Theater to Stream: ‘Uncle Vanya’ and an Ayad Akhtar Revival

By | November 18, 2020
Theater to Stream: ‘Uncle Vanya’ and an Ayad Akhtar Revival

Theater to Stream: ‘Uncle Vanya’ and an Ayad Akhtar Revival

Too many experimental playwrights disappear into the ether, their repute sustained by educational essays and phrase of mouth. Revivals? Let’s simply say that Arthur Miller largely trumps Richard Foreman when the time involves set a season.

Naturally, the state of affairs is even worse for Black experimental artists, particularly in the event that they occur to be ladies. Fortunately, streaming is now making festivals and tributes extra accessible to vast audiences.

Living proof: “The Work of Adrienne Kennedy: Inspiration & Affect,” organized by the McCarter Theater Middle in Princeton, N.J., and the Spherical Home Theater in Bethesda, Md.

Eschewing the playwright’s most ceaselessly produced work, “Funnyhouse of a Negro,” the fest has simply kicked off with “He Introduced Her Coronary heart Again in a Field,” to be adopted by “Sleep Deprivation Chamber” (Saturday), “Ohio State Murders” (Dec. 5) and “Etta and Ella on the Higher West Aspect” (Dec. 12). Add panel discussions, and our collective synapses must be firing for some time. (Via Feb. 28; roundhousetheatre.org.)

Let’s boldly assume — or perhaps bask in some wishful considering — that when theaters bodily reopen, they may embody contemporary materials and never depend on acquainted revivals to entice audiences again. Firms might store round for potential productions at these festivals.

The Nationwide Alliance for Musical Theater has teamed up with Broadway on Demand for its thirty second annual Competition of New Musicals, during which eight exhibits get 45 minutes every to make their case. (Nov. 19-29; namt.org.) For its inaugural version, the New Works Digital Competition will stagger readings of 20 new scripts on Dec. 5-25 (they may stay on-line for a yr). The playwrights will likely be spoiled with ace casts: Santino Fontana, Tracie Thoms and Eva Noblezada lead “Completely satisfied {Couples}” (Dec. 5), for instance, whereas Marsha Mason and Tonya Pinkins seem in “So When Are You Leaving?” (Dec. 8). (Fb.com/newworksvirtualfestival or go to the New Works Digital Competition channel on YouTube.)

In “Dragon Mama,” the writer-performer Sara Porkalob vividly brings to life her mom, who left Washington state to work and discover her queerness in Alaska. The play is the center a part of the Dragon Cycle, during which Porkalob explores her Filipino-American household’s historical past, and it actually whets the urge for food. (Via Dec. 10; americanrepertorytheater.org.)

Motherhood additionally performs a central function in Charlayne Woodard’s 2009 solo present “The Night time Watcher,” which is now obtainable in a brand new Main Levels stream. Woodard, one of the vital effortlessly charismatic performers presently plying their commerce, appears to be like at her topic from a wide range of angles, with race additionally taking part in a component. (Via Sunday; primarystages.org.)

Again in April, the Tramp firm was scheduled to do a brand new Philip Ridley play, “The Beast of Blue Yonder.” After the present was shut down by Covid, the actors carried out, recorded and posted on-line a sequence of recent Ridley monologues, starting from simply above two minutes to simply underneath an hour. (Ongoing; wearetramp.com.)

Now, Tramp is again in Ridleyland with the premiere of “The Poltergeist,” a monologue a few former wunderkind artist who didn’t fairly meet expectations. The phrase “controversial” typically pops up in articles concerning the playwright so don’t be stunned if the present, livestreaming from London’s Southwark Playhouse, holds darkish surprises for its protagonist. (Nov. 20-21; southwarkplayhouse.co.uk.)

Coming our method this month are two latest, or recent-ish, thought-provoking performs that don’t conform to expectations. Up in Connecticut, TheaterWorks Hartford is reviving “The Who and the What,” Ayad Akhtar’s follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning “Disgraced” and a probe of the challenges Muslim ladies face. (Via Nov. 28; twhartford.org.)

Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater is placing on Will Arbery’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Heroes of the Fourth Turning,” during which conservative mates chat away in a Wyoming yard. The present was staged and recorded in a “secluded Poconos residence,” which sounds similar to the setting of a Nineteen Eighties slasher film. (Dec. 1-13; wilmatheater.org.)

Would the favored Constance Wu even have time to do Chekhov in regular instances? However right here she is, taking part in the siren Yelena in Neil LaBute’s adaptation of “Uncle Vanya.” Pining for Yelena will likely be Alan Cumming’s Vanya and Anson Mount’s Astrov, with Samira Wiley as Sonya and Ellen Burstyn as Maria. (Thursday by Nov. 23; broadwaysbestshows.com.)

One other classic play getting a deluxe forged is Tennessee Williams’s “The Night time of the Iguana” with Phylicia Rashad, Dylan McDermott, Roberta Maxwell and the nationwide treasure often called Austin Pendleton. (Dec. 2-6, lafemmetheatreproductions.org.)

Equally spectacular is a revival of “Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens,” premiering on-line Dec. 1 for World AIDS Day. That includes a ebook and lyrics by Invoice Russell (“Aspect Present”) and music by Janet Hood, this 1989 revue of songs and monologues was partly impressed by Russell seeing the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Performers on this Broadway Cares/Fairness Fights AIDS profit embody Brooks Ashmanskas, Joaquina Kalukango, Nathan Lane, Jessie Mueller, Anthony Rapp and Cynthia Nixon. (Dec. 1-5; broadwaycares.org/elegies.)

Punching method above its weight, tiny Ars Nova has helped hatch tasks as various because the musicals “Natasha, Pierre & the Nice Comet of 1812” and “KPOP,” the range hour “Showgasm,” and the runaway hits “Underground Railroad Recreation” and “Small Mouth Sounds.” Now the corporate has give you a very formidable on-line undertaking: “The Ars Nova Eternally Telethon,” a 24-hour-long livestream that includes over 100 contributors. It would effectively be one of many digital occasions you’ll brag about seeing in 10 years. (Dec. 4 at 6 p.m.-Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.; on-demand by Dec. 8; arsnovanyc.com.)

One other influential semi-outsider is the late Elizabeth Swados, whose music is widely known with “The Liz Swados Mission,” a companion occasion to the tribute album of the identical identify (Ghostlight Data). Anticipate picks from “Runaways,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Nightclub Cantata” by the likes of Sophia Anne Caruso, Heather Christian, Damon Daunno, Amber Grey, Ali Stroker and Taylor Mac. (Nov. 24-Dec. 8; publictheater.org.)

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