Tuesday, March 31, 2009

'Black Coffee' a Hit in Cairo

Murder, drowning and solitary death bring lots of laughs in the current production of Q'ahwa Sada playing in Cairo.  The play, which translates to Black Coffee, was supposed to close after 30 days in November, but instead has become a huge hit at the Artistic Creativity Center.  The play is a series of 12 vignettes satirizing the ills of contemporary Egyptian life.  Check out a full article about it here.   

Sunday, March 29, 2009

From Paris to Brooklyn

In the current production of Yasmina Reza's Gods of Carnage running on Broadway, starring Marcia Gay Harden, Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis and James Gandolfini, translator Christopher Hampton not only had the task of rendering the text into English, he also had to relocate the setting. A discussion in the play about local parks has transferred from two Parisian parks, Montsouris and Aspirant Dunand, to two Brooklyn parks, Cobble Hill and Whitman. Read the full Times article here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Culture without Borders

Facinating article in 'The Australian' by David Elliott, artistic director of the 17th Biennale of Sydney, about the false division of culture. He writes, "The myth of cultural supremacy and separation is one of the great hoaxes of history, a discipline that until very recently was little more than propaganda, written by victors. The unsettling truth is that people, images and things have always moved vast distances across the world." Click here for the full article.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More Money for Street Arts?

Check out this post by Lyn Gardner in 'The Guardian' about the joys of Street Art.  Click here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Six New Shakespeare Works?

Dr John Casson, an independent researcher and psychotherapist, claims to have discovered Shakespeare's first published poem, the Phaeton sonnet, his first comedy, Mucedorus, and his first tragedies, Locrine and Arden of Faversham. He also explores the plays Thomas of Woodstock and A Yorkshire Tragedy, and claims to prove that a 'lost play' called Cardenio is a genuine work by Shakespeare and fellow playwright John Fletcher. Casson publishes his findings in his new book, Enter Pursued by a Bear. Read more about it here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cairo's 'Radio Muezzin' Hits Berlin

Conceived by Swiss director, Stefan Kaegi, Radio Muezzin is a one-act docu-drama performed in Arabic with subtitles. The concept arose after a decision by Mahmoud Hamdi Zaqzouq, Egyptian minister of religious endowments in 2004. Zaqzouq announced that the noise disturbance caused by Cairo’s hundreds of muezzins leading the daily calls to prayer at different times and over fuzzy loudspeakers was becoming too much for citizens to bear. It was determined that the ministry would choose the 30 best muezzins to broadcast the call over a radio channel. Read the full article from the NYTimes here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Das Kapital: The Musical

Just when you thought Broadway couldn't be beat for bad taste, the Chinese show up the Americans once again. The Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre intends to premiere Das Kapital: The Musical next year. The director, He Nian (best known for his martial-arts stage spoofs) promises to combine Broadway musicals and Las Vegas spectacle with his sing-song, dance marathon adaptation. Zhang Jun, an economics professor at Shanghai's Fudan University, has been enlisted to make sure the production is intellectually rigorous. Read more here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gov't Promises Abbey Theatre Will Be Completed

In honor of St. Patty's Day, here's a little news about the new Abbey Theatre project. Martin Cullen, the Irish arts minister, promised that, despite the terrible economy, completion of the new Abbey Theatre is a top government priority. The project, which received the official go-ahead back in 2006, has yet to be launched. Cullen was challenged in parliament last week about its lack of progress, and he promised plans would move ahead. Read more here.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lincoln Center Festival International Line-Up

Lincoln Center Festival: Theatre
July 7 to 26, 2009

“Les Éphémères”; Le Théâtre du Soleil (Ariane Mnouchkine) - France
“Boris Godunov”; Chekhov International Theater Festival (Declan Donnellan) - USA
“Villeggiatura”; Piccolo Teatro di Milano and Teatri Uniti - Italy
“Life and Fate”; Maly Drama Theater - Russia
“Kalkwerk”; Narodowy Stary Teatr - Poland
“Ivanov”; Katona Jozsef Theater - Hungary
“Peasant Opera”; Bela Pinter and Company - Hungary

