Madeline Sayet’s WHERE WE BELONG at the Public Theater

Theatre-maker Madeline Sayet straddles many identities that often contrast and sometimes conflict. She's half Mohegan (on her mother's side) and half Jewish (on her father's side). Sayet is also an actress/director and an academic who found joy and solace in escaping through Shakespeare. But she can't shake the painful scars of colonialism that haunts her people's present and flavors their future, where erasure is imminent if the next generation doesn't keep the Mohegan language and traditions alive. It's a heavy burden for a young woman searching for her place in this world and a sense of belonging. In her solo show,

Public Works’ Musical Adaptation of “As You Like It”: Free Shakespeare in the Park

The 60th anniversary of The Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park series was memorable. It opened with risk and ended with a reward. The first of the two productions for summer 2022 was Richard III, directed by Robert O'Hara and starring Danai Gurira in the title role. It seemed to be the summer of Richard III, and the choices made by The Public's version and other productions worldwide (notably in Canada and the UK) were the source of many conversations, press articles, and hot debates.  In contrast, it's hard to imagine anything but praise for the delightful, exuberant modern musical

Fat Ham at The Public Theater: Succulent Joy Triumphs Over Tragedy

  For a play premiering on Memorial Day weekend, what could feel more festive than a family gathering at a backyard barbecue served with a side of Shakespeare, a heaping portion of pop culture references, simmered in family drama, seasoned with violence and a dash of glitter to taste? Ay, there's the spice rub! Shakespeare's plays have had many adaptations and updated versions that take creative licenses with the Bard's works and themes. A favorite choice is the tale of the brooding, tragic prince with intense and questionable family dynamics. The Guardian recently published a piece examining the obsession that dramatists of stage and

Under the Radar Festival 2021: Re-envisioned Virtually

It’s 2021. We made it. Now what? For those of us fortunate enough to have survived (though not without scars) the year that no one could have imagined, we enter the new year less naive and more prepared for the unexpected.  Fortunately, one of the annual delights that kicks off each January with surprisingly fresh performances from local artists and exciting international companies has returned. The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival is back for its 17th triumphant year, albeit differently than before. Like everything else, the festival’s offerings are confined to virtual viewings and one very personal phone call.  The artists

Under the Radar Festival: THE UNKNOWN DANCER IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

When the lights come up, one immediately observes what could only be a silverback gorilla. The gait, the strut, the way he pounds his chest and paces the stage -- anyone who has seen a nature film or visited a zoo would find these distinctive characteristics undeniable. But why is he there, what is this about? Suddenly and unexpectedly, after the attendees have spent some time with the ape, the performer morphs into a couple, then an obnoxious and rowdy child, followed by a gentle yet absent-minded mother, a passionate but perturbed photographer and, finally, an annoyed older man. This

Mobile Unit’s THE TEMPEST at The Public Theater

The stormy start to May has served as a fitting setting for the debut of The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, that washed up on its home shores near Astor Place after a three-week, 17 stop tour to correction facilities, homeless shelters, libraries and community centers across all five boroughs of New York City. The Mobile Unit really puts the “public” in The Public Theater, whose prestigious productions continue to sell out, garner audience and critical praise and conquer both the commercial (anyone heard of a little historical musical about a dead politician called Hamilton?) and

SOCRATES at THE PUBLIC THEATER

Lecture, exhortation, dissertation, harangue. These are all synonyms for “talking”, which is what the subject of actor/director/playwright Tim Blake Nelson’s new play Socrates --- now playing at The Public Theater extended through June 2nd as the anchor of Onassis USA Festival 2019: Democracy is Coming --- is best known for. In fact, he made a life, death and immortality out of being a relentless orator, so much so that a man born in 470 B.C.E. is still a topic of modern tongues and his tradition of thought, theories and philosophies are taught as required curriculum at any liberal arts school

Mobile Unit: Henry V at The Public Theater

At any given moment in a theatrical season, it is likely there is a Shakespearean production being performed in both major and minor theatres and cities across the English-speaking world. The Bard’s relentless staying power is undeniable. But how do modern companies keep the work fresh and relevant, particularly the Histories, many of which are set in times, places and about people which seem to bear little significance on contemporary life in America? One simple answer is that at the root of all of these stories lie rich, complex and utterly human characters whose grappling with their struggles and delights in their

Top