Theatre

Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen Work Through a Lot of Issues on Conan

Portlandia writers and stars Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen have big plans for the future. During a memorable Conan appearance… Read More

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Where Did Disney’s ‘Into the Woods’ Go Wrong?

My first exposure to Into the Woods came as a high school theater student, shuttled in with my fellow drama nerds to the auditorium of a nearby university for a “preview” of their forthcoming production of Stephen Sondheim’s Brothers Grimm mash-up. The preview consisted, as such things often do, of half the show — the first act, with the assumption that you’ll be so hooked, you’ll return (and buy a ticket) for the second. But that proved rather a dicey proposition for Woods, whose first conclusion seemed, to us high schoolers, perfectly satisfactory. … Read More

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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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