thu 23/05/2019

Theatre Features

Neil Simon: 'I don’t think you want it really dark'

Jasper Rees

Asked to nominate the most important playwright in America since the war, theatregoers would probably plump for Arthur Miller, Edward Albee or David Mamet. But in terms of sheer popularity there is another candidate.

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F Off: National Youth Theatre puts social media on trial

Tatty Hennessy

F Off came about off the back of a meeting I had with Paul Roseby, the artistic director of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. I’d come in to talk to him about my writing and through complete coincidence, someone had just auditioned for Paul with a monologue from one of my plays, so we started talking about me potentially writing something for the NYT.

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Greed as the keynote: Robert Carsen on the timelessness of 'The Beggar's Opera'

Robert Carsen

In the time of composer John Gay, greed and self-interest were the main motives for life; and his work The Beggar’s Opera is an open critique on the way that society behaved. The work’s opening number sets the tone, basically saying: “we all abuse each other, we all steal from each other, we all want to get as much as we can and to hell with everybody else.”

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h 100 Awards: Theatre and Performance - excellence and inclusion across the map

Matt Wolf

Amidst ever-uncertain times, one thing is for sure: this country's ability to regenerate and renew itself theatrically remains alive and well.

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Brian Friel, the private playwright of Ballybeg

Jasper Rees

Brian Friel, who died in 2015 at the age of 86, was a shy man who shunned interviews, keeping his powder dry for the work and shrouding his personal life in mystique. Not that he never opened his mouth at all. When Dancing at Lughnasa (1990) was winning Tony Awards in New York, he got into trouble for saying that a good stage manager is preferable to a director who disobeys the script.

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Charlotte Jones: ‘Plays come from your scar tissue’

Charlotte Jones

I think it’s always a dangerous sport to try and consciously unravel where your ideas come from. Lest you break the spell and inadvertently silence yourself…

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Sir Matthew Bourne remembers Scott Ambler 1960-2018 – 'A prince among men'

Matthew Bourne

Nobody deserves the title of New Adventures “legend” more than Scott Ambler; nobody is remembered more affectionately – the generosity of spirit, the many kindnesses, the fierce loyalty, the tears of pride in company notes sessions, the endearing eccentricities and, of course, the highly embellished and hilarious stories are all legendary to those that knew and worked with him.

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Antony Sher: Year of the Mad King - extract

Antony Sher

In 1982 Antony Sher played the Fool to Michael Gambon’s King in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of King Lear. Shortly after, he came back to Stratford to play Richard III, for which he won the Olivier

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theartsdesk in Minsk: feasting with Belarus Free Theatre

Jasper Rees

Budzma! (Cheers!) At a long, food-laden table in a noisy room of Minsk, the capital of Belarus, a toast is proposed. We clink glasses and drain moonshine. This happens once, twice, five, 10 times. Between the toasts comes a wave of passionate speeches from some of our fellow diners. Loosely linked, they call up a period of history, controversial and still rarely discussed, when the German invaders were welcomed here as liberators who would deliver Belarus from the Soviet yoke.

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'The greatest play ever written': translating The Cherry Orchard

Rory Mullarkey

The Cherry Orchard is the greatest play ever written,” I declared, confidently, aged 16, to my mother, having just read The Cherry Orchard for the first time.

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