Theater, Opera and Dance

Stage adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984: Puppets of the police state

By Richard Adams and Ramon Valle, 13 March 2006

1984, world premiere, based on the novel by George Orwell; adapted for the stage by Michael Gene Sullivan; directed by Tim Robbins for the Actors’ Gang at the Ivy Station, Culver City, California, through April 8, 2006.

Everything about this performance felt right

Chronicles—a lamentation by the Teatre Piesn Kizla

By Kaye Tucker, 10 March 2006

The Polish theatre company Teatr Piesn Kozla, (translated as The Song of the Goat Theatre Company) recently performed its award winning production of Chronicles—a lamentation, as part of the international presentations of this year’s Sydney festival.

Dreiser’s classic An American Tragedy is brought to the New York opera stage

By Fred Mazelis, 19 January 2006

The premiere of a new American opera is a relatively unusual occurrence. By one count, there have been about 200 such premieres in the past 15 years, but this compares with tens of thousands of performances of operatic classics during the same period by scores of opera companies, large and small, throughout the US. Moreover, of the 200 or so contemporary operas that have been produced, only a handful have been performed again since their original appearance. There is some hand-wringing, under these circumstances, over whether opera is a dying art form.

British playwright Harold Pinter awarded Nobel Prize in literature

By Barry Grey, 14 October 2005

Harold Pinter, widely viewed as the most influential and accomplished playwright in postwar Britain, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature Thursday. The announcement by the Swedish Academy came as a surprise to media circles that speculate on the recipients of the Academy’s annual peace award and its awards for achievement in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, economics and literature.

Orientalism exploded

Pera Palas, written by Sinan Unel, directed by Michael Michetti

By Richard Adams, 4 August 2005

Pera Palas, written by Sinan Unel, directed by Michael Michetti. Co-produced by the Antaeus Company and The Theatre at Boston Court. Boston Court Theatre, Pasadena, California. West Coast premiere. July 23-August 28, 2005.

Interview with Elizabeth Ruiz, author of Death by Survival

22 June 2005

Jamie Chapman of the WSWS interviewed Elizabeth Ruiz, author of the play Death by Survival, in New York City where she resides, after the premiere of the play in San Diego.

Living with the fear factor

Death by Survival, written by Elizabeth Ruiz, directed by Dori Salois

By Richard Adams and Ramón Valle, 22 June 2005

Death by Survival, written by Elizabeth Ruiz, directed by Dori Salois. World premiere presented by Vantage Theatre and Centro Cultural de la Raza at the Centro Cultural de la Raza in San Diego, California

An absurdist play fails to withstand the test of time

By Gabriela Zabala-Notaras, 8 June 2005

The Chairs, by Eugene Ionesco, directed by Benedict Andrews, Company B Belvoir, Belvoir St. Theatre, Sydney

Fatal stumble in the jungle

By Richard Adams, 2 June 2005

The People’s Temple, written and directed by Leigh Fondakowski, with additional writing and dramaturgy by Greg Pierotti, Stephen Wangh and Margo Hall. At the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Berkeley, California, through June 5, 2005.

A comment on Brecht in Los Angeles

By Richard Adams, 11 May 2005

Mother Courage and Her Children, by Bertolt Brecht, directed by Andrew J. Robinson, produced by The Antaeus Company, at New Place Theater Center, North Hollywood, California, through May 22, 2005

Iraq: the dirty story

By Robert Litz, 6 May 2005

The Sand Storm, written by Sean Huze, directed by David Fofi, produced by Sandstorm Productions, Operation Truth, and Elephant Stageworks at the Elephant Asylum in Hollywood, California, from March 17 through May 14, 2005

An imaginative and courageous political exposure

By Rebecca Ponsford and Richard Phillips, 5 May 2005

Two Brothers, written by Hannie Rayson, directed by Simon Phillips and designed by Stephen Curtis

To “hold the world but as the world...”

