Goodbye Omelas

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When we took Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” into a maximum security woman’s prison on the West Side… there’s a scene there where a young woman is told by a very powerful official that “If you sleep with me, I will pardon your brother. And if you don’t sleep with me, I’ll execute him.” And he leaves the stage. And this character, Isabel, turned out to the audience and said: “To whom should I complain?” And a woman in the audience shouted: “The Police!” And then she looked right at that woman and said: “If I did relate this, who would believe me?” And the woman answered back, “No one, girl.” And it was astonishing because not only was it an amazing sense of connection between the audience and the actress, but you also realized that this was a kind of an historical lesson in theater reception. That’s what must have happened at The Globe. These soliloquies were not simply monologues that people spoke, they were call and response to the audience. And you realized that vibrancy, that that sense of connectedness is not only what makes theater great in prisons, it’s what makes theater great, period.
Oskar Eustis on ArtBeat Nation (he told the same story on Charlie Rose)

(Source: neverwasastoryofmorewhoa, via knitmeapony)

Filed under Shakespeare Measure for Measure Theatre

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Years and years ago, there was a production of The Tempest, out of doors, at an Oxford college on a lawn, which was the stage, and the lawn went back towards the lake in the grounds of the college, and the play began in natural light. But as it developed, and as it became time for Ariel to say his farewell to the world of The Tempest, the evening had started to close in and there was some artificial lighting coming on. And as Ariel uttered his last speech, he turned and he ran across the grass, and he got to the edge of the lake and he just kept running across the top of the water — the producer having thoughtfully provided a kind of walkway an inch beneath the water. And you could see and you could hear the plish, plash as he ran away from you across the top of the lake, until the gloom enveloped him and he disappeared from your view.

And as he did so, from the further shore, a firework rocket was ignited, and it went whoosh into the air, and high up there it burst into lots of sparks, and all the sparks went out, and he had gone.

When you look up the stage directions, it says, ‘Exit Ariel.’

Tom Stoppard, University of Pennsylvania, 1996 (via flameintobeing)

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Filed under and that kids is why live theatre will never go away Theatre Shakespeare The Tempest

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It’s on theatrical production at the modern Globe theater, and it’s just so fucking beautiful, the way they incorporate the audience and the open-roof environment in the productions.  There’s this one anecdote about a pigeon landing on the stage during a production of Macbeth right after Lady Macbeth died, and the actor playing Macbeth didn’t ignore it- he directed the “Out, out, brief candle” speech towards it as a meditation on the ridiculousness of life. I read that and just started crying because, goddamn, isn’t theatre unpredictable and beautiful and amazing?

Filed under Theatre Shakespeare Acting Macbeth

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Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it.
Think’st thou that I, who saw the face of God
And tasted the eternal joys of heaven,
Am not tormented with ten thousand hells
In being deprived of everlasting bliss?

I don’t know what this is, but I want all of it.

It’s from the Globe’s production of Doctor Faustus, with Arthur Darvill as Mephistopheles. And you can get it! It’s available on DVD and apparently also on Amazon Instant Video. It’s definitely worth it — the acting is terrific and the staging is utterly amazing.

Reblogging now that there are details attached, as well as information about how to see it for oneself.  I cannot get over the brilliance of these costumes.

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Filed under Theatre Doctor Faustus Christopher Marlowe