Welcome to Culturebot, a NYC-based website all about performing arts and culture locally, nationally and around the globe. Culturebot.org is a multidisciplinary, contemporary arts + culture blog, launched in December 2003. Based in NYC we cover contemporary cultural news, events and ideas from NYC and around the world. Culturebot was envisioned and created by founding editor Andy Horwitz. It was initially made possible from a grant to Performance Space 122 by the National Performance Network. [more inside]
The Royal Shakespeare Company presents Hamlet, starring David Tennant as Hamlet, Sir Patrick Stewart as Claudius and the Ghost, Oliver Ford Davies as Polonius, Mariah Gale as Ophelia, and Edward Bennet as Laertes. Directed by Gregory Doran. [more inside]
Theatre composer Jason Robert Brown (bio) tries to explain to a young fan why it’s wrong to download sheet music from the Internet for free. Via.
Tracy Wright, a wonderful gem of the Toronto theatre and film scene, has died.
Pour en finir avec le jugement de Dieu The completely insane and dying Antonin Artaud's last public performance, a radio show which wasn't broadcast for 30 years thereafter. English translation here.
Molly Lives! Last night in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Theatre Company premiered Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins. Kathleen Turner has taken on the role of the brassy Ivins. Turner knew Ivins personally and said "I liked Molly so much, and I liked the idea of keeping her alive, and being able to honor her." The script was written by twin sisters Alison and Margaret Engel, and based on Ivins' own words and writing.
The American Theatre Wing hosts MP3 interviews with actors, directors, playwrights and other artists. e.g. Stephen Sondheim and Anna Deavere Smith and F. Murray Abraham and Eric Bogosian and John Patrick Shanley and Edward Albee and Venessa Redgrave and Alan Ayckbourn and...
The Ancient Theatre Archive: A Virtual Reality Tour of Greek and Roman Theatre Architecture offers photos, panoramas, detailed descriptions, and, in several instances, virtual tours of classical theatre sites across Europe. (Tours require Quicktime to view.) The Met offers a basic overview of the differences between Greek and Roman theatrical architecture. For more theatres and related theatrical imagery, visit John Porter's one-stop catalog of online visual resources, Skenotheke.
Last spring Young Jean Lee, an American playwright and director, spoke plainly on the state of American theatre to the Nation. She described it as "our most backward art form."
Oy coom too berry Sayzurr, nut too preyze im. That's a reconstruction of how Brutus's famous speech from "Julius Caesar" may have sounded to Shakespeare's original audience. (Scroll down in the linked page for the rest of the speech -- or look inside this post.) If you'd like to learn more about Original Pronunciation (OP), check out www.pronouncingshakespeare.com, where you'll find several recordings by David Crystal, the scholar who probably knows most about the subject. You can also listen to this example or this NPR broadcast, first linked to in this 2005 post, here. Ben Crystal, David's son, tries some OP here. [more inside]
In the vein of Gwen Verdon's "Walk It Out", please consider the heat of Ann Miller's "Womanizer". [more inside]
The papers of Edward Alleyn, the Elizabethan actor-manager, are now available online in a digital edition. Most of what we know about the London theatre in the age of Shakespeare comes from this archive; highlights include the only surviving example of a 'part' or script written out for an actor in an Elizabethan play (image) and the contract for building the Fortune playhouse in 1600, just a year after the building of the Globe. Sadly, the archive doesn't include any manuscripts relating to Shakespeare, because Alleyn worked for the Admiral's Men, one of the two main theatre companies in London, whereas Shakespeare worked for the competition (the Lord Chamberlain's Men), though that didn't stop the nineteenth-century forger John Payne Collier from faking a few documents of his own to fill the gap.
Don't! Mess! With! A! Snap! Diva! A clip from the 1989 documentary Tongues Untied which is about black gay identity. (via)
Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high, There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby. The MGM musical version of L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz turned 70 this week. It wasn't the first time it was a movie, nor the last time it was a movie or a movie musical. [more inside]
Charlie Chaplin [previously, except the primary link from blogspot is down] has a grandson, James Thiérrée. Growing up in his parents circus Le Cirque Imaginaire (later, Invisible), the acrobat evolved into performer/director/choreographer of soon to be four full-length works. (Full disclosure: the first three are all from La Veillée des Abysses--Bright Abyss--and the latter is a preview for his upcoming solo act Raoul.) He's also made forays in movies you've probably seen. More? Check out this Au revoir Parapluie (Farewell Umbrella) medley, and how about some trapeze? [more inside]
Adam Curtis's It Felt Like A Kiss. The whole of the experimental film (from the author of The Power of Nightmares and The Trap) which accompanied his recent show at the Manchester Festival. "When a nation is powerful it tells confident stories about the future."
