār Ahmadi, the playwright, and Shahāb-el din Hosseinpour, the director, created the script and performance in a way that led the audience both to identify with the subject of the play and characters and to enjoy the form. Employing effective and controlled humor, a precise and well-thought-out mise-en-scène, fast-paced performances, a musical style not synchronous with the time and place of the narration, and exaggerated makeup, the play commanded the audience’s attention to the end. The...

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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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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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“Provoking Theater: Kama Ginkas Directs” An Excerpt

Excerpted and adapted from the book Provoking Theater: Kama Ginkas Directs by Kama Ginkas and John Freedman (Smith and Kraus, 2003). It is reposted here with permission. ON CHEKHOV My first attempt at staging documentary materials was in 1968. It was a play called My Mocking Happiness, based on the correspondence of Anton Chekhov with various people. Written by Leonid Malyugin, a writer who was quite popular at that time among intellectuals, it was a very bad play constructed on the basis of badly edited letters. Basically, he wrote a piece of sentimental slop, a portrait of Chekhov as if...

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An Interview with Graham Schmidt: Bringing Russian Theatre To U.S. Audiences

An interview with Graham Schmidt, artistic director of Austin’s Breaking String Theater. Schmidt directed a reading for The Lark’s 2017 Russia/United States Playwright Exchange.    Over the past decade, you’ve been at the forefront of bringing contemporary Russian-language drama to American audiences, particularly through your Austin-based theatre company Breaking String Theater. Here I must offer some context. Producing the New Russian Drama Festival from 2011 to 2013 was one of the thrills of my professional life, and I’m honored to be offered such high praise. That said, there are several organizations that have acted as conduits for artistic exchange...

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Wanton Desire Proves To Be Timeless And Borderless In Japanese Version Of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses”

The route that has brought Richard Twyman to Tokyo to direct an all-Japanese cast in a play based on a 18th-century French novel has taken many twists and turns. Now, though, it has finally led this rising star of the British drama scene here with his own new version of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, a work in which two estranged lovers weave heartless sex schemes to wreck each other’s future. “I grew up in the Highlands of Scotland and had no contact with theater,” Twyman explains, going back to the beginning. “At school, I was cripplingly shy, but I was...

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