The Accidental Futurist Ensemble: SITI Company’s “The Medium” at BAM

The year is 1993: Bill Clinton becomes president of the US; the World Trade Center is bombed by Islamic Fundamentalists; the FBI raids Branch Davidians, a religious cult in Waco, TX; Russia and the US sign a treaty; an earthquake and tsunami devastate Japan; brush fires ravage Australia; ethnic fighting causes turmoil in Bosnia; Ty introduces plush toys called Beanie Babies; the tech company Intel launches its Premium Processor. And an ensemble-based theater company called SITI Company devises the play The Medium in Toga-Mura, Japan. The Medium returns almost 30 years later to BAM Fisher, Fishman Space from March 15-20. As Shakespeare

Interview with Daniel Alexander Jones

The transcendent Black Queer Artist Daniel Alexander Jones (aka DAJ) puts his “slashes” to good use. The multi-hyphenated artist is having a very busy 2021. He’s had a book release, a podcast, a Howlround, and Christmas show, Jomama Jones’s Celestial Holiday Spectacular on December 3rd at New York Live Arts all in one season.  I first encountered DAJ in his luminous performance as Jomama Jones in Blacklight. I was immediately transfixed by his mystical charms, chameleon-like abilities, extraordinary talent, and tender vulnerability that brought the cosmic character of Jomana Jones down to earth. Reading his recently published collection of plays and performances,

SHEEP #1: Tiny Toys Captivate Hearts at Japan Society

There comes the point in life when one embarks on a Hero’s Journey toward self-discovery and finding the meaning of life. In the case of SHEEP #1, now playing at Japan Society through November 7, that remarkable journey belongs to a tiny plastic sheep toy.  NYC-based Japanese artist Sachiyo Takahashi creates a unique, imaginative world and theatrical experience through her “Microscopic Live Cinema-Theatre,” a real-time manipulation of miniature objects projected on a screen with silent dialogue and live musical accompaniment.  The result is a performance that is extraordinarily tender, whimsical, and perspective-shifting. Inanimate objects become sentient beings with complex desires, interactions 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

Theater Markers Summit 2020 Offers Investigation & Inspiration Amid Uncertainty

Over a weekend and one bonus day, 103 theater professionals from Broadway, the USA, and worldwide assembled virtually for the most well-attended Theater Makers Summit in the event’s history. Participants from NYC, across the USA, and globally were eagerly hoping to glean some spark of light in a very dark year for the theater industry. The Summit was hosted on the app and web service Whova, which enabled more direct interaction than possible with an in-person event. The community chat rooms, comments, and direct messaging were all abuzz with energetic chatter and networking attempts throughout the Summit. Another benefit provided by the

Radical Adaptations of Dracula & Frankenstein Ignite Classic Stage Company

For as many adaptations and interpretations as there are of the classic gothic horror novels Frankenstein and Dracula, it is hard to imagine two more creative, unique, radical and timely works that deal with the well-known tales and characters than the pair playing in a repertory cycle at Classic Stage Company (CSC). They are also strikingly contrasting works. Both are deeply engaging, provocative and compelling explorations of the source material -- each of which was written in the 1800s, one slightly predating the other near the end of the Victorian era. They remind the audience of timeless themes investigated in

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

The Mobile Unit’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The PUBLIC Theater

Though some of the fantastical fairies and magically made-up men and women may have hung up their glittery wings and cast off their gilded lids and long lashes on November 1st, the true enchantment continues through November 17th at the Public Theater with The Mobile Unit’s playful production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This costumed comedy of trickery is the perfect treat for the post-Halloween season. And, thanks to the mission of The Mobile Unit (a reinvention of the “Mobile Theater” originally founded in 1957 by Joe Papp) that art should be free and accessible to everyone -- the

One Thousand Nights and One Day at A.R.T/New York Theatres presented by Prospect Theater Company

Humankind is made up of stories: the stories we tell others, those we tell ourselves, our version of the story, and even history is only a series of stories stamped with a seal of approval to be considered by the ruling power as “the truth,” though it is no more than yet another observation or opinion on what transpired. Stories have the ability to make us -- for they are the foundation where legends and heroes are born. But they also have the power and capacity to break us and tear us apart from our own kind, to separate us

From the Horse’s Mouth: A Celebration of Egyptian Dance in All its forms and Traditions

The evening begins with an invocation to Egyptian goddess Hathor, praising her as “mistress of dance,” and “lady of jubilation.” But the woman who takes the stage is more evocative of Egyptian goddess Bastet with feline features and a catlike stride. Her stature barely surpasses 5 feet and yet she commands the entire space of the Theater at the 14th Street Y with her stately presence. This is Magda Saleh, the woman of honor and inspiration for this week long series of events and performances celebrating Egyptian dance, “in all its forms and traditions.” Ms. Saleh sets the tone with an

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