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Essays About Culture

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NEA announces new slate of grants Essay

The National Endowment for the arts announced in July a total of $7.2 million in grants to 231 professional theatre companies for the 1993-94 performance season. The grants, awarded under the Theater Program’s Professional Theater Companies category, represent a decrease from the previous year, when 236 grants totaling $7.5 million were awarded. The grants, ranging…

NEA weathers attack but takes cut Essay

In what has become practically an annual ritual, the House of Representatives passed the 1994 Interior Appropriations Bill in mid-July after staving off an amendment that would have eliminated the National Endowment for the Arts entirely–but not before adopting a measure to reduce the agency’s budget by five percent. The initial recommendation by the Clinton…

On partnerships: every duet is different Essay

The partnership between an artistic director and managing director becomes dysfunctional if one person is supposed to light the spark and the other to contain it,” observed Jack O’Brien, artistic director of San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre. Addressing the 65 participants from theatres across the country who gathered in San Diego June 19-20 for Theatre…

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Past imperfect Essay

The 1960s are not dead, at least not for some holdouts in Maubeuge, a small town two hours out of Paris. There on a cold weekend last April, numerous international theatre folk celebrated the momentous decade by eating a sumptuous five-hour meal while reminiscing about the past. The feast was sponsored by the Maubeuge International…

Paul Slabolepszy: coming of age in the cradle of apartheid Essay

As a 12-year-old schoolboy, Paul Slabolepszy, one of South Africa’s most outspoken anti-apartheid playwrights, had his first encounter with political protest. Raised in a conservative, rural town and educated at a segregated Catholic boarding school, Slabolepszy remembers traveling to Johannesburg for a sporting event with the swim team. On the way, the bus full of…

Psyched out Essay

Seattle’s Alice B. calls itself “a gay and lesbian theatre for all people.” Nothing the group has produced in its nine-year history better exemplifies what that phrase might mean than Sub Rosa. Sub Rosa started out with writer-director Nikki Appino’s desire to explore the material and atmosphere of German cabaret between the World Wars, and…

The Aristotelian hacker Essay

What place can live theatre possibly hold in the 500-channel, multimedia-interactive, digital entertainment future? Prophecies of the high-tech millennium tend to divide theatre artists into several camps: those who want to get their hands on futuristic toys and play with them, on stage and off; those who dismiss silicon novelties in a high-toned huff and…

They might be elves Essay

Afternoon of the Elves, Y York’s new play adapted from the novel by Janet Taylor Lisle, tells a remarkable story about two girls, their parents, and the backyards which embody their vastly different lives and personal views of the world. It poses a serious question about contemporary notions and codes concerning families and social conscience….

Wordschmidt Essay

the translator, the actor and the poet are of imagination all compact–at least for Paul Schmidt they are. A true renaissance man of the theatre, Schmidt seems anomalous in our late 20th-century world of micro-specialization: a poet who translates, a translator who acts, an actor who writes plays, a playwright who writes poems. But lest…

An unlikely haven for new plays Essay

The unveiling of a new play by Edward Albee at an American professional theatre is a rare event, but it will happen this fall at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. Lee Blessing is working on his second world premiere at the theatre in as many years. A new Eric Overmyer piece is expected to be on…

El Greco sings Essay

Musical theatre works about painters are, in a odd sort of way, like movies about baseball stars. There’s no reason they shouldn’t work, but they rarely do. Goya has been the subject of hugely unsuccessful pieces by Gian Carlo Menotti and Maury Yeston. Frida, a portrayal of Frida Kahlo, was a mixed success last year…

For nonprofits, budget offers plusses: but endowment reauthorization is still pending Essay

But Endowment reauthorization is still pending Congress, leaving Washington in the dog days of August, barely completed the grueling budget bill – a painstakingly achieved piece of legislation that contains several provisions of interest to the nonprofit arts community, for whom the bill’s passage is seen as a success. One of the most important victories…

Gurney cuts loose – sort of Essay

I’m trying to move away from the light form of the drawing-room comedy,” A. R. Gurney told a New York Times interviewer in 1989, in an article focusing on the success (despite a mixed Times review) of The Cocktail Hour, his semi-autobiographical piece about a playwright who informs his parents he’s used them as characters…

