Welcome to Colin Thomas’s Fresh Sheet, my daisy-fresh, mountain-fresh, freshly inked collaboration with Theatre Wire. (For those of you who don’t know me, I was the lead theatre critic at the Georgia Straight for 30 years.)
Every week in Fresh Sheet I’ll offer a curated sampling of the best local, national, and international theatre coverage, and I’ll tip you off about the Vancouver shows you have to see.
Feeling triggered? Suck it up.
In “Shakespeare’s Cure for Xenophobia,” Harvard literature prof Stephen Greenblatt places his experiences of anti-Semitism in the context of his love for our shared literary heritage—including The Merchant of Venice.
Greenblatt writes: “In recent years some of my students have seemed acutely anxious when they are asked to confront the crueller strains of our cultural legacy. In my own life, that reflex would have meant closing many of the books I found most fascinating, or succumbing to the general melancholy of my parents.”
What does your drama teacher want to tell you—really, really want to tell you? Rubén Polendo, who is the chair of Under-Graduate Drama at Tisch (New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts), delivers the disch. Dish.
Theatre is about imagining ourselves into the skins of other people. It’s about compassion, right? So why does theatre exclude so many isolated citizens?
Some folks have autism, Tourette’s, or dementia, conditions that could make some of their behaviours distracting to other patrons—but we don’t have to shut them out.
The Stratford Festival is one of the companies that have introduced “relaxed performances.” Those designated showings include accommodations for people who are susceptible to sensory overload, so they incorporate strategies like leaving the houselights on and muting gunshots.
And the Royal Shakespeare Company is exploring “chilled performances,” in which the productions stay the same—so the houselights go out and the guns fire at full volume—but there’s no attempt to discourage noise or movement in the audience.
Money is no excuse. For companies that want to learn about how to open their doors—Wider! Wider!—here are some tips on marketing.
This happened ten days ago, but it’s never too late for zombies.
At the G20 summit in Hamburg, the members of the 1000 Gestalten Collective made a jaw-dropping public statement. Caked in grey clay, moving in silence on the subways and though the streets, they converged in the city’s central square—where they transformed.
If you’ve ever felt helpless in the face of cronyism and climate change—or if you’re fond of your cellphone—you can probably relate to the undead. If you’re in need of transformation, watch this video and weep.
So far, my top show of this summer is Mary Poppins at Theatre Under the Stars. I’ve seen this musical produced professionally—a lot—but none of those mountings matched the joy and invention of this semi-professional extravaganza. Here’s my tear-splattered review.
While you’re here—as they say on websites when they’re soliciting your support—while you’re here…
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