Drop the acid just before the bus leaves the station: In this January 14, 1967 broadsheet, probably distributed along the Haight on telephone polls, walls, and in windows, ComCo passes on some learned tips on good Bay Area headventure trips. ( Via digaman's twitter )
"Its the story of our own village" ~ A journey in Indian street theatre (PDF of article) share's author Joel Lee's experiences wandering around India with three street theatre troupes. Also called the "theater of social change" this grassroots artform has become a powerful means of communication across the barriers of language, literacy and culture in both rural and urban India. [more inside]
The Royal Shakespeare Company presents King Lear, starring Ian McKellen, directed by Trevor Nunn, adapted for broadcast and available in its entirety online. [more inside]
Every movie has a few scenes in there somewhere that aren't crucial to the plot. Every movie has a few minutes you can miss and not be lost when you sit back down. Now you can go see a movie and get that extra large soda without worrying about missing anything important. No more guessing when to run and pee!
a semi-staged production of Shakespere's A Midsummer Night's Dream with Mendelsohn's incidental music
Last night, BBC Radio 3 broadcast a semi-staged production of Shakespere's A Midsummer Night's Dream with Mendelsohn's incidental music. Now they've put a video of the performance up on their website. [more inside]
If an artistic director has quantified the dream of theatre on a spreadsheet, they are dead already.
Monologuist Mike Daisey has a beef with the way theater is made in the United States: . He's made that beef the substance of one of his monologues, How Theater Failed America. Now, Todd Olson, Producing Artistic Director (scroll down for bio) at the American Stage Theatre Company in St. Petersburg, Florida, has beef with Daisey, too. Olson says: balance my budget, wretched actor miscreant; Daisey says: bring it. [more inside]
The recession has hit the theatre world (and the arts scene in general) very hard - but some argue that theatre practitioners aren't doing themselves any favours when seeking funding. The main question insufficiently addressed is "who is the funding for?" - hint: it's not about you. Approaching theatre as a product isn't working, not when MFA acting programs don't often allow its graduates to earn enough to earn back their debt. So now the question is: how can the economics of theatre be changed?
Twelve Angry Lebanese - inmates from Lebanon's infamous Roumieh Prison are putting on an adaptation of Twelve Angry Men - to stunning reviews. [more inside]
Theatre of the New Ear. Two radio plays: one by Charlie Kaufman, the other by the Coen Brothers, recorded live and starring Steve Buscemi, John Goodman, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep. [more inside]
The Tale of the Heike (Heike Monogatari) is a medieval Japanese account of the rise and fall of the Taira clan and has inspired many other works of art. Click on the chapters and scroll down to see Heike illustrations (or start here), see more art or figures inspired by the Heike. Would you rather read? [more inside]
The Things He Carried. "Airport security in America is a sham—'security theater' designed to make travelers feel better and catch stupid terrorists. Smart ones can get through security with fake boarding passes and all manner of prohibited items—as our correspondent did with ease."
Paul Sills, son of Viola Spolin and one of the fathers of Chicago style improv comedy through his work with The Compass Players (who sort of morphed into Second City) and through his Story Theatre work has passed away at age 80. Chicago has lost two of its legends in one day.
When Brad and Amy got married, Amy's "Man of Honor" got up to give his toast -- a musical toast. Other friends and family joined in, much to Amy's surprise, and the result, captured here on video, is pretty darned delightful.