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, directed by Michael Radford

By Joanne Laurier, 17 March 2005

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, directed by Michael Radford, screenplay by Radford

Not taken from life

By David Walsh, 9 December 2004

Pugilist Specialist, by Adriano Shaplin, production by The Riot Group, at The Culture Project, New York City, November 3-28, and The Magic Theater, San Francisco, December 1-18

A bold attempt, with more to come

Canada House, a two-act play, by J. Karol Korczynski

By David Walsh, 24 November 2004

Canada House, a two-act play, by J. Karol Korczynski, at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace, Toronto, through November 28

Schiller’s Don Carlos: the “light and warmth” of a timeless play

By Robert Stevens, 12 November 2004

The production of Friedrich Schiller’s (1759-1805) classic historical drama Don Carlos (1787) directed by Michael Grandage recently finished its run at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England. The play will transfer to the Gielgud Theatre in London from February 3, 2005 (previewing from January 28) for a limited 12-week run.

The family business and its discontents

Rutherford and Son, by Githa Sowerby, directed by Jackie Maxwell

By Joanne Laurier, 28 August 2004

Rutherford and Son, by Githa Sowerby, directed by Jackie Maxwell, at the Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, until October 9

An attempt to grasp the whole: One World, a play by Robert Litz, opens in Hollywood

By Ramón Valle, 7 August 2004

One World, Robert Litz’s two-act play at the Elephant Theatre in Hollywood, has been extended for two weeks. Not bad for a play whose political content and social commentary the director/producer originally thought would make audiences walk out.

A new dramatization of Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia

By Barbara Slaughter, 3 July 2004

A new play based on George Orwell’s book Homage to Catalonia ended its international run in Barcelona on June 14. The drama’s theme was one which has rarely if ever been dealt with on stage—the revolutionary nature of the struggle of the Spanish working class in 1936-37 and the role of international Stalinism in suppressing it.

Homage to Catalonia on stage: an interview with writer Pablo Ley and director Josep Galindo

3 July 2004

Barbara Slaughter of the WSWS interviewed Spanish writer Pablo Ley, who co-adapted George Orwell’s Homage to Cataloniafor the stage, and Josep Galindo, who directed the recent production. [See: “A new dramatization of Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia”]

A good deal to chew, and not all of it edible: Brecht and Mother Courage

By David Walsh, 22 March 2004

Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht, at the Classical Theater of Harlem, February 4-29

“McKinsey Is Coming”

A feeble warning to the German business and political establishment by playwright Rolf Hochhuth

By Ulrich Rippert, 9 March 2004

At the conclusion of five short acts, the flag of the European Union is burning on stage and a demonstrator shouts: “A lack of imagination and submissiveness towards our master, the US, has led us Europeans to copy their star-spangled banner. Here too in Europe, profit has now become our only god.” The curtain falls.

A victim of state terror in the US

Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America: A Drama in 30 Scenes by Stephen Sewell

By Margaret Rees, 11 September 2003

Australian writer Stephen Sewell’s latest play attempts to examine the rapid expansion of the US state apparatus since September 11, 2001 and how the Bush administration’s “war against terrorism” is being used to attack democratic rights and victimise innocent citizens. Directed by Aubrey Mellor and with a strong cast, it recently played at Melbourne’s Playbox Theatre and the South Australian State Theatre in Adelaide.

Ben Jonson’s Volpone: black comedy from the dawn of the modern era

By Stephen Griffiths, 24 June 2003

In response to the Sydney Theatre Company’s (STC) production of Ben Jonson’s Volpone last year, I determined to undertake a study of the life and work of this extraordinary playwright and poet. Although his work is seldom performed these days, Jonson was one of the leading protagonists in the most vibrant period of early English theatre. For a time, he was considered the virtual Poet Laureate of England. His literary stature rivalled, and for the century after his death, even overshadowed that of Shakespeare.

Politics and the theatre: two plays in Toronto

By Carl Bronski, 20 May 2003

“I know what men can be!”—Clifford Odets, 1935

Interview with Dean Gabourie, director of Awake and Sing!

By Carl Bronski, 20 May 2003

Carl Bronski: You’ve recently revived Waiting for Lefty here in Toronto. You’ve just finished a run with Awake and Sing! What is it about Odets’ work that attracts you?

