Weekly podcasts and personal ponder-wonders for our theatre-lovers and curious thinkers.
Kate Farrington, Director of Dramaturgy
Mikey Craighead, Dramaturgy Intern
They Have Their Exits and Their Entrances
20 MAR 2017
There’s a moment in Vanity Fair where one of the characters, Jos Sedley, takes a bite of a muffin. Becky then asks him a question. And the script gives the following stage direction: “Jos Versus the Muffin.” Cracks me up every time.
A good stage direction is worth its weight in gold.
Throwback Thursday Theatre
13 MAR 2017
Sometimes, it’s fun to look at the road not taken.
Theatre is constantly in flux—generation to generation, artists sift through the innumerable ways they could tell their stories, and pick the way that seems most effective. Then they present their choice to an audience and . . . see what sticks. Have they told their story in a way the audience likes? Have they captured something specific about their cultural moment?
My Theatrical Salute to Lent
6 MAR 2017
I haven’t seen Everybody at Signature Theatre yet, but I REALLY want to. Because of Ninja Jesus.
To be clear, as far as I know there are no ninjas, divine or otherwise, in Everybody, Branden Jacob-Jenkins’ adaption of the medieval morality play, Everyman.
No, Ninja Jesus is my favorite medieval fresco. Its actual name is Christ in Limbo, by Fra Angelico, whose work I love based almost entirely on the multi-colored wings of his angels—those are some ostentatious seraphim!
Code Cracking Plays
27 FEB 2017
I used to really resent Eugene O’Neill. Whether it was an English course foisting Desire Under the Elms on me, or an acting class insisting I slog through a scene from Mourning Becomes Electra, every time O’Neill’s name appeared on a syllabus, I would groan.
20 FEB 2017
Anyone out there still making Living Newspaper? Or, remember Living Newspaper? Or even heard of it? Well, if you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry: you’re not alone. It is, after all, a theatrical form which thrived for decades in Russia but that the US government, drove to extinction in less than five years.
A Bumpy Start
13 FEB 2017
Did you know that professional theatre was essentially banned during the Revolution? The Continental Congress put out the following statement in 1774:
“We will, in our several stations, promote economy, frugality and industry, and promote agriculture, arts and the manufactures of this country . . . and we will discountenance and discourage every species of extravagance and dissipation, especially all horse-racing, all kinds of gaming, cock-fighting, exhibitions of shows, plays and other expensive diversions and entertainments.”
Let It Go
6 FEB 2017
U.S. copyright law is dumb.
I’m sorry—that was reductive. U.S. copyright law is a labyrinthine muddle resulting from some pretty impressive corporate and dynastic maneuvering.
27 JAN 2017
Any time the cultural world fixates on a particular historical period (not just as escapism, but really spends some significant time there) I wonder what “metaphor” the past is offering to so mesmerize the present.
One Out of Three Ain’t Bad
23 JAN 2017
In the world of contemporary performance, how many of the plays of Euripides, Sophocles, and Aeschylus actually work as standalone theatrical texts?
This question is particularly complicated because, in a sense, no Greek play was intended to be a standalone.