No matter how many Lady Macbeth I see go crazy, no matter how many Hamlet I watch with existential crisis, I am always the game for Shakespeare’s new productions. Continue: Call me old-fashioned.
So it’s a good thing that I’m a critic in a city where, in any given season, there’s a bunch of that old Elizabethan scribbler’s work. What interests me the most are the versions that match the text, updated to align with the director’s vision. Just like what Joel Coen did for the film, which is great in terms of his style and narrative.”Macbeth’s Tragedy,” and what Sam Gold is sure to do in a highly anticipated “Macbeth” coming up on Broadway. But that’s just the beginning.
At the top of my list this spring is “Fat Ham, “James Ijames’s Black, contemporary quirky take on “Hamlet” was first seen last year in Morgan Green’s filmed version for the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. In every Ijames play I’ve seen, he exhibits a sharp sense of dialogue and an ability to reveal the vulnerable sides of his characters alongside the anomalies. Ijames’ gripping screenplay turns the original text into a play that focuses on how sex and violence is talked about (or not spoken of) in certain corners of the Black community.
Saheem Ali will direct this produced by the National Black Theater and Public Theater, with previews slated to begin May 12. Ali is likely to bring his own flair to Ijames’ work; director who helped review several Shakespeare plays featuring black and brown casts (including “Happy wives“At Shakespeare in the Park last summer).
Across the East River in Brooklyn, the New Audience Theater offers a challenge.”Venetian merchant“Going to the Polonsky Shakespeare Center with its own twist: Black Actors John Douglas Thompson as Jewish Shylock. Like all “Merchant” stagnations, this production, which is slated to run through March 6, faced the obstacle of how to account for racism in the country. central to the text and how to navigate the play’s distinctive tone, which follows the format of a comedy but is filled with tragedy. Arin Arbus, who directs, creates a modern “Merchant” that interrogates the play’s problematic language and themes and introduces more nuance in the characters’ relationships. Issues of sexism and weirdness also surfaced along with a focus on race.
As well as recreating the text for Shakespeare with political leanings would be “Spiderwoman Theater’s”Sinful dream,” is scheduled to run at La MaMa from March 10 to 27. Native Americans were rarely performed in theatre, on or off stage. So, with a cast that includes 20 indigenous artists from the First Nations, this piece is already something of a novelty.
Inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – one of Shakespeare’s most enjoyable plays to produce, in my opinion, because of its multitude of magical opportunities – “A Sinful Dream” will uses whimsical Shakespeare’s original text to introduce audiences to magical native myths. Even if Robin Goodfellow wasn’t here to invite mischief into the lives of lovers and friends, there would be other crooks and spirits in his place.
Speaking of spirits, many of them hang out at the McKittrick Hotel, where Emursive’s famous Punchdrunk’s are made. “No more sleep” reopened this month after nearly two years of Covid shutdown. The long-running program that changed the game into immersive theater has made some of the changes needed in response to the pandemic: new masks, updated ventilation systems, and revised safety protocols. The space itself has also been created and redecorated for the audience to explore – that is, between chasing Macbeth through the wizarding organizations and the forest of prophecy.
Rounding out what will be a great couple of months for major seasons of Scottish plays, following the return of “Sleep No More” and Coen’s film, there will be a new “Macbeth” opening on Broadway. on April 28 at the Longacre Theatre. (The preview is set to begin on March 29.) Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga (who in 2020 starred in a “HamletAt St. Ann’s Warehouse) will lead a cross-cultural cast that includes Amber Grey, who will play the ill-fated Banquo. (This will be her first Broadway role in a long time playing beloved Persephone in “Hadestown.”)
It’s too early to say what else this production, directed by Sam Gold, will have to offer, but Gold is no stranger to Shakespeare, who has taken on some stunning productions with renowned stage talent. and screens, including Glenda Jackson in “King Lear“Oscar Isaac in”Hamlet“And Craig and David Oyelowo in”Othello. “We knew music would be on the menu; “Macbeth” will feature original music by singer-songwriter and violinist Gaelynn Lea.
Spring always has a lot to offer: movies, TV shows, art exhibitions and more. The theater, however, was the one that caught my attention the most—because, as the indecisive young Dane once said, “it’s the play that’s the thing.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/22/theater/shakespeare-theater-broadway-spring.html A Shakespeare’s Smorgasbord, with some new decorations