The Last Supper by Ahmed El Attar

Arab Stage, Volume 4
December, 2016

Published in Arab Stage, Volume 4 Despite the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and the coming to power of Abdel Fattah al-Sissi in 1914, the life style of the Cairo elite has not significantly changed, a situation that forms the basis of The Last Supper, by Egyptian director Ahmed El Attar and his organization, the Temple […]

The 2016 Berlin Theatertreffen: Is Half a Festival Better Than None?

European Stage, Volume 8
September, 2016

Published in European Stage, Volume 8 Now in its twenty-second year, the Berlin Theatertreffen, presenting ten outstanding productions from Germany, Austria, and German-speaking Switzerland, has become one of the major European theatre festivals, but with success has come some problems. Audiences have steadily grown, and although they can still be accommodated in the touring productions […]

Tangier International Conference for 2016: The Narrative Turn in Contemporary Theatre

Arab Stage, Volume 5
September, 2016

Published in Arab Stage, Volume 5 The 12th annual international conference organized in Tangier by the International Centre for Performance Studies (ICPS) and its partners was held this year September 15 through 19.  This year’s theme was “The Narrative Turn in Contemporary Theatre,” a theme which not only recalled the growing interest in the Western theatre in […]

World Premiere of Arabic Drama at Cornell

Arab Stage, Volume 5
September, 2016

Published in Arab Stage, Volume 5 The Cornell University Department of Performing and Media Arts presented on September 23 and 24 of 2016 the world premiere of a new drama, Desert of Light, by Palestinian-Syrian playwright Rama Haydar. The playwright was born and raised in Damascus, but her family, all Syrian-born, were of Palestinian origin […]

Some Quadricentennial Shakespeare in Germany

European Stage, Volume 7
September, 2016

Given the very large number of active theatres in Germany, their extensive repertoire, and their strong interest in the classic Western theatre in general and Shakespeare in particular, it is doubtless safe to say that nowhere on earth is offering more Shakespearian productions during this Quadricentennial year. Of course it is also the case that […]

Tayeb Saddiki and the Re-invention of Tradition in Contemporary Moroccan Theatre: An Obituary

Arab Stage, Volume 2
March, 2016

Published in Arab Stage, Volume 2 Tayeb Saddiki (1938- 2016) was a theatre director, actor, and playwright from Essaouira, a coastal city in southwest Morocco. In the course of his career as Morocco’s most respected theatre figure since independence, Saddiki has not only dominated the Moroccan stage, he has in fact reconciled Morocco’s traditional acting styles with […]

Report from Poznan

European Stage, Volume 2
March, 2016

Published in European Stage, Volume 2 In Poznan for a week in early October of 2013, I saw four productions that together give a sampling of the offerings in this theatrically active city. On my first night I attended the Teatr Polski, which was presenting Piszczyk, a highly popular new play (it premiered in May) by […]

An 1868 Egyptian Helen of Troy play published

Arab Stages, Volume 2
November, 2015

Published in Arab Stages, Volume 2 The current (October 10 issue of Al-Hayat announces that the first theatrical text translated and published in Arabic in Egypt, Beautiful Helen (1868), by Sheikh Tahtawi (1801-1873) has been discovered by Syed Ali Ismail, a professor of theater criticism in Helwan University. Published by the Egyptian General Book Authority, the Tahtawi […]

The 2015 Theatertreffen

European Stage, Volume 5
September, 2015

Published in European Stage, Volume 5 The international popularity of the annual Berlin Theatre festival, the Theatertreffen, continues to grow, and so does the demand for the limited number of seats, especially when productions are presented in a small venue, or, in the case of Castorf’s Baal this year, for a single performance. In these […]

A Mad World My Masters at the Barbican

European Stage, Volume 4
April, 2015

Published in European Stage, Volume 4 The British theatre has always derived enormous, even savage pleasure from depicting the antics of its social misfits, eccentrics, and manipulators. Two recent productions, one Jacobean and the other contemporary, illustrate this beautifully. From the seventeenth century, the Royal Shakespeare has brilliantly revived a rarely performed comic masterpiece, Thomas Middleton’s […]

The Arab Aristophanes

Arab Stages, Volume 1
September, 2014

Published in Arab Stages, Volume 1 The thirteenth-century Egyptian playwright Ibn Daniyal is slowly coming to Western attention as one of the most important dramatists of the middle ages.  The fact that he wrote for the puppet theatre, a form often thought of as artistically inferior by both Arab and Western scholars, and the fact […]

