25 May

Because we have been a tad lazy with writing the first play review, in the meantime, here are a few interesting reads from the theatre realm we cobbled together.

1) Hannah Freeman of the Guardian writes on a preferable audience code of conduct in theatre and concert performances. Check the comments section as well.

2) A profile of an NYC bookstore that won an honorary Tony for “Excellence in Drama”.

3) What makes an ideal theatre? Lyn Gardner ticks off her list of favourite performance spaces across Britain, including Cornwall’s breathtaking Minack Open Air Theatre. (We might consider a future post on theatres in Hyderabad as well, which should be an interesting thing to examine)

4) Sean Michael Robinson examines Open Source and theatre at The Hooded Utilitarian in Collage, Theatre, Copyright and the Curious Case of Anne Frank Superstar.  An Orlando, Florida based production by a high school theatre teacher is now a critically acclaimed play with multiple stagings, that is loved and detested alike, by equal number of audience and critics. Detested because many believe that there is no place for a musical, incorporating songs by the Carpenters in a sombre account such as Anne Frank’s and that of the larger monstrosity of the Holocaust. Almost forgetting that Anne Frank remained an eternal teenager through her diary, a girl who loved and lived to the fullest in the shadow of indescribable horror.

But the show is also, one could say, largely illegal. Anne Frank’s diary is still under copyright and will remain so for years to come. As would be songs by The Carpenters, used in the play freely. Robinson lays out what it means to publicly perform a play, agreeing to a range of limitations imposed by the playwright as well as his agents which creep into every production. He pits it against a staging of Space Macbeth, and wonders if a play like Macbeth becomes stronger, more durable over time even after being adapted, cut, restructured over thousands of productions and adaptations.

Is it a simple matter of repetition, that when a play has been staged ten thousand times something is broken, that it becomes untethered from some platonic concept of faithfulness and can instead be bent and chopped and rearranged at will? Or is it that certain stories or certain works of art are themselves impervious to adaptation, that the more spins one puts on a text like Macbeth, the more possibilities appear? Is it possible that so many adaptations, so many different stagings and interpretations and resuscitations have helped make the play what it is today, have in fact created that feeling of timelessness and “bottomless”ness that so many feel when they approach the material?

5) Robinson ends by making a case for open-source and rational copyright laws which allow the public to access works instead of lobbyists and companies exercising monopolies over a play much after the demise of an author. A riveting, thought provoking read, even if you skip the other links, this is one you should read.

6) And to wrap things up, here’s a behind-the-scenes from QTP theatre’s Nostalgia Brand Chewing Gum.


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