Friday, March 13, 2009

UK's 33rd Olivier Award Winners

Best Actress: Margaret Tyzack for The Chalk Garden (Donmar Warehouse)
Best Actor: Derek Jacobi for Twelfth Night (Donmar at Wyndham's)
Best Performance in a Supporting Role: Patrick Stewart for Hamlet (RSC at the Novello)
Best Company Performance: The Histories, directed by Michael Boyd (RSC at the Roundhouse
Best New Play: Black Watch by Gregory Burke (Barbican Theatre)
Best New Comedy: God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton (Gielgud)
Best Revival: The Histories, directed by Michael Boyd (RSC at the Roundhouse)
Best Entertainment: La Clique (Hippodrome)
Best New Musical: Jersey Boys --The Story Of Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons, book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice, music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe (Prince Edward)
Best Musical Revival: La Cage Aux Folles, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, book by Harvey Fierstein, based on the play La Cage Aux Folles by Jean Poiret (Playhouse Theatre)
Best Actress in a Musical: Elena Roger for Piaf (Donmar Warehouse, then Vaudeville)
Best Actor in a Musical: Douglas Hodge for La Cage Aux Folles (Playhouse)
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical: Lesli Margherita for Zorro (Garrick)
Best Director: John Tiffany for Black Watch (Barbican Theatre)
Best Theatre Choreographer: Steven Hoggett for Black Watch (Barbican Theatre)
Best Lighting Design: The Chalk Garden designed by Paule Constable (Donmar Warehouse)
Best Set Design: August: Osage County designed by Todd Rosenthal (National's Lyttelton)
Best Costume Design: The Histories designed by Tom Piper and Emma Williams (RSC at Roundhouse)
Best Sound Design: Black Watch designed by Gareth Fry (Barbican Theatre)
Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre: The Royal Court Theatre's production of The Pride (Jerwood Theatre Upstairs)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Amsterdam Fringe Festival Submissions

From September 3-13 the fourth edition of the Amesterdam Fringe Festival will again raise the rooftops in Amsterdam. An adventurous mix of theatrical anarchy and creative explosions, where events will be held in clubs and theaters, as well as on the streets and in living rooms. The application for the Amsterdam Fringe can be found here. Criteria for applications for the Fringe 2009 can be found on the website.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Canada's Stratford Festival Posts 2.6m Deficit

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival is appealing to government for financial support to help it through the recession. The Stratford, Ont., festival revealed that it had suffered a $2.6-million deficit in 2008 despite a program featuring Christopher Plummer in George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra. The loss last year was the company’s first since a three-year streak from 1991 to ’93. Attendance dropped by 4% to 534,000 in 2008. Though sales to Canadians were up by 2%, many Americans skipped Stratford, tipping the company into the red and forcing it to reach into its $5.6-million stability fund, which was set up for weathering recessions. Though some will remember a Stratford season that included Caesar and Cleopatra, a Hughie / Krapp’s Last Tape double bill and The Music Man, others will recall the collapse of a triumvirate of co-artistic directors last March. Marti Maraden and Don Shipley resigned before the season had even started, leaving Des McAnuff standing alone.

Monday, March 9, 2009

20 Most Powerful Women in British Theatre

According to a list compiled by Harper's Bazaar and the jeweller Tiffany & Co. (because apparently they would know), the following is a list of the 20 most powerful women in British theatre.

:: The New Voice – Bola Agbaje – playwright (27)
:: The Honorary Brit – Gillian Anderson – actor (40)
:: The Visionary – Miriam Buether – set and costume designer (39)
:: The Radical – Caryl Churchill – playwright (70)
:: The Illuminator – Paule Constable – lighting designer (42)
:: The Queen Bee – Dame Judi Dench – actor (74)
:: The New Leading Lady – Michelle Dockery – actor (27)
:: The Mover – Maxine Doyle – choreographer and associate director, Punchdrunk (38)
:: The Super-Producer – Sonia Friedman – producer (43)
:: The Powerhouse – Sally Greene – impresario and producer (52)
:: The Transformer – Kathryn Hunter – actor and director (52)
:: The Casting Vote – Lisa Makin – casting agent and producer (43)
:: The Eternal Siren – Dame Helen Mirren – actor (63)
:: The Innovator – Katie Mitchell – director (44)
:: The Beauty-And-Brains – Rosamund Pike – actor (30)
:: The Breath Of Fresh Air – Emma Rice – artistic director, Kneehigh Theatre (41)
:: The Double Threat – Fiona Shaw – actor and director (50)
:: The Wunderkind – Polly Stenham – playwright (22)
:: The Songbird – Summer Strallen – musical theatre actor (24)
:: The Star Turn – Rachel Weisz – actor (38)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Twelve Angry Lebanese

