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Dance: ‘Four Quartets’ at Bard/Summerscape

T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) has the pride of place among Dead White Authors.  His posh boarding school, Ivy League and ex-pat background makes him untouchable in English departments and on bloggie lists of "GREATEST WRITERS EVER."  Still, there are times when the heart of even an overrated writer's work created at the expense of a mentally-ill first wife is laid bare.  Thanks to choreographer Pam Tanowitz and her company, composer Kaija Saariaho, artist Brice Marden, musicians of The Knights and most of all actress Kathleen Chalfant, Eliot's Four Quartets's is not for post-docs alone.  It is unfortunate that there were only three performances of this

Dance: The Joyce Ballet Festival

The annual Joyce Ballet Festival showcases the incredibly high level and high-energy of American ballet.  This is a time of reflection, renewal and reconfiguration in ballet, and the two companies described here are conduits of that positive change. Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami (June 26-27) Ballet may never rate as high as Disneyland, but Miami now has two major dance companies  Dimensions Dance Theatre, founded in 2016 by former Miami City Ballet married principles Carlos Guerra and Jennifer Kronenberg, opened The Festival on June 26.  Founded in 2016, the company's gifted, personable dancers have already mastered an eclectic repertory. Guerra and Kronenberg themselves

Dance: Sarah Lane’s debuts her Kitri in ABT’s ‘Don Quixote’ at the Metropolitan Opera House

One way of defining a performance is that it is an experience of shared hopes between artists and their audience.  Sometimes the final result exceeds the good wishes and anticipation.  That's what happened during the Saturday, June 30 matinee of Don Quixote when American Ballet Theatre Principal Sarah Lane resoundingly danced her first Kitri, one of ballet's most difficult and fun roles. What made Lane's debut memorable has a great deal to do with Marius Petipa's boisterous 1869 ballet and Alexander Gorsky's 1902 dance-as-drama re-staging of it (ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie and Ballet Mistress Susan Jones based their 1995 production

Theatre: HERE’s Dream Music Puppertry Program presents ‘American Weather’

  A steel hula hoop spins.  When if falls it becomes a container.  Then the container's soft outer lining forms, depending on one's point of view, a bed, boat or coffin.  Deliberate randomness forms the strong visual story told by Chris Green's American Weather at HERE's Dorothy B.Williams Theatre. Thanks to Green and his collaborator's masterful multidisciplinary combination of puppetry, video, song, verse and live action, American Weather's barometer reads division.  This self-contained stage storm is played out across a picket fence with sharp edges.  Katie Melby is the slow-moving soul in front of the fence/screen and a puppet costumed as a fencer in back of it. The

Theatre: Elevator Repair Service performs Kate Scelsa’s “Everyone’s Fine with Virginia Woolf” at Abrons Art Center

  Playwright Kate Scelsa and her Elevator Repair Service colleagues are completely at ease with Everyone's Fine with Virginia Woolf, a raucous re-imagining of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  George and Martha, perennial frontrunners for the unhappiest theatrical couple of all time, keep the gin, insults and laughs coming at Abrons Art Center. One is hard-pressed to find humor in Albee's peak into a marriage whose only common ground is destruction.  The 1962 Tony winner is also something of a sacred cow because with the right actors (Liz and Dick in Mike Nichols' 1966 film, the 2005 Broadway revival starring Kathleen Turner

Theatre: What Will the Neighbors Say presents ‘The Diana Tapes’ at HERE

During Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's touching marriage ceremony, cable hosts and invited "experts" still called his parents' nuptials "the wedding of the (20th) century."  Among the embarrassing lack of research (identifying celebrity guests but not most of Harry's extended family or cellist Sheku Kanneh-Maso and the music he played), the worst was insisting that the July 1981 wedding was romantic.  Both then and now, the event watched by millions reveals a very nervous teenager who on that day became so famous that she would be known by her first name.  A defining chapter of Diana's life is the subject

Theatre: Isabella Rossellini’s ‘Link Link Circus’ at BAC

  Fans of Isabella Rossellini's Green Porno will love Link Link Circus, her "from the waist up" follow-up at the Baryshnikov Arts Center.  So will animal lovers, TED Talk types and theatergoers with a sense of humor. Surrounded by her collection of wooden and wind-up childhood toys, Rossellini is the ringleader/lecturer (is there really any difference?) sharing her love and knowledge of animals.  Unlike certain celebrity activists, she practices what she preaches with an Master's Degree in Animal Behavior - hence the Link Link  - from Hunter College.  Then along with her honorary PhD from the University of Quebec at Montreal, she is

For the Weekend: ‘Wind-Up Variations’ written and starring the New York Neo-Futurists

Do you like unicorns?  Baked goods?  Balloons?  That and more is packed into the New York Neo-Futurists' Wind-Up Variations at the Kraine Theatre, which winds up its brief run at The Kraine Theatre this Saturday. Written and directed by Rob Neill, the story is ostensibly about the quartet pictured above.  Wind-Up Monkey (spirit animal of Daniel Mirsky) is finds himself alone following an unspecified disaster.  Along the way he encounters a Dinosaur (spirit animal of Ayun Halliday), Robot (Spirit Animal of Eevin Hartsough) and Unicorn (Spirit Animal of T Thompson).  Their journey is interrupted by their human counterparts talking over each other,

Theatre: Two Local Festivals Celebrate Ancient Greek Theatre

Despite their rigid structure, Ancient Greek plays resonate in whatever era they are presented. Gods and demigods dealt with the same jealousy, conflict, passion, and humor mortals encounter in the real world.  These powerful emotions are the centerpieces of two festivals:  The Third Annual Onassis  Festival, "Birds: A Festival Inspired by Aristophanes", offers Nikos Karathanos’s magical production of the comedy at Brooklyn co-producer St. Anne's Warehouse, and The Seeing Place Theater's "Whistleblower Series" at the Lower East Side Paradise Factory features Brandon Walker's timely and provocative recreation, The People vs. Antigone. "Where are the birds?"  Pisthetaerus (Nikos Karathanos) and Euelpides (Aris Servetails) ask each

Music: Exploring the Sights and Sounds of ‘Symphonie Fantastique’

Recently, two opportunities arose to hear Hector Berlioz's "Symphonie Fanstatique" within days of each other.  This isn't surprising - it's been a crowd pleaser since its 1830 premiere .  With that also comes with a lot of  "over"s" as in over-programmed and overwrought.  Happily, both Bard College's Orchestra Now (TŌN ) conducted by Music Director/College President Leon Botstein at Lincoln Center's Frederick P Rose Hall and Basil Twist's landmark abstract puppet ballet at HERE encouraged audiences to forget everything they thought they knew about this music to discover it for themselves.  Their thoughtful invitations to do so succeeded. Limited program notes made

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