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Theatre Essays

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What’s the matter with tax exemption? Essay

Not-for-profit institutions are making out like bandits, the Philadelphia Inquirer told readers in a blistering series of news articles and editorials last spring. Although it did not single out arts organizations, the newspaper questioned the charitable merits of nonprofits ranging from hospitals, universities, foundations and museums to country clubs, trade groups and professional surfers. Added…

Zakes Mda: redressing the past Essay

South African playwright Zakes Mda has the outward calm and practiced smile of one who has answered the same obvious questions many times before. In a cool, dark office on the Yale University campus, he sits rather uncomfortably across the table from me, his speech reserved, his hands extended palms downward on the tabletop in…

‘The Persians’: things we never saw or heard Essay

This deadly silence with its taste of acid fills our mouths…,” declares the Chorus in Robert Auletta’s update of Aeschylus’ The Persians. The stage is set in the Persian court as the Chorus (Ben Halley Jr.) awaits news of his army’s invasion of Athens: The muezzin’s song has been heard, and the Chorus, in the…

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The Persians’: twisted history and radical chic Essay

When I first approached Robert Auletta’s new version of Aeschylus’ The Persians, I thought the concept had great merit. Sellars’s decision to contemporize the play, relocating the action to modern-day Baghdad in the aftermath of Desert Storm, seemed to have justification, even merit. After all, Aeschylus’ tragedy, an audacious work which describes how Athens defeated…

The play starts Essay

The play starts in “The Dinning Room of a fairly large suburban house, belonging to a prosperous manufacturer. ” This shows how the Birlings live in luxury. The family is well off and appear to have a nice life since they live in a large suburban house. Mr Birling is very much stereotypical businessman and…

An Inspector Calls Essay

What reaction/s does Priestley intend the audience to have to the content of the play? How does he set about achieving them? Do you think he is successful in achieving his intentions? The play ‘An Inspector Calls’ was written by J. B. Priestley in 1945. However, it is set in 1912; the Edwardian era, in…

The characters in the play Essay

The book An Inspector Calls by JB Priestly is about social status and shows how actions whether they are out of kindness or spitefulness could have consequences. Before the arrival of inspector Goole the Birling family had no idea that their previously selfish actions would cause such serious results. They were so blinded by their…

The five central characters Essay

Eric was the next character involved; he took advantage of Eva and slept with her. When Eva became pregnant he stole money from his father’s business to give to her and when she found out about it, she refused to take any more. “She told me she was going to have a baby… I was…

Who Is Inspector Goole? Essay

The first thing I notice about Inspector Goole is his name and the fact it sounds just the same as ‘Ghoul’. This suggests at the beginning of the play that he is going to be a mysterious character. The first extremely mysterious action he takes in the play, is the fact that he claims to…

Abe’s global vision Essay

The play’s an absolute roller-coaster ride–like riding squalls coming across the sea. If we get it right, it should make the audience’s hair stand on end.” That’s actor Sam Waterston’s judgment about Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Robert Sherwood’s Pulitzer-winning play of 1938. Waterston plays the eponymous role at New York’s Lincoln Center Theater through Jan….

Barbara Damashek: a moving target Essay

When Quilters hit the regional theatre circuit a decade ago, it sent Barbara Damashek on what she describes as a “creative roller-coaster ride.” “It was one of those life-changing moments when you take a major creative leap,” she says now, sitting in her small sunny cottage in the Berkeley hills, with a tomcat and a…

Charles Busch: some kind of diva Essay

Innocence” isn’t something you’d expect to be thinking about if you were to find yourself sitting amidst the opulent fin-desiecle passementerie that fills the sitting room of New York’s best-loved theatrical drag performer, chatting about his recent experience playing the female lead in The Maids, Jean Genet’s transvestite drama of madness, envy and murder. Yet…

Diamanda Galas: in the rough Essay

It is by now a well-worn cliche that a particular artist “defies all categories.” But in the case of Diamanda Galas, that description seems overwhelmingly apt. The fact is that Galas has based a 20-year solo career on performances about resisting categories, regarding them as “the confining ways that the dominant order names you, isolates…

The Treasure In The Forest written Essay

I am going to study the setting and atmosphere of three short stories written in the Victorian era, I will attempt to understand how the Victorian society was based on these texts. Sikes and Nancy written by CHARLES DICKENS in 1869, The Black Cottage written by WILKIE COLLINS in 1859 and The Treasure In The…

Dodson’s dilemma Essay

Owen Dodson never got his big break. An exceptionally talented writer and director, Dodson hobnobbed with the movers and shakers of the black intelligentsia from W.E.B. du Bois to James Baldwin and inspired younger generations of black poets and artists. Yet Dodson, a professor of drama at Howard University for 25 years, never became a…

