Archive | Shakespeare

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Report: ‘Justice for Shylock’ at the Library of Congress

The verdict is in: Shylock–the Jewish moneylender whose trial is detailed in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice–has been exonerated. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg presided over the appeal, which was held at the Library of Congress and timed to coincide with its exhibition marking the 500th anniversary of the Ghetto. Shylock himself was portrayed by […]

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Review: ‘The Tempest’ at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

Shakespeare in the park is a long-held American tradition. From venues in places such as New York City’s Central Park and Washington, DC’s Carter Barron Amphitheater, watching the Bard’s works under the stars is a summertime treat. Since 2003, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (CSC) has produced their version of that pastime, “Shakespeare in the Ruins” at […]

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Dangereuse: ‘King Lear’ at WSC Avant Bard

King Lear has sometimes been called the Everest of classical acting. Every great Shakespearean actor must sooner or later face the physically and emotionally exhausting task of playing the part. Some simply give up.  Albert Finney, when asked, is reported to have said; “Oh God, eight shows a week doing Lear – no, no, no.” […]

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Kurt Elftmann as Richard III. Photo courtesy of Annapolis Shakespeare Company.

Review: ‘Richard III’ at Annapolis Shakespeare Company

Annapolis Shakespeare Company’s production of Richard III is a darkly compelling piece of theater. Directed by Donald Hicken, it strips the stage of all but a few props, allowing great acting and directing, as well as creative lighting, to tell the story of a madman’s rise to power. Even those familiar with Shakespeare’s play will […]

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Dangereuse: ‘A Macbeth for the 21st Century’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company

Samuel Taylor Coleridge said that seeing Edmund Kean play Shakespeare was like “reading Shakespeare by flashes of lightning.” Acclaimed Director Liesl Tommy brings us Shakespeare torn asunder by gunfire. It is a blazingly original concept. The production is part of the “Clarice Smith Series: New Directors for the Classics” at Shakespeare Theatre Company. What happens […]

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Review: ‘Macbeth’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company

Blood will have blood—so go the grim words of Macbeth as it dawns on him that murder is not as simple as he once thought. When it comes to battling and bloodshed, Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production delivers. But rather than depicting kings and battles from Shakespeare’s day, Tony-award-winning director Liesl Tommy has turned this story […]

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Review: ‘Henry V’ at We Happy Few Productions

What’s the impact of war on the common man? Do the sins of leaders trickle down to their soldiers? Is patriotism dead? What does it mean to be a leader? These are just some of the themes explored in William Shakespeare’s Henry V. Featuring Kerry McGee’s boundary-breaking direction, intriguing performances, fierce stage combat, and rousing […]

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Review: ‘King Lear’ at George Washington University

Director Leslie Jacobson has book-ended Shakespeare’s dark tragedy King Lear with lyrical and lovingly-lit tableaux of the mad king’s court as if in a fairy-tale photo op—Lear regal on his throne, his daughters adoring at his feet, his subjects surrounding him smiling ear to ear. These are before-and-happily-ever-after snapshots that would be perfect for a […]

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Christopher Garofalo, John Williams, Lee Cortopassi and Ashton Carter. Photo by Shawn May.

Review: ‘Love’s Labor’s Lost’ at Quintessence Theatre Group

Quintessence Theatre Group brings William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost, as directed by Alexander Burns, vibrantly to life with spectacular staging, scintillating costumes and a sparkling cast. The King of Navarre, Ferdinand (Lee Cortopassi), has convinced his complement of Lords – Berowne (John Williams), Longaville (Ashton Carter) and Dumaine (Christopher Garofalo) – to swear off women […]

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Mary Lee Bednarek and Robert Lyons. Photo by Mark Garvin.

Review: ‘Coriolanus’ at Lantern Theater

Coriolanus is one of Shakespeare’s least-performed plays – probably because it doesn’t fit easily into any of the standard Shakespearean categories. It’s a tragedy, but one without the epic sweep of Othello, Hamlet or Macbeth. Those shows earned their fame by grappling with huge issues and significant figures; Coriolanus deals more with the concerns of the […]

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Review: ‘Henry V’ at Cohesion Theatre Company

I was a bit skeptical when I first heard about Cohesion Theatre Company (“Cohesion”) setting its production of Shakespeare’s Henry V in Appalachia, smack dab in the middle of the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys. But then I remembered that this is Cohesion. Last year, Director/Co-Founder Alice Stanley set Hamlet in grunge-era Seattle and […]

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The Subplot Quickens: A Q&A with Michelle Beck About Her Remarkable Role in ‘King Charles III’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company

I greatly admired both the writing and the acting in Shakespeare Theatre Company production of Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III, but to be honest it was the character of Jessica and Michelle Beck’s performance in it that knocked me out most of all. I remember walking out of the Sidney Harman Hall wanting to see […]

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Review: ‘King Charles III’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company

The Ghost in the Machine Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III premiered in 2014, at London’s Almeida Theatre. Both the original production and the Broadway production won numerous awards. This new version, presented by the Shakespeare Theatre Company, is a breathtaking achievement. When the magical name of Diana is first invoked, a hush comes over the […]

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Review: ‘Richard III’ at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

It’s notable that a play based on England’s War of the Roses has many parallels to power plays that take place today, both in everyday life and TV and film. Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s (CSC) Richard III, directed by that company’s Founding Artistic Director Ian Gallanar, is a perfect dramatic storm of great acting, dynamic visuals, […]

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