As I noted yesterday, crazy week. So for today’s Media Thursday, here are some recommendations for local SoCal/Ventura County theatrical entertainment…
OK, I had every intention going into the weekend to see Macbeth in Ojai–and then to review it as part of this week’s Media Thursday. Alas, the best-laid schemes of mice and men… Macbeth was only available for a matinee, and given I was kicking off my “Shakespeare for Actors” course (teaching, not taking) on Saturday, that made the Scottish play a virtual non-starter. But I was itching to catch some local theater, and so Saturday night, I ventured off to Camarillo Skyway Playhouse (where I had left just 7 hours earlier after the end of said Shakespeare class) to catch the opening weekend of Sylvia by A.R. Gurney.
OK, so I’m trying to get back into a weekly rhythm (yeah, good luck with that). And thus, it’s Thursday and I want to get back to some media discussion. Last Saturday, while I was on my PCA trip, I took in Macbeth at the Hanna Theater in Cleveland, Ohio…
OK, this is a rushed entry (will explain in a minute), but one that needs to be said:
If you are within driving distance of Los Angeles, you need to see Independent Shakespeare Company’s All’s Well That Ends Well, in their new Studio theater through April 22.
Yesterday was my 26th anniversary with my wife Lisa. And my wife, knowing me all too well, said we should see a show to celebrate, and so off we went to the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles to see…
Two nights ago, my wife Lisa and I caught Toil and Trouble Burlesque‘s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We had an absolute blast.
Now if you look up “burlesque,” you may find something like this: Continue reading Stage Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Toil and Trouble Burlesque
This week’s podcast delays the kick-off of our The Tempest discussion for something a little more fun: an interview with Angie Hobin, creative producer of Toil and Trouble Burlesque, which will be presenting a burlesque production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the coming weeks in Los Angeles.
[NOTE: what follows is a reprint of a theater review from four years ago for a production of The Tempest…perfect fodder for publication on a too-tired-Monday (look for a movie reivew and an interview podcast to come from yesterday‘s activities)…updates to that post will appear in brackets, bolded and red.]
Last Sunday [September 21, 2014], my wife Lisa and I had the pleasure of catching the South Coast Repertory production of The Tempest in Costa Mesa, CA. Now The Tempest holds a pretty special spot in my heart, as it was the first major Shakespeare I ever saw, a magical production with Anthony Hopkins as Prospero at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles back in 1978; I’ll talk about that show more when we get to that play at the end of this project [check out last week’s post!], but suffice to say it was a seminal moment in my love of Shakespeare.
The Tempest is a tough play to pull off. It deals with magic, and how to convey that on stage? It’s not easy. It often comes off as overly solemn or worse, cheesy. The earlier production began with a piece of stagecraft that set a magical tone (especially to this fifteen year-old) and then used that initial shock to carry the play. This [new] production takes a different tack, however. Prospero is a magician, so why not show magic? Real magic (if that’s not an oxymoron).
So, as we kick off The Tempest, it’s ‘memory lane’ time…
Excuse me while I wax nostalgic.
Yeah, yeah, I know… this is supposed to be a Shakespeare blog. And no, I’m not going to go deep-end and say Lin-Manuel Miranda is the new Shakespeare, as some are wont to do (let’s wait a decade or three and see what the complete body of work looks like, ok?). But I am going to say a few words about Hamilton, which I caught on Saturday with the family…
It’s August and a Friday, which means a new summer blockbuster is being released… but honestly in all the business of the week, I haven’t a clue as to what’s opening…but that doesn’t matter. I’m here to talk about what does: Independent Shakespeare Company’s production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, running through September 3 in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park…for FREE.
OK, this may be a short one (at least initially): it’s post midnight, so technically it’s now Wednesday, but I’m still in Tuesday’s wake-cycle. I’m going to try to get some stuff keyed in before: 1) I fall asleep; 2) I forget stuff.
Wow. What a day (so far–I write this Monday during a not-so-quiet respite at a wood-fired pizza place).
On the final night of our trip, we caught Julius Caesar in the indoor Bowmer Theater. Directed by Shana Cooper, this was a modern-dress production, with an incredible set designed by Sibyl Wickersheimer, a visual representation of decay: what looks to be unfinished staging (the sides of the stage floor exposed, the “stairs” made up of building materials that have been left behind or discarded), gray flats that are partially cracked, broken, falling apart (literally, as one chunk falls off midway through the first act).
Saturday afternoon, we caught Off the Rails, a world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The play, written by Randy Reinholz, and directed by Bill Rauch, OSF’s Artistic Director, is a reimagining of Measure for Measure set in the American Wild (mid)West of the 1880s, when Native American children were rounded up and moved from their families into government-funded boarding schools, in an effort to remove their heritage and make them “Americans.” The performance we saw, I believe, was the last preview performance before its opening on Sunday, July 30.