Episodes from the class struggle in Britain

Just Before the Rain and Coal Not Dole

By Liz Smith and Harvey Thompson, 12 May 2003

In the past months two plays—Coal Not Dole, on the 1984-1985 British miners strike, and Just Before The Rain, on the Oldham riots of 2001—have been touring theatres in Britain.

An evening with Nederlands Dans Theatre II

The challenges confronting contemporary modern dance

By Andrea Peters, 8 May 2003

“Real art can never escape from life. In histrionic* terms, illusions are not false impressions or misconceptions of reality. The world of illusion which the audience expects from the artist is, in fact, the world of their real selves, the image of their own world, the translation of their hopes and fears, their joys and sufferings into the magic of the stage.”

Royal Shakespeare Company on tour in the US

Midnight’s Children cast members speak out on war against Iraq

By Joseph Kay and David Walsh, 20 March 2003

The British Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) recently concluded a residency at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In addition to Shakespeare’s Coriolanus and The Merry Wives of Windsor, performed by the company, a special cast presented the North American premier of Midnight’s Children, an adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s award-winning novel. Originally published in 1981, Rushdie’s novel was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981.

Actors stage Aristophanes’ Lysistrata to protest war against Iraq

By Joanne Laurier, 15 March 2003

Billed as “The Largest World-Wide Theatrical Protest for Peace,” readings of the ancient Greek antiwar comedy Lysistrata were held in 59 countries and in all 50 states in the US on March 3.

The element of social tragedy in King Lear

King Lear by William Shakespeare, at the Stratford Festival of Canada, directed by Jonathan Miller

By David Walsh, 21 November 2002

King Lear is among the most complex and contradictory of Shakespeare’s works. While the play has no single character with the intellectual or sensual appeal of a Hamlet, Falstaff, Cleopatra, Richard III or even a Rosalind, it treats in the most vivid and dense language a vast array of problems. The tragedy’s cumulative effect is deeply troubling and, in its own fashion, subversive.

A serious attempt to encourage Sri Lankan opera

Sonduru Varnadasi (The Alluring Courtesan), directed by Premasiri Khemadasa, libretto by Lucien Bulathsinghala

By Piyaseeli Wijegunasingha, 16 October 2002

Sonduru Varnadasi, Premasiri Khemadasa’s latest opera, was recently staged at the Elphinston Theatre in Colombo. Based on one of the many traditional stories about the life of Buddha, the opera is another important example of Khemadasa’s fusion of Western and Asian dramatic and musical forms.

Trisha Brown Dance Company: Just scratching the surface

The legacy of Postmodernism in contemporary dance

By Andrea Peters, 6 March 2002

Over the first weekend in February audiences in Southern California had the opportunity to view recent work by Trisha Brown—the most widely acclaimed choreographer to emerge out of the “Postmodern era” in contemporary dance. Performing at UCLA’s Royce Hall, Brown’s company of nine dancers presented “El Trilogy,” pieces set to original scores by jazz composer Dave Douglas.

Remembered horrors of a religious education

The Christian Brothers at The Playhouse, Sydney Opera House until November 3

By Erika Zimmer, 26 October 2001

Ron Blair’s one-man play The Christian Brothers deals with a significant social issue—education in a religious school and a system of teaching that he exposes as violent and incompetent. First produced in 1975, the work has consistently resonated with audiences who recognise in it their own school experiences. While the play deals with a specific type of schooling, it also raises a number of more universal questions about education.

A gentle appeal for justice

Aliwa, by Dallas Winmar Directed by Neil Armfield at the Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney

By Kaye Tucker, 10 October 2001

Aliwa, a recent joint production by Company B in Sydney and the Yirra Yaakin Noongar Theatre Company from Western Australia, is set in the south of Western Australia in the 1930s. It tells the story of the Davis family—half-caste Aborigines who battled attempts by Australian authorities to break up their family and relocate the children to government settlements. Author Dallas Winmar, a producer-director with ABC Radio and author of a biography on the late Aboriginal playwright Jack Davis, was commissioned to write the play in 1999. She developed the work from a series of lengthy interviews with Dot Collard, Ethel Abdullah and Judith (Jude) Wilks—three of the 10 children in the Davis family. Dot Collard, now in her 70s, appears as a narrator and oversees the actors on stage during the performance.

