American Theatre

American Theatre is a magazine containing news, features and opinions on American and international theatre. Published six times a year by the Theatre Communications Group, this periodical was founded in 1984.Subjects for American Theatre include drama and theatre. Nicole Estvanik Taylor is the Managing Editor and Jim O' Quinn is the Editor-in-Chief.

Articles from Vol. 28, No. 2, February

20 Questions: In Sarah Treem's the How and the Why, Premiering at New Jersey's McCarter Theatre Center through Feb. 13, Mercedes Ruehl Plays an Evolutionary Biologist Encountering a Fellow Scientist-The Daughter She Gave Up for Adoption 28 Years Ago
When you first read the play, what stood out? It went into rehearsal around Christmastime, and I live in East Hampton, N.Y., which is very far from the McCarter. But I read it, and the first thing I thought was: This is an uncommonly good role for...
50 Ways to Leave Your Torvald: As Times Change, So Does Ibsen's Landmark Vision of the Clash between the Sexes
"WHY, NORA, YOU'VE CHANGED!" Torvald Helmer is mildly surprised. He and his wife have come home from a late-night party and she has changed into street clothes rather than a nightdress. What's up? In short order, as he hears what Nora has to...
A Bomb Goes off in Hungary
IN MID-NOVEMBER, INTERNATIONALLY known Hungarian theatre and film director Janos Szasz woke up in Budapest to find his name and photograph posted on a wiki-style "Metapedia" list, on which more than 200 Hungarian public figures and artists are tagged...
Detroit
SETTING Not necessarily Detroit. However, we are in a "first ring" suburb outside of a mid-sized American city. These are the suburbs that comprise the first "ring" of houses outside the city proper. They were built perhaps in the late '50s, smaller...
Editor's Note
DATELINE: DETROIT. That's the first impression you get from this month's cover, with its comically impassioned scene from Lisa D'Amour's hot new play, named for the Motor City. And if D'Amour's wild-and-woolly script (page 63) doesn't tell you everything...
Ferdinand the Bull: Theatre IV
Susan Sanford, DIRECTION: I have a six-year-old and a three-year-old, so it's no surprise that we have a copy of Ferdinand the Bull at home--but the stage adaptation is quite different from the book. It expands on the story, sets it to music and adds...
Gottingen, Germany
Gottingen, Germany GOTTINGER FIGURENTHEATERTAGEN: Among the 17 (mostly German) puppet theatres at this 26-year-old festival will be Dorncrei Theater of Neustadt and Nuremberg's Fantasie Theater, combining forces to stage Melodien mit Marionetten,...
Her Body, Her Choice
I don't usually believe in autobiography as a good vehicle for art," says Chicago-based playwright Aline Lathrop. But an experience she had 20 years ago was the seed that blossomed into her latest play Bordello, which runs at Chicago Dramatists through...
In 1595, 'Prove' Rhymed with 'Love': How Do Scholars Know What Shakespeare Sounded like Originally? Should We Sound like That Too?
WHEN I READ PRONOUNCING SHAKESPEARE, David Crystal's highly entertaining account of the 2004 production of Romeo and Juliet in Original Pronunciation--OP, in shorthand--that he coached for Shakespeare's Globe in London, I knew I must someday direct...
In Cahoots with History: Writing a Civil War Drama, a Playwright Learns, Calls for More Than Diligent Scholarship
AS I SURVEYED THE STACKS AT MY LOCAL library, it seemed as if there'd been a million books written about the Civil War. Not a million, maybe, but a lot. The Alabama Shakespeare Festival had commissioned me to write a Civil War play. The parameters...
In Foote's Steps: An Actor Soaks in the Details of a Master Playwright's Texas Hometown
This spring in Texas, Dallas/Fort Worth arts organizations will join in a multidisciplinary celebration of the life and work of their state's late native son, Horton Foote. The major two-month festival (running March 14--May 1; for details see www.hortonfootefestival.com)...
Invention and Reinvention: An Interview with the Playwright
POLLY CARL: The first show of yours I saw was a large performance piece called Slabber, nothing at all like Detroit. This has been typical of your career: You do large, often site-specific performance pieces, then a play. How do you talk about this...
Mind the GAP
BERKELEY, CALIF.: Aurora Theatre Company artistic director Tom Ross has coined two new words: "GAP-able" and "non-GAP-able." Since founding his theatre's Global Age Project in 2006, Ross has come to define what shows do and don't belong in Aurora's...
Political Ambushes: A "Lost" British Drama and a New American Work Grapple with the Silence That Was the McCarthyite Blacklist
IN JOSEPH MCCARTHY'S TIME, THE BLACKLIST was a public spectacle. In ours, it is one of many unspoken state secrets, all the more lethal for being hidden from the public eye by advanced technologies of surveillance. Though the tools of repression are...
Repression and How to Fight It
JUST AS WE WERE ENDING 2010, SEVERAL troubling events transpired in the U.S. and abroad that highlighted the tenuous intersection among politics, religion, artists and free speech. In response, there were compelling displays of activism--efforts that...
Rock and Brimstone
A HEAVY METAL BAND REUNITES IN A BASEMENT room in Jersey to save their friend from hell--literally. But can these washed-up rockers strap on their guitars and face the music? That's the question in Marco Ramirez's smart and gripping Broadsword, getting...
Short Story Long
SAN FRANCISCO: Last December's issue of the quarterly literary journal McSweeney's was packaged in a 275-cubic-inch crate painted to resemble the nearly life-sized head ofa balding man. But the container wasn't the only novelty on offer in the 36th...
The Lake Effect: Southeast Michigan May Be Reeling from the Recession, but You'd Never Guess It from the Region's Thriving Theatre Scene
EXIT THE FREEWAY FOUR MILES FROM THE heart of downtown Detroit, and you'll pass boarded-up buildings--uninhabited apartment and office complexes, fire-damaged churches and banks, shut-down stores. But as you make your way through the neighborhoods,...
The Singular Laura Eason: How the Many Facets of One Theatre Artist-Adaptor, Actor, Artistic Director-Have Forged a Major Playwriting Voice
A pair of Ethans prowl Chicago stages this season. One is a hulking "ruin of a man" in his fifties, tending miserably to a sick wife and her poor relation in a crumbling rural farmhouse. The other is a glib, charming 24-year-old, umbilically attached...
The Tynan Bonus
THE ARTISTS BEHIND THE AMERICAN premiere of Tynan--playing at Washington, D.C.'s Studio Theatre until Feb. 6--have plenty of reverence for their subject, the late British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan. Director Paul Mullins calls him an "amazing creature."...
Turn That Frown Upside-Down: Making Lemonade Marketing out of the Occasional Sour Review
EVER BEEN INVOLVED WITH A SHOW THAT JUST couldn't get a break? I recall the first rehearsal of a play I once worked on, where the director impishly warned cast and crew, "This show is going to flop." Despite this caution masked as irony, we slaved...
Village Helios and Goodbyes
NEW YORK CITY: A roiling restoration drama came to a happy ending last December with the formal reopening of Greenwich Village's historic Province-town Playhouse, founded in 1918 by the likes of Eugene O'Neill and Susan Glaspell. The theatre went on...
Wonderful Tennessee
AUSTIN, TEX.: How Thomas Lanier Williams transformed himself into Tennessee Williams is the theme of the Harry Ransom Center's exhibition "Becoming Tennessee Williams," on view starting this month at the University of Texas at Austin. The retrospective,...