We travel the globe, taking you to wherever there’s great theater. We’ll go behind the scenes at the Bertolt Brecht Theatre in Berlin, consider the playwrights and productions emerging from Garry Hynes’ astonishing Galway-based Druid Theatre and from London’s famously radical Royal Court Theatre, and look at the bold changes at the Comedie Francaise under its new artistic director. We’ll explore the innovations at the Moscow Art Theatre, track the consequences of the Belarus Free Theatre’s sustained challenge to the state dictatorship, look at the dangerous dramas of Chile’s Teatro en el Blanco, and let you know when and where you can see the wide-ranging work we explore.
HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES:
The Appleby Horse Fair is an annual event where thousands of Irish Travellers and Gypsies gather in northwest England to embrace their sense of belonging and ancestry. The fair's roots trace back to the 1700s, and horses remain the central focus, with races, parades, and buying and selling taking place. Life has been challenging for these communities in England, facing poverty, poor health, and discrimination. During the festival, Appleby transforms into a bustling town hosting up to 30,000 visitors, with a lively and sometimes rowdy atmosphere. The fair provides an opportunity for the community to live their traditions and reconnect with family and friends. It is a cherished event, and despite challenges, the sense of belonging and tradition makes it a special experience for those who attend.
HAVANA, CUBA Teatro El Publico, helmed by provocative director Carlos Diaz, is known for its subversive and theatrical stagings of classics. Based in Havana, Cuba, they recently opened their adaption of Antigone, Antigonón, un contingente épico, to rave reviews at The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival after touring around the U.S. In May, they revived their acclaimed interpretation of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant for the first time since its premiere in Cuba in 2008. This unconventional production featured three male actors playing female characters and was performed at home in Havana as well as Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center. We meet up with director Carlos Diaz to ask about the challenges of premiering the same production in drastically different venues.
VINCENNES, FRANCE Just outside Paris, in the forest of Vincennes, is the home base of Theatre du Soleil, world-renowned company established by Ariane Mnouchkine the magnetically compelling inquirer into the possibilities of theater to illuminate every aspect of the human condition. On a rare visit to the U.S. in 2009, Theatre du Soleil elicited 20 minute standing ovations from audiences who did not want to step outside the circle of communal truth the troupe’s seven hour, two-cycle performance of Les Ephemeres had created. Paris-based journalist Doreen Carvajal, talks with Mnouchkine and members of her company about their most recent production, A Room in India, which returns to the Cartoucherie in Paris from Nov. 27-Dec. 31, 2019, after coming to New York’s Park Avenue Armory last year.
BERLIN At Berlin’s famed Schaubühne Theatre, Thomas Ostermeier develops the pathbreaking work that audiences throughout the world hope to see on tour. Ostermeier’s brilliant adaptation of The Marriage of Maria Braun sold out its New York run, and recently, the Schaubühne presented Orlando by Virginia Woolf in a stage adaptation by Alice Burch. This adaptation sees explore Orlando’s queer journey through the centuries of patriarchal human history in a production that combines stage action and live video, Theaterhound’s corresponding editor Elinor Fuchs looks at how Burch and director Katie Mitchell manage to playfully interweave life and art, reality and fiction into one visionary work.
Around the World in a Dazzling Stretch of Festivals from January through December:
EDINBURGH The can’t miss festival–for its amazingly diverse range from classic theater forms to in your face innovative. Our own Hound About Town recounts the carnival tumult in the festival streets he encountered during his cross-Atlantic jaunt last summer and names his choice of best offerings.
Arguably the most renowned, France’s Avignon Festival designates a new “Associate Artist” each year to choose the themes of the festival and the pieces to express them, highlighting one by the designated AA. Through this unique perspective, the festival itself is a work of art enriched annually with a different sensibility and viewpoint on the theatrical.
TOKYO The new and growing Festival /Tokyo attracts artists from around the world but primarily aims to present Japanese and Asian culture to a global audience.
SANTIAGO DE CHILE
Each January, The Santiago A Mil International Theater Festival brings to Santiago de Chile the work of theater creators from throughout the world. Many of the works transcend genres with their multidisciplinary and immersive storytelling. Notable projects included Above Zero, Koon Theater Group‘s look into the consequences of the war in Syria told through physical theater, dance, and performance art, Bardo, A Sound Trip Through The World of Shakespeare, a sound installation that fully immerses patrons into Shakespeare-inspired works through a 360 degree sound recording system, and internationally acclaimed director Ivo Van Hove‘s After the Rehearsal/Persona, his thrilling new adaptation of two melded Ingmar Bergman films.