A failed attempt at "relevance"

The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov, directed by Andrew Benedict

By Stephen Griffith, 12 September 2001

At first glance, stories and plays by the celebrated Russian writer Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) are deceptively simple. His play The Three Sisters, which was recently staged by the Sydney Theatre Company (STC) under the direction of Andrew Benedict, is no exception. There are no heroic deeds or grand tragedy in this four-act examination of the unrequited hopes of the Prozorov sisters—Olga, Masha and Irina—and their friends in a small provincial Russian town. But this beautifully crafted work, written in 1901, explores a range of universal themes and issues that can strongly resonate with contemporary audiences if sensitively staged and performed.

Pappa Tarahumara, a Japanese contemporary dance company

Frustrated resignation

By Andrea Peters, 10 September 2001

As part of a short, two-city tour of Australia, the Japanese contemporary dance company Pappa Tarahumara performed Love Letter, its most recent work, at the Seymour Centre in Sydney. The production was one work in a series of pieces that explore what choreographer Hiroshi Koike refers to as the “Island mentality”—the concept that the world is comprised of social boundaries according to religion, ethnicity, language, geography and class. According to the program notes, Love Letter examines the numerous divisions that the artist believes separate people and define their existence—“men v.s. women, oneself v.s. others, war v.s. peace”.

Expressions Dance Company

A one-dimensional exploration of narcissism and love

By Andrea Peters, 15 August 2001

Expressions Dance Company, one of Australia’s principal modern dance troupes, brought the newest work of company director Maggi Sietsma to Sydney at the end of July. While drawing a small crowd for this performance of Vanities Crossing, the company has gained international recognition since its debut in 1985 and maintains a worldwide touring schedule.

Australian play from the 1930s strikes a contemporary chord

By Erika Zimmer, 8 August 2001

The recent Sydney Theatre Company production of Morning Sacrifice by Dymphna Cusack was a fervent and unsparing exposé of a hidebound education authority in Australia in the 1930s. In the course of the play, three teachers who attempt to defend a student caught kissing her partner at a school dance are more or less destroyed. Directed by Jennifer Flowers at the Wharf Theatre, the production captured the intense psychological drama and spirit of the original work and struck a chord with those aware of the difficulties facing contemporary teachers.

The Lingalayam Dance Company

Exploring human expression but struggling with a theme

By Andrea Peters, 4 August 2001

The Lingalayam Dance Company’s recent performance of The Courtesan’s Daughter at the Seymour Centre in Sydney, Australia provided audiences with an opportunity to experience the intricate beauty of classical Indian dance. Founded in 1996, the company’s entered its fifth season with yet another new work.

Artistic integrity at the "big end of town"

Up for Grabs by David Williamson

By Kaye Tucker, 31 May 2001

Up for Grabs is a new satire by veteran Australian playwright David Williamson. Having completed its season at the Sydney Opera House the production will now be performed at Parramatta, Wollongong, Canberra, Melbourne and Newcastle during the next months.

Angry young man going nowhere

Thomas Ostermeier's adaptation of Büchner's classic Danton's Death at the Berlin Schaubühne

By Stefan Steinberg, 28 April 2001

Thomas Ostermeier is the 33-year-old head of one of Berlin's leading theatres, Schaubühne. Appointed to the theatre just over a year ago to revive its ailing fortunes, Ostermeier has concentrated on putting on a series of contemporary plays and dance pieces. In particular Ostermeier has personally directed work by the British playwrights Sarah Kane (Greed) and Mark Ravenhill ( Shopping and F**king). Kane and Ravenhill have both written plays featuring graphic depictions of sexual and physical violence dealing with the disintegration (or impossibility) of social relationships in today's developed industrial societies.

When you can't see it "the world is a wonderful place"

Dancer in the Dark, written and directed by Lars von Trier

By Bernd Rheinhardt, 31 October 2000

Danish director Lars von Trier's latest film is the final part of a trilogy (including Breaking the Waves [1996] and The Idiots [1998]), whose basic motif is that of a fairy tale. The little girl “Goldenheart” is so good-hearted that she is prepared to sacrifice all she has for other people.

