August 2, 2016 |
Actors in Elizabethan theater companies always kept multiple roles in their heads, because these troupes performed multiple plays within a short period of time. Actors learned their lines in advance, rehearsed for a few days, and let it fly. The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival recreates that hurried excitement in their current production of Love's Labour's Lost . Rehearsing for just a few days without the aid of a director, the actors stage an electrifying show that is a cross between Shakespeare and the improvisational comedy of Chicago's Second City.
June 22, 2016 |
How do we explain the meteoric rise of Donald Trump on the political stage? The GOP political hopeful has been able to translate his remarkable pop-culture appeal into electoral power. Forget the polls and the pundits. Perhaps the best way to understand is to watch Shakespeare's tale of another man who entered politics after first becoming an immensely popular cult figure: Julius Caesar. It just so happens that one of the best Shakespeare companies in the country, will premiere a new production of Julius Caesar on Wednesday on the campus of DeSales University in Lehigh County.
August 1, 2015 |
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The big Shakespeare pilgrimage of the summer would seem to be to the Druid Theatre Company's marathon performances of Shakespeare's "second tetralogy," a saga of English monarchs and wars from Richard II to Henry V imported from Ireland to the Lincoln Center Festival. Yet there's an equal impetus to travel the opposite direction, from Philadelphia to DeSales University in Center Valley, where the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival offers Henry V through Sunday: How often is the same play such a thoroughly different experience?
July 22, 2014 |
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The irresistibly gothic side of Shakespeare's Macbeth arrived in stark, stylish form in Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival's newly minted production, occupying a Germanic industrial chic netherworld with fuzz-box guitar for sonic atmosphere, and excellent actors who made sure the external packaging never existed for its own sake. Director Patrick Mulcahy and designer Bob Phillips walked a line between expressionism and abstraction with a clean, open stage and series of panels suggesting chain-link fence as designed by Versace that could double as forests, as well as a curtain separating the temporal from the supernatural.
July 28, 2013 |
Let's be honest: Henry VIII isn't one of Shakespeare's greatest works, which might be why Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival chose to make it their third "extreme Shakespeare" effort. Many scholars believe the play isn't even entirely his, but rather the result of a collaboration between him and his eventual King's Men theater company successor, John Fletcher. But, as it's essentially an exploration of the events leading up to the birth of Shakespeare's most important benefactor, Queen Elizabeth I - back when royal births changed the course of history - it's certainly worth its historical weight (even if, despite its alternative title, All Is True , much is anachronistic)
July 27, 2012
A story Thursday on the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival's production of King John gave the wrong opening date. The play opened Thursday. The Inquirer wants its news report to be fair and correct in every respect, and regrets when it is not. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, contact assistant managing editor David Sullivan (215-854-2357) at The Inquirer, Box 8263, Philadelphia 19101, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
July 27, 2012 |
'Lord, what fools these mortals be!" Shakespeare writes in A Midsummer Night's Dream , and given how he operated in the theater of his day, he could have been referring to the way plays are done today. A costume designer!? Whoever heard of such a thing? Someone to plan . . . what is that word . . . lighting ? Preposterous! And what is this director? Another foolish piece of nonsense, methinks. The theater now has plenty of, as producers say, "creative-team members," but even the idea of a director would have been foreign before the 19th century.
July 25, 2012 |
Here's something that might happen with a play, but not with a movie: You go to see it again and because of a different interpretation, or the way an ensemble clicks, or maybe a fresh staging that literally moves the play in a new direction, it's as if you've never seen it before. The production you're watching has given it a new and different life. That's what's happening at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, where Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof , an American classic, is playing out as if our besotted, bewitched, and brilliant playwright of the last century had written it last night.
July 17, 2012 |
Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare's comedy built on trickery at every turn, is much ado about making good theater at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, where it opened Friday night in a greatly entertaining production. James J. Christy's version sweeps fluidly through the plot, one of Shakespeare's simplest, which he spun by getting extra mileage out of a successful play he'd already created — The Taming of the Shrew. Acrimonious lovers do well on stage, he'd found, and he set up Much Ado's Beatrice and Benedick as bickering opposites who have known each other for a long time and eventually come to see that they're not so opposite after all — but only after they're tricked into it, each being falsely told of the other's secret passion.
August 5, 2011
Theater Broadway on Main A cast of Upper Darby High School alumni perform hits from Broadway shows. Closes 8/6. Act II Playhouse, 56 E. Butler Ave., Ambler. $20; $15 students and seniors. Cape May Stage: Steel Magnolias Six women share gossip & cope with life's ups & downs at a small-town hair salon. Closes 9/10. Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Bank & Lafayette Sts., Cape May; Box Office: 609-884-1341. $35-$50; $30-$50 seniors; $12.50-$50 students. iChoose2live: Popular Drama about what some people are willing to pay to achieve popularity.