Reviews

Exchange the Bad for the Better

The Two Gentlemen of Verona has unjustly been dismissed by most scholars.  Harold Bloom, for instance, calls it “the weakest of all Shakespeare’s comedies.”  But if it doesn’t have the meat of later plays like The Merchant of Venice or All’s Well That Ends Well, it does offer humbler pleasures.  Fiasco, a company that previously mounted amiable if underwhelming productions […]

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Reviews

Thou of Thyself Thy Sweet Self Dost Deceive

Setting Macbeth in an insane asylum is not an entirely original idea—after all, Sleep No More has been running just twenty blocks south of the Barrymore Theatre for over two years—but apart from adding an irrelevant, “creepy” aesthetic, I’m sure I don’t know why anyone would do this to Shakespeare’s play.  In its newest incarnation, […]

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Reviews

I Am Not That I Play

It seems appropriate to begin Women of Will, a personal exploration of gender, sex, and power in Shakespeare, with an excerpt from The Taming of the Shrew.  But despite a lifetime of working with the Bard, Tina Packer, the show’s creator and star, gets the play thoroughly wrong.  She jokes that as a “card-carrying feminist,” […]

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Reviews

A “Post-Feminist” Shrew

When we walk into the theater, there is man playing saloon music on a piano.  A woman passes out bags of peanuts, and Christopher Sly (Matthew Cowles), an old, drunken bum who has been tricked into thinking he is an aristocrat, loudly comments on the action of the play, so much so that the actors […]

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Reviews

Gently To Hear, Kindly to Judge, Your Play

The stage is plain and simple—a chair with some ladders and rafters—and the actors are clearly visible from the seats.  Completely dismissing the fourth wall, they walk through the audience in costume to greet friends, they joke loudly to each other backstage, and when director Jenny Bennett shows up, one theatrically bellows, “There is my directress!” […]

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