Insights into the faded hopes of the 60s generation

Life After George, Sydney Theatre Company, Wharf 1 Theatre—through December 9

By Kaye Tucker, 24 October 2000

Australian playwright Hannie Rayson's Life After George, which premiered at the Melbourne Theatre Company in January this year and is now being performed in Sydney, is an absorbing investigation into the life of Peter George, a recently deceased university professor. The gregarious professor, a defender of academic excellence and liberal humanism, had been under siege from the commercially oriented university administration. Rayson's play is a witty and insightful comment the general loss of hope amongst a section of the intellectual milieu.

Call for an Anti-Hero: A review of Tabletop, a play by Rob Ackerman

By Anne Prochnik, 26 September 2000

Tabletop, a production of The Working Theatre in New York City, written by Rob Ackerman and directed by Connie Grappo, is not a play to relax with after a hard day at work. It captures with excruciating accuracy just what goes into making those 30-second commercials for frothy fruit drinks, ice cream, pizza and beer that we ingest visually and aurally every time we turn on the TV. This is a working world in which anxiety reigns supreme, deadlines are impossible to meet, bosses holler orders and curse out employees who slip up under pressure, all because the client is breathing down his / her neck and money is being hemorrhaged for every wasted second.

"The raw dream of Oedipus"

Seneca's Oedipus, directed by Barrie Kosky, Sydney Theatre Company

By Kaye Tucker, 2 September 2000

Barrie Kosky's recent Sydney Theatre Company production of Seneca's Oedipus, the Greek legend of the tormented King of Thebes who, unknowingly, kills his father and weds his mother, completes a cycle of four plays by the director (Tartuffe, Mourning Becomes Electra and King Lear) dealing with the issues of destiny, fate and the family.

The tragedy of the "stolen generation"

Stolen, directed by Wesley Enoch, written by Jane Harrison

By Gabriela Notaras, 25 July 2000

Stolen is an honest and compassionate work that traces the lives of five Aboriginal children removed from their families in the 1960s under official Australian government policy. Written by Jane Harrison, the play dramatises the fear, persecution and desolation felt by the children and their families, and demonstrates the ongoing physical and psychological impact of this policy on generations of Aboriginal people. Harrison and all the cast are of Aboriginal descent. Pauline Whyman, one of the actresses, is the last of 11 children who were stolen from her family of 15.

Posing some of the right questions

Einar Schleef 's Verratenes Volk (A People Betrayed) at the Deutschen Theater in Berlin

By Stefan Steinberg, 26 June 2000

Director Einar Schleef's five and a half hour marathon at the Deutschen Theater is provocative in the most positive sense. It provokes and stimulates thought and reflection on some of the most crucial social experiences of the last century.

After 70 years in operation

Financial problems close the Martha Graham dance center in New York City

By Andrea Peters, 17 June 2000

The board of directors for the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance in New York City announced on May 25 that both the school and the company that bear the artist's name would cease operations immediately due to financial difficulties. Facing a $500,000 deficit, the board has stated that the dance center would need $325,000 at once in order to resume functioning. Beginning her work in the 1920s, Graham (1895-1991) was one of the founding figures of modern dance in the United States.

John Gielgud: A life in the theatre (1904-2000)

By Paul Bond, 27 May 2000

John Gielgud's death on May 21 at the age of 96 has not only robbed the world of one of its finest actors. It has also brought to a close a whole period of British theatrical history. His career of nearly 80 years encompassed the greater part of the century and took in the major media developments of the age. It was not hyperbole for many of the tributes to say that his death marked a belated end to the twentieth century for the British stage.

Marat/Sade at the Berliner Ensemble

By Stefan Steinberg, 25 May 2000

Since its first performance in 1964, Peter Weiss' The Persecution and the Assassination of Jean Paul Marat as performed by the inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade (hereafter Marat/Sade) has become an integral part of German theatre repertoire. The current production at the Berliner Ensemble in the east of Berlin, a theatre associated above all with the name Bertolt Brecht, is nevertheless a historical first. Following Brecht's death in 1956, his wife Helene Weigel, who continued to run the theatre, turned down an opportunity to perform the piece describing it as “counterrevolutionary”.