A new interpretation of the American classic of '12 Angry Men' has been staged in the Roumieh Maximum Security Prison in Lebanon.  Directed by Zeina Daccache, the production featured 45 inmates of the prison and their audience were the very representatives of the government that accused them.  These spectators sat and listened while the actors questioned the very system that put them behind bars.   Read our own Eyad Houssami's report on the production here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Babylon & Beyond: Spotlight-Egypt

Read this great article on the LATimes blog about the new play Coffee, No Sugar that is raising eyebrows in Egypt for it criticism of the current culture.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

US Artists Call for Change in Policy towards Cuba

A call has been made to the Obama administration by a network of US artists and presenters to renew cultural ties with Cuba. In a March 3rd letter, signed by over 1100 Americans in the arts including Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, Harry Belafonte, Bonnie Raitt and Danny Glover, the US-Cuba Cultural Exchange called for Cuban artists to be permitted entry into the United States and for the elimination of restrictions that prevent Americans from traveling to Cuba. The call comes as the Administration reviews Cuba policy and Congress prepares to consider legislation that could eliminate restrictions on travel to Cuba. Organizers say that the campaign will remain in effect until changes are implemented to allow for the free flow of expression between the United States and Cuba. The letter may be viewed online here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

La MaMa's International Symposium for Directors

Session 1: June 28 - July 12, 2009
Session 2: July 14 - July 28, 2009
La MaMa Umbria International, Spoleto, Italy

The International Symposium for Directors, sponsored by La MaMa Umbria is a training program for professional directors, choreographers and actors. Internationally renowned theatre artists conduct workshops and lecture/demonstrations. During the Symposium, participants will travel to Umbrian towns such as Orvieto, Perugia or Assisi to get a taste of Umbrian art and culture. Performances at local arts festivals and community fairs are also included. In addition, participating directors may conduct their own workshops to share insights and techniques with their colleagues.

Participants will be exposed to a variety of theatrical perspectives during the Symposium, from instructors who will expand their sense of what is possible in the theatre. Directors attending the Symposium see how prominent artists on the international scene create their unique productions. The workshops are participatory, and it is expected that all attendees will engage actively in the processes of the various teaching artists.

Each year La MaMa invites renowned theatre artists to participate as teaching artists during the Symposium. This summer, we host the following artists:

Session 1:
Liz Diamond (USA)“The Word and the Actor”

Kama Ginkas (Russia)“Exploring Chekhov”
Takeshi Kawamura (Japan)“Between the Word and the Body”
Meredith Monk (USA)“Landscapes of Sound and Movement”

Session 2:
Daniel Banks (USA)“We the Griot – Performance in the Age of Hip Hop”

Romeo Castellucci (Italy)“The Eye and the Gaze”
Leigh Fondakowski (USA)“Moment Work”
Dimitris Papaioannou (Greece)“Spectacle and Emotion”

All artists are subject to change. For more information and registration form, visit: www.lamama.orgor call (212) 254-7572.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Protesters Storm London's National

A group of protesters interrupted a talk back by playwright Richard Bean over objections to his new play, England People Very Nice. Two men with placards, claiming the play was racist, picketed the stage for 10 minutes before being removed by security. It is the first on stage protest in the theatre's history. Hussain Ismail, a playwright himself, led the protest on Friday claiming the play was offensive to various ethnic groups. Nicholas Hytner, the theatre's artistic director, claims the comedy "lampoons all forms of stereotyping". Read more about it here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mexico: IV Performing Arts Encounter

Mexico: IV Performing Arts Encounter will take place in Mexico City, March 11th to March 15th 2009. During this encounter, there will be 52 showcases, talks and conferences, and there will be meeting points between artists and presenters. Mexico: IV Performing Arts Encounter will reunite artists and Mexican groups of dancing, theatre, music and interdisciplinary works, as well as promoters, presenters, producers and festival directors from all around the world. Its main goal is to create a guide to the Mexican contemporary scenery, to bring together the professionals and the performing artists, to allow the exchange of ideas and to promote the performing arts on a global level, through strategies based on tours, circuits, residences and common projects."