More hits from the right Essay

Officials in Cobb County, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, voted to cut all county arts funding in late August, after initially moving to pass a resolution to restrict funding to organizations and programming that “advance and support strong community and family-oriented standards.” The anti-arts vote sidestepped the issue of free speech guarantees by eliminating support…

Rockabye Brecht Essay

Shortly before his death in 1956, Bertolt Brecht, in a characteristic moment of reflective irony, told a colleague that “the man who makes himself indispensable is up to no good.” A lifetime behind him of skipping town whenever indispensable leaders such as Hitler and the House on Un-American Activities Committee were hot on his trail,…

Sam Shepard Essay

Two recent monographs in “important authors” series from Twayne and Continuum are scholastically useful surveys of Sam Shepard’s career – the sort of books you like to have handy on the shelf for brushing up on half-forgotten plots, tracking down errant quotations or noshing on a biographical snack. These books are headed for college libraries,…

Shoestring virtuosos Essay

Dex Edwards’s designs are often hailed for their “magic.” This, it turns out, is not completely coincidental. “I started working professionally as an actor when I was in the third grade,” he confesses, “and that was because what I really wanted to do was be a magician.” Edwards’s career has been a continuum of becoming…

The End of Acting: A Radical View Essay

Despite its firebreathing, apocalyptic title, The End of Acting: A Radical View is eminently orthodox. Author Richard Hornby is no crackpot extremist peddling a newfangled method, but a traditional Stanislavskian calling for a careful re-reading of the Master, to be achieved by disentangling him from his chief American (mis)interpreter, Lee Strasberg. Though Hornby pays only…

The not so empty stage Essay

In the beginning, we’re told, was the Word. In American regional theatre, the word was that of Sophocles and Schiller, Shaw and Shepard, above all Shakespeare. And, at the beginning, it was scripture. When the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, the model and seminal force behind what would become the American regional theatre movement, launched its…

The wild west meets the wild east Essay

Built on scenic, typhoon-lashed hills at the tip of a peninsula jutting into the Sea of Japan, Vladivostok was never a typical Soviet city. Home port of the Red Navy’s Pacific Fleet, it was closed even to Soviets from other regions until its official opening Jan. 1, 1992; yet because of the thousands of wandering…

A Place with the Pigs Essay

Further expanding its extensive collection of Athol Fugard’s works, Theatre Communications Group has just published a new volume composed of Fugard’s latest South African drama, Playland, and an earlier, highly personal work, A Place with the Pigs.Playland charts the unlikely relationship between a white South African army veteran and a black amusement-park night watchman. The…

Bockerer Essay

When the repertoire of the Czechoslovakian National Theatre was controlled by the ruling Communist government, Bockerer was an approved play. The party permitted this obscure 1948 piece by Ulrich Becher and Peter Preses because of its anti-Nazi and pro-worker stance, and because the one communist activist in the World War II comedy-drama was presented with…

Road to recovery or road to nowhere Essay

Players Theatre Columbus has ceased all operations,” says the woman’s voice on the answering machine, sounding the death knell of the professional Ohio company, first founded as a community theatre in 1923. Fifty full- and part-time staff members and 4,200 subscribers were left out in the cold when the theatre’s board of trustees, citing a…

Unamimous okay for Alexander Essay

Explaining that she wishes to give something back in return for the rich life she has experienced in the arts, actress Jane Alexander made her congressional debut before the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee on Sept. 22 and was swiftly and unanimously confirmed as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Although unanimity…

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…

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…

Write a magazine article for a film magazine commenting on how Baz Luhrmann makes Shakespeare appealing to a young, modern audience Essay

Write a magazine article for a film magazine commenting on how Baz Luhrmann makes Shakespeare appealing to a young, modern audience. Make specific reference to the opening sequence. This brilliant remake is simply Shakespeare’s classic with a bit of a face lift. Baz Luhrmann’s flamboyant direction pumps new life into his 20th century adaptation of…

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…

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