The lasting significance of The Trojan Women

By Piyaseeli Wijegunasingha, 3 April 2000

An adaptation in Sinhala of Euripides' play, translation by Ariyawansa Ranaweera, script by Ananda Wakkumbura and Dharmasiri Bandaranayaka, directed by Dharmasiri Bandaranayaka

A piece which fails to convince in any respect

The Brecht File, a new play at the Berliner Ensemble

By Stefan Steinberg, 29 January 2000

All the ingredients for an interesting and informative play about German playwright Bertolt Brecht were at hand. The Brecht File, at the Berliner Ensemble, deals with Brecht's period of exile in America and, in particular, with his persecution as a communist sympathiser by the FBI and the House Committee on Un-American Activities (known as HUAC).

A reminder of how we all begin

The Small Poppies Company B, Belvoir Street, Sydney Until February 20

By Kaye Tucker, 14 January 2000

In these harsh times when the legal and democratic rights of children, and even the notion of childhood, are under attack on all sides, The Small Poppies is a breath of fresh air. A delightful two-act play about starting school, it is a wonderful reminder of all those things that are peculiar to and precious about childhood. Through this play we are constantly reminded that children are not mini-adults, but that they cognise the world in a very special way.

Insightful, engaging modern dance

Doug Varone and Dancers at the Joyce Theater, New York City

By Andrea Peters, 11 January 2000

Doug Varone and Dancers began their season at the Joyce Theater in New York City this week with a remarkably ambitious program, including three New York and two world premieres. The company, bearing the name of its artistic director and founder, is known for what is often described as the distinctly “humanist” orientation of its choreography. The four pieces performed by the company on opening night ranged from the comedic to the disquieting. Each was insightful and engaging in its own way.

A metaphor for post-Soviet Russia

Review of Alexey Slapovsky's The Little Cherry Orchard

By Kaye Tucker, 8 December 1999

The Little Cherry Orchard by Alexey Slapovsky, translated by Anatoly Frusin and Alex Menglet, directed by Anatoly Frusin, at Company B Belvoir in Sydney, Australia until December 19

Theatre Review:

Who's Afraid of the Working Class?—the Melbourne Workers Theatre

Stories from behind the statistics

By Kaye Tucker, 1 October 1999

The Melbourne Workers Theatre's award-winning production— Who's Afraid of the Working Class?—recently played at the Belvoir Street Theatre in Sydney. The play was first performed at the Victorian Trades Hall Council in May 1998. Founded in 1987, Melbourne Workers Theatre performs original plays dealing with the life and times of working people.

A time "out of joint": Peter Zadek's Hamlet at the Berlin Schaubühne

By Stefan Steinberg, 30 September 1999

One of Germany's leading theatre directors, Peter Zadek, has brought together many members of the Hamlet cast from his famous 1977 Bochum production and restaged Shakespeare's play at the Berlin Schaubühne. Ulrich Wildgruber, Zadek's Hamlet 22 years ago, now plays Polonius; Eva Mattes once again performs the role of Hamlet's mother Queen Gertrude. Knut Koch is Reynaldo and Herman Lause the ghost of Hamlet's father. In addition to his original cast, Zadek has cast Germany's actor of the year, Otto Sander, as Claudius. Finally Zadek has chosen one of Germany's outstanding actresses, Angela Winkler ( The Lost Honour of Katarina Blum, The Tin Drum, Danton), to play Hamlet.

An inarticulate hope

Look Back in Anger by John Osborne

Playing at the Royal National Theatre, London through September 18

By Paul Bond, 14 September 1999

The first production of John Osborne's Look Back in Anger in 1956 provoked a major controversy. There were those, like the Observer newspaper's influential critic Kenneth Tynan, who saw it as the first totally original play of a new generation. There were others who hated both it and the world that Osborne was showing them. But even these critics acknowledged that the play, written in just one month, marked a new voice on the British stage.

