Syracuse Stage and SU Drama re-team for the seasonal pleasures of A Christmas Carol
One of the hallmarks of artistic director Timothy Bond’s era at Syracuse Stage is never taking the familiar for granted. The audience demand for Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol remains constant, just as it does for Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker or Handel’s Messiah. After a red-hot jalapeno like last month’s Wajdi Mouawad drama Scorched, people have the right to ask for comfort food, but not served with condescension.
January through August 2013
The Syracuse New Times Syracuse Area Live Theatre (S.A.L.T.) Awards are going through a "shakeup" this year! We've got a brand new Academy, a new nomination and voting process, and a new ceremony coming in November 2014! Under these new guidelines, the Academy is voting on shows between September and August of each season. To be sure we didn't forget anyone during these changes, below are the nominations for January through August 2013 (from the previous Academy). We will be contacting the winners very soon. Stay tuned to find out who won!
SU Drama probes the 1833 clashes of culture and language between Ireland and England in Brian Friels Translations
In the 800 years the English were running Ireland there were many rebellions by the natives, but the balmy summer of 1833 was a quiet time. In advance of building better roads and railroads, the redcoats in charge wanted to straighten out the map, especially to regularize the nearly unpronounceable poetic or folkloric names from the native Irish or Gaelic language. This had long been done willy-nilly, without regard to what the names meant. Thus Corcaig (“marsh”) became Cork, the southern seaport. Now the conversion would be massive, as every hillock and crossroads would be reformulated.
Life-size puppets are large and in charge for the upcoming production of War Horse
The blessed union of puppets and theater has been around for centuries, albeit mostly from the moppet viewpoint: Think of old Punch-and-Judy shows, or even Ed Sullivan bantering with Topo Gigio. While the relationship has taken occasional just-for-adult turns, especially concerning Avenue Q’s naughty take on Sesame Street, the art of stage puppetry reaches its summit with War Horse, the Tony Award-winning World War I spectacle co-presented by the National Theatre of Great Britain and South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, the latter responsible for the show’s astonishing life-size marionettes.
Rarely Done explores The World of Ray Bradbury, three tales from the famed sci-fi guy
In adapting three of his short stories for the stage, Ray Bradbury, the most poetic of all science fiction writers, relied on two strong advantages. All three are composed primarily of dialogue, which also proved useful when some of them were adapted to the television series, The Ray Bradbury Theater. Additionally, each playlet is structured as a mystery, but not a whodunit. We encounter recognizable types--two virile young men, a bourgeois family, or a cluster of street people--and we come to realize they are all in extraordinary circumstances. With them we have to figure out how to cope. As the conventions of science fiction require, all three are projections into the near future, but all wrestle with issues we know from our own lives.
Blood, bad men and betrayal mark the aftermath of a jewel heist gone sour in a stage version of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs
Most people think of Quentin Tarantino as a picture guy. In response, J. Brazill, the actor-turned-playwright and director, wants you to think of Tarantino as a word guy. His tribute adaptation of Tarantino’s breakout film Reservoir Dogs (1992) at Central New York Playhouse re-stages much of the action and follows the plotline fairly closely. Car chases and broken glass are gone. Tim Roth’s staring-down of a drug-sniffing police dog in a urinal is described rather than seen. Some of the violence is retained, with quantities of stage blood spilled. The show consists mostly of Tarantino’s dialogue, often profane, yes, but brimming with his characteristic brutal irony and wit.
Syracuse Stage presents Wajdi Mouawad’s ‘Scorched’
Syracuse Stage’s useful program notes for Wajdi Mouawad’s mind-blowing Scorched include Joseph Whelan’s cogent and lucid account of the Lebanese civil war from 1975 to 1990. Only no mention of Lebanon appears anywhere in the play’s nearly three hours of dialogue. Opposing sides in that war were composed of diverse and disparate forces usually labeled “Christian” and “Muslim” in the Western press. We never hear anything about religion or politics, and it takes 45 minutes before one character blesses herself with the sign of the cross.
Dead Man’s Cell Phone playing at Lemoyne College’s Coyne Center for the Performing Arts
In one of the better lines in Sarah Ruhl’s surreal comedy Dead Man’s Cell Phone, the mother of the deceased proclaims at his funeral, “You’ll never walk alone. That’s right, because you’ll always have a machine in your pants that might ring.”
A tippler and his invisible rabbit pal unleash loony laughs in Appleseed’s Harvey
Four years ago Steven Spielberg announced that he wanted to film a new version of Mary Chase’s 1944 comedy Harvey, still one of the longest-running non-musicals in Broadway history. The project stalled when Tom Hanks, Spielberg’s first choice for the lead role of Elwood P. Dowd, balked; Hanks said he did not want to walk in Jimmy Stewart’s shoes.
Four men come to grips with a long-ago incident of violence in Kitchen Theatre’s From White Plains
Aside from the rare golden one-liners from the likes of Maureen Stapleton or Daniel Day-Lewis, most Academy Awards acceptance speeches are rhetorical mush: “I wanna thank” to people you’ve never heard of. Writer-director Michael Perlman’s new play From White Plains, which opened off-Broadway just last February and is running at Ithaca’s Kitchen Theatre Company, posits that such an acceptance speech could be electrifying. When writer Dennis Sullivan (Karl Gregory) is rambling on about the reality of the suicide victim in his script, he lets slip the name of the long-ago high school bully who precipitated the death. Only, as we learn, the outing of the miscreant was no accident.