Let me infotain you Essay

“If you haven’t been back to Broadway for a while, this is the show to see!” Sound like the words of a critic who’s dying to see his or her name in the print ads? Not quite–it’s the sign-off of a TV special put together by WNYW, the Fox affiliate in New York. The line…

Ways to stage old chestnut Hamlet by Aaron Beall Essay

How many ways are there to stage that old chestnut Hamlet? In more ways “than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” according to Aaron Beall, executive director of New York City’s NADA Inc. A four-month marathon of more than 20 different Hamlets–productions featuring rap, video, pantomime and even animal acts–will all fret their hours upon…

Occupational Hazard Essay

If the play’s the thing, what’s the play script good for? Aside from replenishing the arid reservoir of audition monologues and testifying to a play’s critical or box-office success, if we’re lucky, the printed text is as good as literature. It can be ruminated on like a volume of poetry. And when gathered and bound…

Tangible ghosts Essay

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON: “An open drain,” “unutterably offensive,” “repulsive and degrading,” “garbage and offal” these were typical of the critics’ comments on Ibsen’s Ghosts when it opened in London in 1891. William Archer, one of the playwright’s most fervent admirers (and his translator) collated the horrendous reviews and called them a “shriek of execration.” In these more…

The ‘how’ of funny Essay

It’s Wednesday night at Chicago’s most venerable coffeehouse, the No Exit. An improv group called Bang Bang has been playing here late on Wednesdays. They’re supposed to be hot. They’re supposed to be good. They’re supposed to have an interesting approach. The Chicago Tribune ran a friendly piece about them in the Sunday arts section….

The gospel according to Black Elk Essay

“My friend, I am going to tell you the story of my life, as you wish; and if it were only the story of my life I think I would not tell it; for what is one man that he should make much of his winters, even when they bend him like a heavy snow?…

To have or have not Essay

During the recent glorious days of Indian Summer, President and Mrs. Clinton hosted two days of celebration honoring 18 recipients of the National Medal of Arts and the Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities. The ceremony on the White House lawn, the evening reception which followed, and the lunch the next day at which Jane…

Welcome to El Paso Essay

Simply put, it’s an American Dream story: The Santos brothers, sons of Mexican immigrants, grow up to become attorneys, establish a successful law firm and wield power in their hometown of El Paso, Tex. They also run a drug ring, indulge a penchant for high-stakes gambling and commit murder in the most horrific ways imaginable…

A Most Remarkable Fella: Frank Loesser and the Guys and Dolls in His Life Essay

Between the world wars, style was in ascendance and musical comedy was so central to popular culture that a composer’s name could sum up an attitude toward life. This was particularly true of Noel Coward and Cole Porter, and not just because they wrote words as well as music. They were the supreme practitioners of…

Amy Hill: a double agent with personalities to spare Essay

As Amy Hill explains it, the Japanese language uses deep feeling to slice through contradictions. Her Japanese dictionary defines the word “shibui,” for instance, as sulen; an astringent; tasty; a trained voice…. “Hear the contradictions?” she asks me. “In Japanese you have to experience the word to understand it.” Hill believes that in order to…

Andrei Serban: educating Prosperos Essay

Andrei Serban, looking remarkably youthful at 50 in his black jeans and crewneck sweater, darts out of his office at Columbia University, where a year-and-a-half ago he was hired as head of the Oscar Hammerstein Center for Theatre Arts. Thin, edgy, sporting a neat beard and shaggy brown hair, the Romanian-born director motions to a…

Beneath the plumage Essay

The Tale of the Green Bird is the most daring play that ever issued from my inkwell,” declared Carlo Gozzi, the 18th-century Italian fabulist. “Daring” is a relative term, of course. But when the dizzyingly original Gozzi claims something as his most daring work, that really says something. And yet chances are that audiences don’t…

Bill Womack: a trustee first Essay

Bill Womack is used to being a “first.” As a person of color in the largely white profession of child psychiatry, he’s accustomed to breaking new ground. Still, he wasn’t quite prepared for the overwhelming isolation he felt when he joined the board of directors at Seattle’s A Contemporary Theatre in 1987. “I had no…

Dancing with diablo: an international education in collaboration Essay

“Here’s how you meet Diablomundo,” rumbles cultural impresario Philip Arnoult of Baltimore Theatre Project,proffering a small brown cup of murky leaves penetrated by a delicately detailed silver straw. A tentative sip draws a dose of pungent South American tea called mate–a staple of the Argentinean theatre troupe, whose six members constantly circulate the cup among…

Dickenz in the ‘hood Essay

When you rip your heart out of your chest in the Fichandler Theatre at Arena Stage, you don’t just yank it out and drop it on the bed–especially if you are the ghost of Jacob Marley and you’ve been dead for seven years, and it’s Christmas Eve. And even though the stage directions only say,…

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