Category Archives: Theatre

Happy Birthday, poet/playwright Angelina Weld Grimké

Angelina Weld Grimké’s was born into a powerful familial legacy, which she absorbed, and then continued on her own. It was the air she breathed. Her paternal grandparents were a white slave owner and a mixed-race slave, who lived together … Continue reading

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“If people want to know who I am, it is all in the work.” — Alan Rickman

It’s his birthday today. When Alan Rickman died, I paid tribute to him for, including my memory of seeing him in the unforgettable Broadway production of Noel Coward’s Private Lives, opposite Lindsay Duncan. I still have the poster. I … Continue reading

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“If it was raining soup, the Irish would go out with forks.” – Happy Birthday, Brendan Behan

“Shakespeare said pretty well everything and what he left out, James Joyce, with a judge from meself, put in.” – Brendan Behan Brendan Behan, Irish playwright, IRA man, was born in Dublin on this day, 1923. He lived a life … Continue reading

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“For I, the chiefest lamp of all the earth…” — Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine

Maybe this is him. I’m armed with more than complete steel, The justice of my quarrel. — Christopher Marlowe, Lust’s Dominion. Act iii. Sc. 4. Playwright, poet, prodigy, agent in Her Majesty’s secret service: the incomparable Christopher Marlowe was born … Continue reading

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“The notion of ‘building a career’ had never been heard or dreamed of when I was young.” — Vanessa Redgrave

My friend Dan Callahan wrote the first major biography of Vanessa Redgrave, and he is voluminous on the topic: her career, her gift as an actress. Dan is one of the best writers today on the art of acting (and … Continue reading

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“Medicine is my lawful wife, and literature is my mistress. When I get fed up with one, I spend the night with the other.” — Anton Chekhov

It’s his birthday today. Anton Chekhov, letter to actress (and wife) Olga Knipper January 2, 1901 “Describe at least one rehearsal of Three Sisters for me. Isn’t there anything which needs adding or subtracting? Are you acting well, my darling? … Continue reading

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“I sucked my fingers for 12 years. I never spoke … but I was a great observer.” — Cicely Tyson

It’s her birthday today. One of my earliest memories seeing a movie – I had to be 7 or 8 – was watching Sounder with my parents. I sat on the floor in front of the television. My parents sat … Continue reading

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“In lieu of private themes we had generalisation, in lieu of what was special the typical, in lieu of accident causality. Decorativeness gave way to constructedness, Reason was put on a par with Emotion, while sensuality was replaced by didacticism and fantasy by documentary reality.” — Erwin Piscator

It’s Erwin Piscator’s birthday. Even if you didn’t set OUT to learn about him, if you have done any reading about actors/theatre in the 20th century – either in Germany or in America – you will run into his name … Continue reading

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A Streetcar Named Desire: That’s What Williams Wrote. Deal With It.

A re-post for the anniversary of Streetcar debuting on Broadway. I wrote this essay after seeing a 2011 production of Streetcar at Williamstown. Directed by David Cromer Starring Sam Rockwell as Stanley Kowalski, Jessica Hecht as Blanche DuBois, Ana Reeder … Continue reading

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“The hope is that in rediscovering Chicago, audiences will rediscover what theater was. It was sophisticated, complicated, adult.” — Ann Reinking

It’s her birthday today. When she died last year, the outpouring of tributes and appreciation was truly heart-warming to see. Here’s what I wrote. Ann Reinking’s talent was like her performance persona: larger than life, epic in scope, intimidating. She … Continue reading

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