The 2014 Berlin Theatertreffen

European Stage, Volume 2
March, 2014

Published in European Stage, Volume 2 Particular homage was given in this year’s Berlin theatre festival to the work of the leading director Dimiter Gotscheff, who died this spring. His final production, and among his most impressive, of Heiner Müller’s Zement, created for the Residenztheater in Munich, headed off this year’s festival, which actually opened with […]

Mnouchkine’s Macbeth at the Cartoucherie

European Stage, Volume 4
March, 2014

Published in European Stage, Volume 4 The opening of any new production by Ariane Mnouchkine at her Théâtre de Soleil in Paris is an event of considerable significance in the European theatre, but her staging of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which opened in May of 2014, came with particular anticipation. It marked the 50th anniversary of this remarkable […]

The 2013 Theatertreffen

European Stage, Volume 1
September, 2013

Published in European Stage, Volume 1 2013 was a very special year for the Berlin Theatertreffen, the annual festival presenting the outstanding works from the previous year presented in the German-speaking world. In 2013 this festival, one of the outstanding annual theatre events in Europe, celebrated its fiftieth year. Its success has been such that virtually […]

Report from Brno

European Stage, Volume 2
June, 2013

Published in European Stage, Volume 2 Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic, has been quite overshadowed culturally by Prague, but it nevertheless has a rich cultural life of its own and a thriving varied theatre scene, which I had the pleasure of exploring on a visit there in mid-May of 2014. The city’s […]

Spring in Berlin

Western European Stages
April, 2008

For Berlin theatre-goers, the month of May is dominated by the annual Theatertreffen, but there are always a number of attractive other offerings for those who wish to fill in nights between the festival offerings.  Some of these in fact are Berlin productions that were nominated for the festival but did not make the final […]

THE GOSPELS OF CHILDHOOD AT BRZEZINKA

Slavic and East European Performace,Vol.27
November, 2007

Published in Slavic and East European Performace,Vol.27 Winter,2007 In November of 1971, Jerzy Grotowski’s Laboratory Theatre purchased an isolated farm deep in the forest near the village of Brzezinka, forty-six kilometers from its home base in Wrodaw. Working spaces and modest accomodation were created  there, but  Grotowski chose  to  keep it in an remote place, […]

The 2007 Theatertreffen

Western European Stages
August, 2007

Long-time patrons of the annual Berlin theatre festival, the spring Theatertreffen, had a surprise at this year’s opening in the Festspielhaus. For the first time, a performance was presented there with supertitles in English. This innovation clearly marks the increasing internationalization of the Theatertreffen audience, but it also had a particular usefulness on this occasion […]

Zeffirelli Directs Pagliacci at the Acropolis

Western European Stages
December, 2006

The Theatre of Dionysus, at the foot of the Athenian Acropolis, the found site for European theatre, rarely sees any sort of public performance today aside from a rare celebratory event.  The Roman Odeon of Herod Atticus, also at the base of the Acropolis but further west has, on the other hand, been restored and […]

Old Wine in New Bottles: The UN Inspector and The Philanthropist in London

Western European Stages
December, 2006

Two innovative adaptations of major classic plays were among the most popular offerings of the fall season in London—David Farr’s The UN Inspector, based on Gogol’s The Inspector General at the National and Christopher Hampton’s The Philanthropist, created in 1969 as a kind of comic counter-play to Molière’s Misanthrope, in a major revival at the […]

The 2006 Berlin Theatertreffen

Western European Stages
September, 2006

Macbeth This year’s Theatertreffen in Berlin, a gathering of the outstanding productions of the previous season from throughout German-speaking Europe, opened with a stunning production of Macbeth.  This interpretation has aroused considerable controversy in the German press, but I found it more powerful and original than any previous production of this challenging play I have […]

The 2005 Theatertreffen

Western European Stages
September, 2005

The most prestigious theatre festival of the German-speaking world, the Berlin Theatertreffen, took place as usual in early May of this year and offered nine productions selected as the best of the preceeding year by a distinguished jury of critics and reviewers.  A tenth selected production, Andrea Breth’s staging of Schiller’s Don Carlos from the […]

Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! At Sadler’s Wells

Western European Stages
December, 2004

The ravishing music and Christmas setting of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker have made it a theatrical staple of the holiday season, and it is hardly surprising that Londoners in 2003 could choose among three different major productions of this familiar classic.  By far the most imaginative and unconventional of these was the version Nutcracker! by Matthew […]

Three December Productions in Berlin

Western European Stages
December, 2004

In Berlin for a brief visit in mid-December of 2003, I enjoyed a sampiing of the fare currently offered at three of the city’s major theatres.  I began, as I usually do, with the Volksbühne, which under the direction of Frank Castorf has become the city’s trendiest and most honored theatre, its productions regularly cited […]

MAYAKOVSKY’S MYSTERY-BOUFFE

Slavic and East European Performance
September, 2004

Published in Slavic and East European Performance, Vol.24 Fall,20o4 Mayakovsky’s first play after 1917, a celebration of the Russian Revolution in the peculiar form of a farce mystery play, puzzled its original audiences and presents such enormous challenges in staging that it is rarely revived. Perhaps only a theatre like the Volksbiihne, which combines major […]

Report from Rome

Western European Stages
December, 2002

Visiting Rome in January does not encour­ age the sort of open-air life for which the city is famous, since the days, though mostly bright and sunny, can be distinctly on the cool side, and having an afternoon meal at one of the innumerable outdoor restaurants can still be quite pleasant, one definitely needs to […]

Italy

Western European Stages
December, 2001

The theatre reorganization bill of the late 1990s created by Italy’s Minster for Arts, Culture, and Environment, Walter Veltroni, is still not fully in operation, but it provides the foundations for a more clearly organized national theatre with a sim­ pler and hopefully more efficient system of ad­ ministration, clearer relationships between na­ tional, regional, […]

Needcompany’s King Lear

Western European Stages
September, 2001

Jan Lauwers’ Needcompany in Brussels has produced a number of experimental Shakes­ pearian productions, most recently its King Lear, co-produced with the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. The two hour and fifteen minute per­ formance (with no intermission) naturally cuts a great deal of Shakespeare’s text, but includes most of the play’s major actions. The production […]

A New Director and a New Play at London’s Royal National

Western European Stages
August, 2001

On 25 September 2001, I had a ticket to the Royal National’s production of the latest play by Mark Ravenhill, Mother Clap’s Molly House. The prospect of attending a major new work by one of England’s leading younger playwrights was exciting in itself, but the occasion took on special significance when I read in the […]

Hamlet Times Two in Paris

Western European Stages
March, 2001

During one week in mid-December of 2000, theatre goers in Paris were offered the un­ usual opportunity of attending on  successive nights, productions of Shakespeare’s  Hamlet  by two of the best known directors of the modem in­ ternational stage, both long associated with the presentation of Shakespeare- Peter  Brook  of France and Peter Zadek of […]

UNIDRAM 2000 AND TEATR CINEMA

Slavic and East European Performance
September, 2000

Published in  Slavic and East European Performance, vol. 20 Fall,2000 Most of the major European theatre festivals have connected with them some sort of Off or Fringe Festival, and that of the Berlin Theatertreffen should be of particular interest to readers of this journal, since it is devoted to German and Eastern European companies. The […]

Report from Athens

Western European Stages
September, 1999

Although the Greek  government  has  stead­ jJy promoted  regional  theatre  since  the  I 980’s,  the vast majority of tneatre .activity in this coun try con­ tinues to occur in Athe ns , which supports between ninety  and  one  hundred  theatres   of  ·varying   sizes and miientations. A typical season  will  offer  around 2@0 productions, about a […]

Western European Productions at the Cairo Festival

Western European Stages
September, 1999

One of the most attractive features of the Cairo International Festival of  Experimental  Thea­tre is the opportunity to see the work of young companies from many countries in the Arab world, the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe,  which tend to be not so well represented in most of the better-known European festivals .  Neverthe­less, […]

Report from Northern Italy

Western European Stages
December, 1998

Although Italy enjoys a rich and active theatrical life, with some sort of live theatre regularly available in even very small communities , especially in the North , the over-all organization of this theatre, like many Italian cultural and political matters, is astonishingly complex , even for Itali ans, and almost incomprehensible for outsiders. Nevertheless […]

