THE AЯTS makes you want to start a revolution. It’s a powerful wake-up call to take action. The urgent litany at the end of the play - “It’s time to save the NEA, we must save the NEA again,” has become an urgent mantra on repeat in my head since watching this vital production. We’re like frogs in a pot not realizing that the water is getting hotter. With so much political ‘drama’ coming out of Washington D.C., we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that real artists are losing funding. The National Endowment of the Arts is under threat
Pavla Niklova is the Executive director of the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation (VHLF) and Artistic Director of The Rehearsal for Truth Festival. I met with her in the Dvorak Room at The Bohemian National Hall to discuss the upcoming theater festival from September 25 – 29, 2018. The VHLF together with the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA), will partner with Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Slovak performing arts and cultural institutions to host the second year of a unique festival presenting the best in contemporary Central European theater. What gave you the idea to create The Rehearsal for Truth theater festival
What Would Tilda Swinton Do is an ode to the underground, to the spirit of hedonism and to the irrepressible urge to push conventional boundaries. It’s a personality driven performance art, musical, Venus flytrap. The cheeky exuberance of the four artists draws you into their vortex with the hypnotic, curled finger of Beelzebub. You are more than willing to jump on the back of their “Bikerbraut” vibrating machine and head off into the night on the strains of their “lazy punk” groove. What Would Tilda Swinton Do is what happens when actors, musicians, artists and outsiders climb into the king sized
Worse Than Tigers is a bone-chilling, panic-attack inducing, primal, bloody, life resuscitator…and its funny. It’s a theatrical “Black Mirror”. What happens when we anesthetize ourselves from all of our feelings, cauterize all emotions and live in a “safe” controlled, flatlined existence? Will our demons and dark sides make their presence felt at all costs? Will emotions literally coming knocking at our door? This play is a discourse on the repercussions of repressing all “negative” feelings. It’s sneaky. It engages your intellect with complex, clever, funny dialogue revealing marital detachment, and then it pounces like a stalking animal that’s been biding
You’ll LOVE it! It’s Meredith Monk meets Laurie Anderson meets Urban Word meets Meryn Cadell meets Spalding Gray to create a spoken word duet that riffs on where we seek, find and lose love. It is a wellspring of tender and feisty fragments of Love stories in all of its guises. Vichet Chum and Laura Gragtmans’ work epitomizes good old fashioned great storytelling with an atmospheric, original underscore that transforms the heartbeat of inner anxiety and desire into sound waves, rhythms and repetitions. It’s a happy marriage of “wordsmithing” and technology, visual dazzle and aural titillation, skilled performers and onstage chemistry.
In 1963, Peter Hall and John Barton crafted a defining trilogy - The Wars of the Roses, out of the texts of Richard III and the three parts of Henry VI. It was a production that would bring global attention to the newly formed Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2015, director Trevor Nunn attempted a similar feat with his production of The Wars of the Roses which was a 9-hour experience of these four plays, that took place on an entire Saturday. In Austin Pendleton’s 2018 production of Wars of the Roses: Henry VI & Richard III he compresses Henry VI part 3
The Hole is one of the most powerful productions I have ever seen. I know in the future when this show achieves its meteoric success, I will remember fondly that I got to see its magnificence before the ticket prices were Hamilton impossible. It’s that perfect confluence of a sagacious playwright, astounding performers and an intuitive director. I was totally absorbed in every single moment, character transformation and life lesson – I was literally on the edge of my seat, craning forward towards the action, unable to look away. Zhailon Levingston has written this piece in the blood of our time.
Brand New Jew, A DNA Comedy presents a clever and relevant premise – what would you do if your DNA ancestry test turns up information that forces you to fundamentally change your belief systems and world view? Monica Bauer poses this fascinating question in her pithy one-woman solo show. She is an adopted child who was raised in a staunch Catholic, Polish family with an anti-Semitic father. Her DNA ancestry test reveals that she is 71% Jewish with “family” having died in the Holocaust. She strives to fathom the best route to reconcile these different cultural and religious aspects of
Vivian’s Music, 1969 is a sensuous, intoxicating experience. It is inspired by a tragic true story that leaves you feeling bereft. This production doesn’t require any additional bells and whistles. The text and the performances are so rich, complex, layered and absorbing you really don’t need any further embellishments. This magical piece is on its way to the the Edinburgh festival where productions famously have about 8 minutes to “get-in” i.e. no time for elaborate sets, costumes, lightings etc. It is vital for a theater company to strip down the staging to its bare bones whilst maintaining a mighty punch.
Dear Diary LOL is the funniest show I have seen in ages. I was laughing like a hyena, snorting my fruit punch out of my nose and slapping my plus-one with the demented fervor of an overzealous evangelist. It’s all due to the verbatim diary entries of six tween-teens from the late 90s/early 2000s. These women willingly offered up their younger selves’ musings to lead artist, Francesca Montanile Lyons of the Antigravity Performance Project, to create this compelling gem. Francesca Montanile Lyons mined her own middle school diary and those of her willing friends – Megan Thibodeaux, Alicia Crosby, Nikki Hudgins,