An indictment of fascism and Zionism

A fitting tribute to a man of principle

Perdition by Jim Allen premiered at the Gate Theatre, London

By Paul Bond, 13 July 1999

Twelve years after its premiere was dramatically cancelled, Jim Allen's play Perdition has finally reached the stage. The Gate Theatre hosted the production, which opened shortly before Allen's tragic death from cancer on June 24, 1999. One of the more prestigious fringe theatres in London, their production is a fitting tribute to the socialist writer.

A powerful theatrical presentation of an outstanding piece of literature

Alfred Döblin's Berlin Alexanderplatz, performed at the Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin

By Stefan Steinberg, 8 June 1999

“The human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality it is the ensemble of the social relations. “ Karl Marx, Sixth Thesis on Feuerbach.

A Russian Winter's Tale

By Harvey Thompson, 4 June 1999

William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale performed at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, England by the Maly Drama Theatre of St. Petersburg. Directed by Declan Donnellan. Designed by Nick Ormerod. Translated by Pyotr Gnedich.

The Parsons Dance Company: Luminescent theatricality or hodgepodge?

By Andrea Peters, 2 June 1999

The Parsons Dance Company, currently nearing the end of a performance series at the Joyce Theater in New York City, is one of the leading companies in the world of mainstream contemporary modern dance. Critics have accused the ensemble, the brainchild of David Parsons, a former dancer with the Paul Taylor Co., of being flashy. While this is one notable aspect of the group's work, I would argue that Parsons' innovative theatricality is the most creative feature of this young artist. More substantively, however, the work the company is performing at the Joyce Theater suffers from other difficulties—above all, the inability to create a unified whole out of various complex formal tools. Parsons' work also clearly bears the mark of much current choreography—an overemphasis on technical virtuosity, coupled with an unsophisticated exploration of multifaceted themes or its absence altogether.

"Bottom's Dream," or, remembrance of things to come

A Midsummer Night's Dream, based on the play by William Shakespeare, directed by Michael Hoffman

By David Walsh, 31 May 1999

Shakespeare apparently wrote the play in the mid-1590s, when he was thirty or so, during the last decade of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. It has been suggested, though not proven, that the piece was written for an aristocratic wedding and further conjectured that the queen attended the first performance. At any rate, according to its first printed edition in 1600, the play had already been “sundry times publicly acted” by the Lord Chamberlain's Men, the theater company Shakespeare helped establish in the summer of 1594, when London theaters reopened after a two-year hiatus due to fear of the plague.

Dancemaker: A Tribute to Paul Taylor

A documentary directed and produced by Matthew Diamond

By Andrea Peters, 16 March 1999

The recent documentary film Dancemaker, featuring the work of Paul Taylor and his company, provides an important, if limited, window into the creative life of one of modern dance's most accomplished choreographers. While for the most part the film is grounded in unabashed adulation for this creative genius, it allows one to see certain aspects of the artistic life of Paul Taylor, as well as the larger reality encompassing modern dance as a whole.

The Thang Long Water Puppet Troupe of Hanoi

A glimpse of the cultural life and times of ancient Vietnam

By Richard Phillips, 5 February 1999

The Thang Long Water Puppet Troupe of Hanoi, which performs the age-old craft of water puppetry or mua roi nuoc, has just ended a successful season at the Royal Botanical Gardens, part of the annual Sydney Festival.

Richard Phillips interviews water puppet director

"A unique form of art"

5 February 1999

Le Van Ngo is the artistic director of Vietnam's internationally-acclaimed Thang Long Water Puppet Troupe of Hanoi. He joined Thang Long in 1970 and is leading figure in the popularisation of this ancient and unique art form.

What Wilde has to say to us moderns

By Tracy Montry, 31 March 1998

Theater review: A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde, at the Hillberry Theatre, Detroit, Michigan, performances from February 13 to Apri1 23

Doug Varone and certain trends in contemporary modern dance

By Andrea Grant-Friedman, 28 March 1998

Doug Varone and Dancers, as they recently demonstrated in performance at the Joyce Theater in New York City, exhibit some of the most well defined technical and physical elements that have emerged in late twentieth century modern dance.

Oscar Wilde’s lasting significance

By David Walsh, 28 July 1997

The occasion of Moisés Kaufman’s play, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, currently running at the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York City, provides the opportunity to begin a reexamination of Wilde’s intellectual legacy.