Report from Milan

Western European Stages
December, 1998

Milan unquestionably dominates the theatre culture of northern Italy, a dominance which will be officially recognized if the current, though much resisted,  governmental  plan  goes  through   which will move away from the long followed pattern of state supported (stabile) theatres throughout the country to a more centralized system, focussed upon two theatres, the Piccolo of […]

THEATRE CRITICISM CONFERENCE IN PULA, CROATIA

Slavic and East European Performance, vol.18
September, 1998

Published in Slavic and East European Performance, vol.18 Fall,1998 On August 7 to 9, 1998, the Croatian Centre of ITI and the International Theatre Youth Festival of Pula collaborated in sponsoring a seminar on “Theatre Criticism Today,” inviting theatre critics from a number of countries to discuss the current state of theatre criticism internationally and […]

Interview with Stein Winge

Western European Stages
September, 1998

Stein Winge, former director of the Norwegian National Theatre, established the Ibsen Festival there ten years ago and has regularly returned to direct Ibsen and other works. He has directed opera and spoken drama at major theatres across Europe and in America. This interview took place during the 1998 Ibsen Festival, which featured two of […]

EIMUNTAS NEKROSIUS DIRECTS HAMLET

Slavic and East European Performance, Volum 18
May, 1998

Published in Slavic and East European Performance, Volum 18 Spring 1998 Eimuntas Nekrosius, from Lithuania, first gained international attention with his production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, which  after touring widely in Europe was presented also at the Joyce Theatre in New York as part of the 1986 New York International Festival of the Arts. During […]

Italy’s New Theatrical Legislation

Western European Stages
March, 1998

Italy has never possessed a national law concerning the theatre. Thjs is about to change according to the Italian Minister Walter Veltroni, who has placed before the Italian Parliament a bill containing thirty-nine articles which, if it is passed, will not only provide Italy with its first comprehensive national legislation concerning the theatre, but also […]

Report from Berlin

Western European Stages
April, 1997

The selections for the annual May theatre festival in Berlin were announced , as usual, in mid­ February (see the preceding article on last spring’s festival). No less than three productions were selected from a single theatre, now widely considered  Germany ‘ s leading stage, the Deutsches Schauspiel­ haus of Hamburg . These were Corneille’s […]

Two Peer Gynts in Paris

Western European Stages
April, 1997

As part of its annual Autumn Festival of 1996, Paris had the unusual opportunity to see two quite different productions of Ibsen’ s epic Peer Gynt, mounted by two leading  contemporary  directors,  one nat ive and one foreign. The foreign production, from Italy, was directed by Luca Ronconi.  It  premiered  at the Teatro Centrale in […]

Report From London

Western European Stages
March, 1996

As is often the case, a large number of the most interesting productions in this  fall’s  London season have been offered either  by  the  National Theatre or by the Royal Shakespeare.  One  of  the  most popular offerings at the National’s Olivier is the just-opened revival of Sondheim’s A Little  Night Music, with Judi Dench as […]

Doubled Myths by Mesguich

Western European Stages
March, 1996

The two major productions that Daniel Mesguich mounted this season  with  his  company  (La Metaphore) in Lille, France , were Haml et  and Moliere’s Don Juan , using the same cast, the  same basic setting , and performed during early June in rotating repe rtory. Aside from some scene work with his students at the […]

Karen Beier’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Chairs

Western European Stages
December, 1995

Gennany currently possesses a larger number of important young women directors than any other European country, and among them Karen Beier of Otisseldorf has with her productions of Shakespeare recently gained a significant international reputation . Beier was born in 1965 in Koln and studied English at the University there, becoming fascinated with Shakespeare, whom […]

SILVIU PURCARETE’S THE TEMPEST

Slavic and East European Performance
September, 1995

Published in Slavic and East European Performance, vol.15 Fall, 1995 During the past four years, Romanian Silviu Purcarete has emerged as one  of Europe’s leading directors. Born in Bucharest in 1950, Purcarete studied theatre directing at the Academy of Theatre and Film in  Bucharest, becoming Professor of Theatre Directing there in 1978. He developed his skills […]

The 1996 Dutch Theatre Festival

Western European Stages
May, 1995

This was an uncommonly unspectacular year in Dutch theatre. Whereas September ‘s Het Festival usually includes twelve of the year’s most important productions, this year there were only ten and  of those two were not revived for the ten day festival. The benefit to those of us who attended as international critics and festival planners […]