Comedian Julie Klausner (of "Hot Jewish Girls want to talk to you!!") has obsessions. So do her friends. As you do, she hosts a comedy night in New York where people can confess and explain (sometimes via powerpoint) the things that drive their compulsions. [more inside]
OPAL Libri Antichi from the University of Turin offers over 3,000 books as free, open PDF files. Most of these date between AD 1500 and 1850 and most are in Italian, with many in French. They tend to be plain books with few illustrations. A few English titles are present, including David Hume's 1800 Essays on Suicide and the Immortality of the Soul; several texts by William Wycherley such as Love in a wood: or St. James's-Park (1735); and Richard Lassels 1686 work The voyage of Italy: or, a compleat journey through Italy with the characters of the peaple, and the description of the chief towns ... (volume 2) - an early travel guide. The PDFs are unsearchable plain scans. via this thread in the W4RF forum which contains hundreds of links to free online historical documents
The Case for the First Folio For centuries, editors of Shakespeare's plays have conflated different published editions (quartos and folios) in an attempt to create one true text as the writer intended. In this essay (.pdf file) Jonathan Bate, one of the editors of The RSC Shakespeare makes the case that in fact what they're doing is editing together different drafts of the play originated by the bard at different times in his life attempting to make better dramatic sense. Essentially that none of the texts you studied at school are what Shakespeare intended to be performed at all. [more inside]
Artslynx's theatre resources section is a goldmine of links to research and support sites for every aspect of theatrical production and dramaturgy. Especially useful are the Artslynx timelines. Need to know when cling wrap came into usage? Check out the prop timeline. Lots of additional links to outside timelines and history sites for anyone with a thirst for obscure sociological information, a love of craptacularly designed scrolling pages, and generally and too much time on their hands. For example: food, fashion, ephemera, and people who have died onstage [more inside]
Northeast Historic Film is the best of quirky Maine. They archive home movies, collect postcards of New England movie houses, and study depictions of New England in major films. Browsing the list of collections is tantalizing; if only some of these were available as clips or on YouTube. They're one of many archives preserving home movies. Also.
Theatre composer imitates teen heartthrob to plug his upcoming Broadway show. Features a cameo from one of Broadway's teen heartthrobs. [more inside]
Photographs of the dancers, actresses, cafe-life figures and prostitutes who were the subjects of Toulouse Lautrec's paintings, including such luminaries as Sarah Bernhardt, "La Goulue" (Louise Weber; remember this?), and Jane Avril, who was the model for this last, iconic, Lautrec poster. View pages of the art matched up with photos, here, here, and here, and go to this page to rummage around in even more collections that include photos of Lautrec, his friends and family, street and location scenes, and lots of other tidbits. [Spanish language site; NUDITY]
"Why (For) Pat Carroll wasn't actually Disney's first choice to voice Ursula in 'The Little Mermaid'? The casting story of one of Disney's most delightful demons.
A free audio podcast of The Globe Theatre’s 2007 version of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing has been posted online by the UK's Department for Education for use by teachers and pupils without easy access to a professional production but can be downloaded by everyone. Streaming and mp3 versions available. [via]
An ancient theatre filters out low-frequency background noise. The ancient Greek theatre of the Asklepieion of Epidaurus, built mostly during the 4th century B.C. and now a World Heritage Site, is renowned for its extraordinary acoustics. Researchers have figured out that the arrangement of the stepped rows of seats are perfectly shaped to act as an acoustic filter, suppressing low-frequency background noise while passing on the high frequencies of performers' voices. [Via MoFi.]
Broadway.com has been doing a video diary of Legally Blonde: the Musical as it moves toward Broadway. See the first rehearsal with director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell, visit a costume fitting, or catch a sneek peek of the show's pre-Broadway tryout in San Francisco. Legally Blonde starts performance in New York City on April 3rd.
The Black Light Theatre of Prague ("Černé Divadlo" or simply Black Theatre) is a Czech performance style characterised by the use of black box theatre augmented by black light trickery. Although this performance style can be found in many places around the world, nowhere is it more prolific or specialized than in Prague. Some sample images: 1 2 3 4. YouTube: 1 2 3.
A short history of Richard Foreman's Ontological-Hysteric Theatre. // "[Richard Foreman's] 'Strong Medicine' (Quicktime) is the kind of mad, risky venture one hesitates to interrupt." // A recent interview with Richard Foreman. (Youtube) // "This website contains hundreds of pages of unedited text which Richard Foreman is making available freely for use by theatrical authors/directors from which to create plays of their own." (Richard Foreman Previously)
Electronic Blockade of Mexican Government: Hactivism and Oaxaca; The Electronic Disturbance Theatre, founded by Ricardo Dominguez has organized a virtual sit-in of Mexican embassy and consulate websites. [More Inside]
The Nickel Under The Foot is one of the most important songs in the history of the American theatre. The back story.
Vermont's Painted Theatre Curtains were made between 1880 and 1940 and are on display thanks in part to The Vermont Museum and Gallery Alliance and a grant from the NEA. [more inside]