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Showing posts from May, 2014

Dhrama

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At the center of theThe Mahabharata, one of the Hindu holy books, is The Bhagavad Gita, an epic of enormous proportions. At the core of the Gita is a dialogue between PrinceArjuna and the god Krishna. Arjuna is expected to start a war to defend disputed land, but he hesitates. The god Krishna exhorts him to do his duty as a warrior and, finally, convinces him to attack.
A mythical dialogue is unlikely material for a stage production, but playwright João Falcão has condensed it to an arresting hour-long, two-actor play called Dhrama: The Remarkable Dialogue Between Krishna and Arjuna. It presents the sort of mutual attempt at persuasion that we find in Man and Superman. The production comes from Brazil, presented in English. The production company is Tetris. The superb, masterful actors are Luca Bianchi (Arjuna), and Livia De Bueno (Krishna) playing the god traditionally represented as a man.
The name Dhrama is derived from the Sanskrit word dharma, roughly translated as right behavior.

Fool's Lear

Fool’s Lear
by Randy Neale
produced by The Phoenix Theatre Ensemble
directed by directed by Grant Neale
with Grant Neale and Craig Smith
Randy Neale’s play Fool’s Lear is a riff on King Lear. It shows us the king and his fool when they’re not on stage, in a dynamic dyad relationship. It’s a clever conceit, and quite well executed by The Phoenix Theatre Ensemble.
Neale has assimilated lines from Shakespeare (Lear’s great first speech), lines that sound like Shakespeare (“What brings my king to this barren and dangerous place?”) and a colloquial idiom (“They love their Daddy bunches and bunches.”). He even borrows from Julius Caesar for a moment. He manages to suggest Shakespeare without ever sounding pretentious.
Grant Neale’s direction keeps everything moving and finely wrought. He keeps his two actors in a moment of Shakespearean wonder throughout the piece. His work as an actor is no less accomplished. He plays the Fool with a stammer, making him smart and disingenuous. He’s committed…

Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot’s Macbeth

Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot’s Macbeth
produced by The Phoenix Theatre Ensemble
directed by Kevin Confoy
Tom Stoppard has a talent for being clever and intellectual at once. In Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot’s Macbeth, he’s so clever and intellectual that he leaves us behind. The plays are so abstruse that they’re puzzling. Dogg's Hamlet and Cahoot’s Macbeth are companion plays, each a relatively short piece running about an hour. They show us a population who speak Dogg, a language that uses the same words as English but with meanings unrelated to the meanings we assign to them.
Presented first, Dogg’s Hamlet is concerned with Dogg-speaking people producing Hamlet, and we see many of the scenes from Shakespeare. Much is made of their building a wall and the words they use to build it. The play itself is delivered in familiar Shakespearean English (Stoppard had referred to Hamlet in that earlier, more famous, playRosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead). A delivery man enters; he speaks norma…