Category Archives: Movies

TIDEWATER STAGE’S DIAL M FOR MURDER: FABULOUS THEATER

“Smell-o-vision” “Illusion-o” “Percepto” “Sensurround” “3D” The history of film can be seen as an ongoing attempt to use technology to reproduce and distribute the power of live stage performance inexpensively to a wide audience. Before considering the work at Tidewater Stage, let’s look at the journey Frederick’s Knott’s tale took to get to Virginia Beach. […]

STUDIO THEATRE’S TRANSLATIONS: ANOTHER KIND OF PRODIGAL SON

Set in rural Ireland in 1833, Brian Friel’s’ Translations explores the troubles brought to a handful of characters following the return of a prodigal son.  Whereas the prodigal in Christ’s parable returned ashamed and broken, Friel’s prodigal returns home proud and puffed up. Maire, a local maiden, has long been betrothed to Manus, the oldest […]

NATIONAL THEATRE’S JULIUS CAESAR: THE JOHN WILKES BOOTH INTERPRETATION RETURNS

Julius Caesar opened Shakespeare’s new Globe Theatre in 1599. Having completed his history cycle, Shakespeare turned to a political drama set in the ancient past. History was fertile ground through which to make  political points about the issues of the day. Julius Caesar was to Rome as Elizabeth I was to England – an aging […]

National Theatre Live: The Expressionist Hamlet

Lyndsay Turner’s Hamlet, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is strikingly different from other recent Hamlets. Rory Kinnear ‘s Hamlet directed by Nicholas Hytner, Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 self-directed Hamlet, and Greg Doran’s 2009 David Tennant Hamlet all evidenced the influence of John Barton’s magisterial elucidation of how Shakespeare’s language needed to be played. Barton insisted on a detailed […]

LADY BIRD: A TREE GROWS IN SACRAMENTO

The story was called the “best of the year” by the New York Times The author was hailed as a “fresh, original, finished talent” who tells a story about a young girl’s “coming of age”, “growing up and the beginning of wisdom,” “no unsavory detail” is omitted in a tale that has “light and air […]

TIDEWATER STAGE’S THE 39 STEPS: A HILARIOUS HOMAGE

“Spoof’ was originally a late 19th century drinking game involving coins. By the late 1950s the term began to be used to describe a skit or “send-up” of a popular literary or cultural genre. By the late 1970s “spoof” had engendered a theatrical movement known as the “Theatre of the Ridiculous”, itself a send up […]

LYRIC OPERA’S MAGIC FLUTE: A Metatheatrical Spectacular

Reviewing an 1879 production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, the anonymous Chicago Tribune critic noted, “it would be absurd to try to explain the plot…. All sorts of explanations have been attempted but, if anyone ever really knew what it meant, he died before he said anything about it. It is a hodge-podge, nonsense, and […]

Chicago Opera and CITIZEN KANE

“Samuel Insull built the Civic Opera Building for his mistress, an opera singer.” “Samuel Insull built the Civic Opera Building for his mistress, Mary Garden, an opera singer.” These two similar tales are told daily by Chicago River tour guides. And these two tales are totally false. The only truth in the tales is that […]

The Raven Theatre’s A LOSS OF ROSES: The Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

The story of Chicago’s role in fostering the career of Tennessee Williams is well known. But Chicago’s role in the career of America’s other great playwright, William Inge, is not as familiar. In 1944 the young drama instructor, William Inge, met the would-be playwright Tennessee Williams in St. Louis where both men lived. Williams invited […]

Lyric Opera’s Bel Canto: The Music, The Music, The Music

“It has a tremendous variety of expression, of musical ideas. It has a virtuoso quality to it. It has very driven and barbaric moments about it, very lyrical moments, very sensual moments. It has chamber music in the midst of all this bombastic stuff. It’s incredibly exciting.” The words of Leonard Bernstein’s former pupil Yakov […]