Drama versus Tyranny

By |2019-04-06T22:49:39-05:00April 6th, 2019|

Going to the theatre is not a means of escaping from the “real world” and all its problems; nor is it a purely passive activity, or merely recreational, as in watching a ball game. Or at least it needn’t be, and sometimes shouldn’t be. Great drama—great art—can edify. It can enlighten; it can lift us [...]

The Underground Shakespeare

By |2018-12-22T09:16:58-05:00December 21st, 2018|

Despite their obscurity, The Rape of Lucrece and Venus and Adonis were Shakespeare’s best-sellers. But why were these poems so wildly popular? In Shadowplay—her first book about the secret messages in Shakespeare’s plays—Clare Asquith explains what sparked first her imagination and then her research: In the early 1980s she and her husband attended a [...]

Madness and Death: Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck”

By |2018-07-14T22:11:46-05:00July 14th, 2018|

Alban Berg's Wozzeck (first premiered in 1925) tells the story of a man who is slowly breaking due to insanity. Let us draw our attention to Act III Scene IV of the opera. In this late scene, extreme musical conventions accelerate the story and seem to lead the deranged titular character to his death. The [...]

“The Silver Tassie”: Ireland & the Great War

By |2018-03-16T23:14:47-05:00March 16th, 2018|

Sean O’Casey’s play The Silver Tassie will grow in significance in the years ahead because it is a mirror that is now being held up to modern Ireland—a country which, like the crippled hero of the piece, can no longer cope with platitudes and half-truths, but which has also lost faith in its former [...]

The World’s a Stage: The Drama of Faith

By |2019-04-18T10:51:02-05:00September 15th, 2017|

Shakespeare shows us that there are none so blind as those who will not see because they prefer the darkness of sin to the light of virtue… All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays [...]

Minding Malvolio: Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”

By |2017-07-28T22:07:38-05:00July 28th, 2017|

The ancient Catholic world was rich, colorful, and full of ritual and rumbustiousness. It was the culture of the rough and tumble, blood and glory, lusting and loving, fasting and feasting of the lives of the English people… I was introduced to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night when I was a college freshman. Having learned to [...]

The Absurdity of Modern American Theater: A Call for Rebirth

By |2018-12-07T16:40:12-05:00June 27th, 2017|

The theater of modern America loves to shock but has overdone the trick so often that our nerves are jaded and immune to further outrage. The New York stage must be allowed to dry up and blow away, creating space for a rebirth… To act out, in concert, before an audience, an interpretation of [...]

Word Made Flesh: Death Comes Alive in New York City

By |2017-06-13T14:31:13-05:00June 13th, 2017|

There is one rite of passage which we can still expect with absolute certainty, regardless of whether we are old or young, and for which we need to prepare on a daily basis, and that is Death, the one unavoidable last rite of passage from this life into what comes after… Most rites of [...]

Cyrano de Bergerac: The Man Behind the Nose

By |2014-11-08T19:08:48-05:00November 8th, 2014|

I was first captivated by the story of Cyrano de Bergerac when I had a bit part in a college production of Edmund Rostand’s famous play. For those who are unfamiliar, Cyrano de Bergerac is a swashbuckling poet with a monstrous nose—a character who makes more enemies than friends and who practices swordplay and [...]

Is American Theater Really Dead?

By |2014-02-06T14:41:28-05:00June 15th, 2013|

Bank of America Theatre Did anybody catch the 2013 Tony Awards? I thought so. Actually, I didn’t watch the whole thing either. And I don’t think we missed much. The spectacle was largely banal and the nominated plays and players, for all I knew them, could have come from the Kabuki Theater. [...]