Thursday, May 28, 2015

Archive: July, 2013

POSTED: Friday, July 26, 2013, 12:48 PM

By Wendy Rosenfield
FOR THE INQUIRER

Let’s be honest: Henry VIII isn’t one of Shakespeare’s greatest works, which might be why Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival chose to make it their third “extreme Shakespeare” effort. Many scholars believe the play isn’t even entirely his, but rather the result of a collaboration between Shakespeare and his eventual King’s Men successor, John Fletcher. But, as it’s essentially an exploration of the events leading up to the birth of Shakespeare’s most important benefactor, Queen Elizabeth I--back when royal births changed the course of history--it’s certainly worth its historical weight (even if, despite its alternate title, All Is True, much is anachronistic).

Extreme Shakespeare, by PSF’s definition, signifies the Bard’s works performed in the style of his company: actors arrive with their lines (mostly) memorized, cobble together whatever costumes and set elements they find backstage, rehearse four to five days without directors or designers, and put on a show. Here, the method adds a layer of thrill to a script that, for a history, and considering this particular king’s history, contains a relatively low body count and treads lightly on its principals. The play ends with Anne Boleyn still very much in possession of her head, and almost everyone redeemed. 

Wendy Rosenfield @ 12:48 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 1:35 PM

By Wendy Rosenfield

for the Inquirer

If ever there was a production that illustrated just how problematic Shakespeare’s “problem plays” can be, it’s Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s Measure for Measure,  directed by Fontaine Syer. Syer sets the action in Vienna, 1900, a city at the top of its cultural game, blossoming as a center of art and design, particularly art nouveau, but also that year seeing the publication of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams. 

Wendy Rosenfield @ 1:35 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 1:35 PM

By Wendy Rosenfield

for the Inquirer

If ever there was a production that illustrated just how problematic Shakespeare’s “problem plays” can be, it’s Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s Measure for Measure,  directed by Fontaine Syer. Syer sets the action in Vienna, 1900, a city at the top of its cultural game, blossoming as a center of art and design, particularly art nouveau, but also that year seeing the publication of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams. 

Wendy Rosenfield @ 1:35 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 6:50 PM
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Leah Walton, Jessica Bedford, Liz Filios and Lenny Haas in 'Noises Off'

By Jim Rutter

For THE INQUIRER

I wish I had never seen Michael Frayn’s Noises Off. Correction: I wish I had never seen any other company’s production of his comedy, now receiving a sensationally funny staging at People’s Light and Theatre Company.

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POSTED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 6:44 PM
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Griffin Stanton-Ameisen and Crab in 'Two Gentlemen of Verona'

By Jim Rutter

For THE INQUIRER

Friendship over love. Many boys spout this mantra, few endorse it in action. Shakespeare threaded this truth through the plot of Two Gentlemen of Verona, a young man’s play about impulsive young men. Director Samantha Bellomo and her sprightly cast at Delaware Shakespeare Festival prove their understanding in a Jazz Age production that excites in its excess of untempered passion balanced only by the laughter of youthful love’s folly.

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POSTED: Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 11:57 AM

By Wendy Rosenfield

for the Inquirer

Every summer for a dozen years, Hedgerow Theatre has trotted out a farce - some new, some old - by England's reigning farceur, Ray Cooney. Run for Your Wife was their first, as well as Cooney's most successful, and the company revives it again with Penelope Reed behind its wildly veering wheel. The comedy ran for nine years on London's West End, closing in 1991, but last year received an abysmal screen treatment that left reviewers decrying its stale humor. So, have we moved past this zigzagging farce's freshness date? Well, yes and no.

Wendy Rosenfield @ 11:57 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog

Toby Zinman's night job since 2006 is theater critic for the Inquirer where she reviews New York and London as well as Philadelphia. Her day job: Prize-winning prof at UArts, author of five books about modern and contemporary drama, and doer of scholarly deeds (winner of five NEH grants, Fulbright lecturer at Tel Aviv University, visiting professor in China). She was recently named by American Theatre magazine "one of the twelve most influential critics in America."


Wendy Rosenfield has written freelance features and theater reviews for The Inquirer since 2006. She was theater critic for the Philadelphia Weekly from 1995 to 2001, after which she enjoyed a five-year baby-raising sabbatical. She serves on the board of the American Theatre Critics Association, was a participant in the Bennington Writer's Workshop, a 2008 NEA/USC Fellow in Theater and Musical Theater, and twice was guest critic for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival's Region II National Critics Institute. She received her B.A. from Bennington College and her M.L.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She also is a fiction writer, was proofreader to a swami, publications editor for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and spends all her free time working out and driving people places. Follow her on Twitter @WendyRosenfield.


Jim Rutter has reviewed theater for The Inquirer since September, 2011. Since 2006, he covered dance, theater and opera for the Broad Street Review, and has also written for many suburban newspapers, including The Main Line Times. In 2009, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him a Fellowship in Arts Journalism. Thames & Hudson released his updated and revised version of Ballet and Modern Dance in June, 2012. From 1998 to 2005, he taught philosophy and logic at Drexel, and then Widener University. He also coaches Olympic Weightlifting for Liberty Barbell, and has competed at the national level in that sport since 2001.


Merilyn Jackson regularly writes on dance for The Inquirer and other publications. She specializes in the arts, literature, food, travel, and Eastern European culture and politics. In 2001, she was dance critic in residence at the Festival of Contemporary Dance in Bytom, Poland; in 2005, she received an NEA Critics’ Fellowship to Duke University’s Institute for Dance Criticism. She likes to say that dance was her first love but that when she discovered writing she began to cheat on dance. Now that she writes about dance, she’s made an honest woman of herself, although she also writes poetry.

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