mon 22/07/2019

Theatre Interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Playwright Howard Brenton

Carole Woddis

Political playwright Howard Brenton (b. 1942) is always in the process of being "rediscovered". Yet at the same time he has been at the heart of British theatrical life for the past 40 years, since his debut in 1969 with Christie in Love. True, he has spent the odd decade out of the theatrical limelight - a few years ago, he "went out of fashion" in his own phrase – and then he just happened to pen some of the liveliest scripts on television with the BBC’s spy drama series, ...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Writer Willy Russell

Jasper Rees

No one understands escapism like Willy Russell. Either side of 1980, he wrote two plays about working-class Liverpool women in flight from a humdrum existence. In one a young hairdresser seeks fulfilment through a literary education with the Open University. In the other, a middle-aged housewife has an island-holiday romance. As films, Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine earned Oscar nominations for, respectively, Julie Walters and Pauline Collins.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Theatre Director Dominic Dromgoole

Matt Wolf

Dominic Dromgoole (b. Oct.1963) had directed professionally precisely one Shakespeare play - Troilus and Cressida for the Oxford Stage Company, with a then little-known Matt Lucas as Thersites - when he was appointed artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe, the Thames-side playhouse that has defied nay-sayers to become a London theatrical fixture since opening to the public in 1997. Could the amiably scruffy one-time leader of west London's tiny Bush, a space given over exclusively...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Composer Alan Menken

Jasper Rees

For many years the composer who made his name with Little Shop of Horrors abandoned the theatre to work in Hollywood. He returned to Broadway in 2008 with an enlarged songbook for The Little Mermaid, but it closed within a year. Later came the gospel-tinged Leap of Faith, based on the 1992 film starring Steve Martin as a faith-healing charlatan, and the stage version of the Whoopi Goldberg vehicle Sister Act (pictured below right).

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Interview: Opera and Theatre Director Luc Bondy

Jasper Rees

Last September Luc Bondy watched his name speed around the world, if not for the most desirable reasons. His Tosca opened the season at the Met, a more grounded, less opulent replacement for one of the opera house’s many much loved productions by Franco Zeffirelli. As Bondy walked onstage to take his directorial bow, a chorus of boos crescendoed from the audience.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Playwright David Greig

Hilary Whitney

A new play by David Greig opens at the Hampstead Theatre for the Royal Shakespeare Company next week. A theatre director as well as playwright, Greig (b. 1969) is one of the most prolific and artistically ambitious playwrights of his generation and a key figure in the current burgeoning of Scottish theatre. In addition to an extraordinarily diverse range of plays such as Europe (Traverse Theatre, 1994), The Cosmonaut’s Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former ...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Lesley Sharp

Matt Wolf

Lesley Sharp could be thought of as an actor's actor: a talent equally at home in theatre, cinema and TV who has been impressing audiences and critics regularly for a quarter-century without quite becoming a star name.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Playwright Roy Williams

aleks Sierz

Roy Williams is one of the most prolific, and most lauded, British playwrights. Born in Fulham, south-west London, in 1968, he had by his mid-30s already won a shelf-full of awards, to which he added an OBE in 2008. His debut, The No Boys Cricket Club, won the Writers’ Guild New Writer of the Year award in 1996. Two years later Starstruck won three major awards. In the early 2000s Lift Off and Clubland were also successes. In 2004 Williams won the first...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Playwright David Hare

Jasper Rees

David Hare (b. 1947) has had three distinct phases to his career as a playwright. In the 1970s he was a satirist of the agitprop movement whose plays (Slag, Knuckle) smacked of youthful belligerence.

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Q&A Special: Joe Orton's Sister

aleks Sierz

Play titles can acquire a life of their own. Playwright Joe Orton, who met a violent end in August 1967, didn’t have the chance to write the play that was to be called Prick Up Your Ears, but the title has lived on. And on. It was used by critic John Lahr for his 1978 biography of Orton, and by Stephen Frears for his 1987 film, which starred Gary Oldman. Now a new black comedy, written by Simon Bent and currently at the Comedy Theatre in the West End, uses the same title, with its...

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