Theatre

Tristan and Iseult Might Be the Most Perfect Modern Love Story/Psychiatric Drug Allegory

A Cornish legend popularized in various poems in the 12th century, Tristan (or Tristram) and Iseult (or Yseult, or Isolde) rivals the likes of Her and Eternal Sunshine in its modernity. Of course, no matter what iteration of Tristan and Iseult you’re talking about (and, as the many names indicate, there are many, each with varying outcomes), it’s unlikely you’ll see Tristan trying to figure out how to simulate sex with his iPhone — and perhaps for that reason, while other modern romances are timely without being timeless, Tristan and Iseult happens to be both. Unlike many great tragic romances, the forces working against Tristan and Iseult’s love aren’t strictly societal — they’re internal. Or, well… are they? That question is the crux of its genius. Yes, at the core of this great love story is the question of whether there’s actually a great love story at its core. For “love” is not here engendered through a transcendent, ineffable, insuppressible desire — it becomes that for the titular characters, but only after they’ve knowingly taken a love potion. … Read More

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45 Transgressive Spins on Shakespeare, Past and Present

After seeing The Public’s production of King Lear this summer, Ira Glass came to the incendiary conclusion that “Shakespeare sucks.” The comment riled many, for reasons that are largely obvious to anyone who understands the Bard’s place in the literary canon, but also because of the threat that such an influential public figure’s disapproval poses to an art form that’s already been noted to be “dying” at the slow pace of a stabbed Shakespearean character. Now, some would counter that theater’s adherence to the past is what’s dooming it in the first place, and that our reverence toward Shakespeare is the core of the problem. But Shakespeare has actually proven to be one of the most vital vessels for change in theater. Here are 45 productions that — through radical politics, outlandish visuals, and enormous Kevin Spacey heads, might change the way you (and Ira Glass) — view… Read More

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Why Mike Nichols Was So Much More Than ‘The Graduate’

If you Google Mike Nichols today, the headlines for the top entries in the news wedge are unsurprisingly similar. “Mike Nichols, Acclaimed Director of ‘The Graduate,’ Dies at 83,” goes the New York Times. “‘Graduate’ Director Mike Nichols Dead at 83,” reports CBS News. The Hollywood Reporter: “Mike Nichols, Director of ‘The Graduate,’ Dies at 83.” And AP (via Huffington Post) writes, “Mike Nichols, Oscar-Winning Director of ‘The Graduate,’ Dies at 83.” It is, I suppose, a testament to the influence and importance of that 47-year-old movie that it’s pegged as his primary achievement; scroll past the lede and you’ll probably read about Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and perhaps that he was married to Diane Sawyer. But a look at the entirety of Nichols’ five-plus decades in show business reveals much more than that; he was an innovative and brilliant artist whose influence was and is still felt across popular culture. … Read More

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Rooney Mara Signs on to ‘Blackbird’ Adaptation, Helmed by Acclaimed Theater Director Benedict Andrews

Variety reports that Benedict Andrews, who directed the highly buzzed Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert-starring production of The Maids, is… Read More

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A Young William Shakespeare Will Soon Have His Own TV Show on the CW

NCIS star Mark Harmon will partner up with the CW to produce Shakespeare’s Sisters (no seeming relation to Shakespeare’s… Read More

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The 10 Best Faithful Shakespeare Adaptations on Film

This week, Roman Polanski’s scorching 1971 adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth makes its Blu-ray debut (thanks, once again, to the fine folks at the Criterion Collection). It’s a terrific movie; and noteworthy as being a Shakespeare adaptation that is mostly done “straight” — i.e., basically as written, rather than relocated to outer space or a high school or the mob underworld or anything crazy like that. In fact, it seems more difficult to just do the play, without all the bells and whistles. Here are a few savvy filmmakers who’ve pulled it off. … Read More

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Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week

Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments. … Read More

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Forget Roman Polanski: ‘Venus in Fur’ Is About All Human Relationships

Here’s the paradox of masochism: in order to be dominated and treated cruelly and physically harmed in a way that satisfies their fantasies, the masochist must make certain demands of the person to whom they’re ostensibly submitting. Everything essential about Roman Polanski’s Venus in Fur (and the David Ives play Venus in Fur, of which the movie is an adaptation; and even Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novella, Venus in Furs, which provides the raw material for both works) is contained within this contradictory gesture. It’s a film that deconstructs the painstakingly defined power dynamics of BDSM, but instead of getting bogged down in the tedious minutiae of the subculture itself — or limiting itself to the coy commentary on Polanski’s own horrible sexual history that many critics have judged it to be — Venus in Fur expands endlessly outward, its two characters coming to represent just about every kind of human relationship, sexual or otherwise. … Read More

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