THEATRE SCHOLARS TOUR BALTIC COUNTRIES

Slavic and East European Performance, vol.14
April, 1994

Published in Slavic and East European Performance, vol.14 Spring,1994 The International Federation for Theatre Research met in August last year in Helsinki. Following the sessions of the Federation, Professor Pirkko Koski of the University of Helsinki, which hosted the meetings, organized a theatre tour of the Baltic states for Federation delegates wishing to add this […]

Report from Finland

Western European Stages
March, 1993

London’s International Mime Festival celebrated its fifteenth anniversay in January and February of 1993. Since its modest beginnings under Joseph Seelig at the Cockpit it has grown to a major showcase for experimental work, having hosted over two hundred companies and individ­ ual performers. Its nine 1993 venues offered twenty-five productions, most of them from […]

Bondy and Castorf Direct John Gabriel Borkman

Western European Stages
March, 1993

John Gabriel Borkman, Ibsen’s monumen­ tal late play, has not been among his more com­ monly performed works, and so the offering of major revivals of this piece by leading directors in both Paris and Berlin In the spring of 1993 pro­ vided an unusual opportunity to compare different Interpretations of it, especially since the […]

Peter Brook’s The Tempest

Published in Western European Stages
April, 1992

Published in Western European Stages, Spring 1992 One of the most eagerly awaited theatrical events in Fall, 1990 in Paris was Peter Brook’s major new work, The Tempest at the Bouffes du Nord. Although at one time reported to be fea­ tured at this summer’s Avignon Festival, it was in fact not offered to the […]

Ronconi’s Strana:e Interlude

Western European Stages
March, 1992

It Is the practice for certain selected pro­ ductions In the state subsidized theatres in Italy­ the teatri stabili–to tour among other theatres in the country after their Initial run in their home theatre. Thus Luca Ronconl’s production of Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude, created last year for the Teatro Stabile in Turin, has during the […]

REPORT FROM FRANCE

Western European Stages
April, 1991

Published in Western European Stages, Spring 1991 A number of major changes have taken place in the French theatre during the past two years, affecting most of the major theatrical institu­ tions of the nation. The upheavals at the new Opera-Bastille are probably the most familiar, having attracted international coverage. Koren Myug-When-Chung has finally been […]

KLAUS MICHAEL GRUBER’S DANTON’S DEATH IN PARIS

Western European Stages
April, 1991

Published in Western European Stages, Spring 1991 Among the major events of the 1989 Autumn Festival in Paris was the offering of two major productions by Klaus Michael Gruber, co­ founder, with Peter Stein, of the Ber1in Schaubuhne and one of the leading contemporary German directors. In striking illustration of the present French and German […]

Report from Vienna

Western European Stages
March, 1991

Of course, in speaking of Vienna this year one must begin with Mozart, whose world-wide celebrations are centered in this city. There will be scarcely a day in 1991 when some official Mozart performance is not taking place, and related exhib­ itions and other manifestations seem almost infinite. The theatrical center of this activity Is […]

The First International Ibsen Festival

Western European Stages
September, 1990

From 30 August to 15 September 1990 , the Norwegian National Theatre offered its first annual Ibsen Festival, a rich mixture of native and foreign prcx:luctions, of films, exhibitions, colloquia, and other special events honoring the nation’s most famous playwright. Artistically ambitious, and, for a financially troubled theatre, fiscally daring, the Festival proved to be […]

DANIEL MESGUICH’S TITUS ANDRONICUS

Western European Stages
September, 1990

A number of major changes have taken place in the French theatre during the past two years, affecting most of the major theatrical institu­ tions of the nation. The upheavals at the new Opera-Bastille are probably the most familiar, having attracted international coverage. Koren Myug-When-Chung has finally been selected as the new director, and after […]

REPORT FROM FRANCE

Western European Stages
September, 1989

A number of major changes have taken place in the French theatre during the past two years, affecting most of the major theatrical institu­ tions of the nation. The upheavals at the new Opera-Bastille are probably the most familiar, having attracted international coverage. Koren Myug-When-Chung has finally been selected as the new director, and after […]

REPORT FROM FRANCE

A number of major changes have taken place in the French theatre during the past two years, affecting most of the major theatrical institu­ tions of the nation. The upheavals at the new Opera-Bastille are probably the most familiar, having attracted international coverage. Koren Myug-When-Chung has finally been selected as the new director, and after […]

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