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The 2017 Avignon Festival: July 6-26, Witnessing Loss, Displacement, and Tears

Among the wide range of diverse offerings that I attended at this year’s Avignon festival, I was struck by a recurring theme, the theme of exile and its devastating effects on characters torn from home and family, far from worlds …

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A Reminder About Catharsis: Oedipus Rex by Rimas Tuminas, A Co-production of the Vakhtangov Theatre and the National Theatre of Greece

The Russian-language press thoroughly covered Oedipus Rex by Rimas Tuminas after it opened in the ancient Greek city of Epidaurus (29 July 2016), and after its Russian premiere at the Vakhtangov Theatre in Moscow on the day of the company’s …

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The Kunstenfestivaldesarts 2017 in Brussels

The Kunstenfestivaldesarts 2017, directed and curated by Christophe Slagmuylder, is an outstanding transdisciplinary arts festival, showcasing many new creations, often produced by the festival itself. Those creations, most of the time daring and often fascinating, question the traditional limits of …

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A Female Psychodrama as Kitchen Sink Drama: Long Live Regina! in Budapest

The Trafó House of Contemporary Arts is one of the leading producers of experimental theatre work in Budapest. In May of 2017 it offered an unusual piece of documentary theatre, Long Live Regina!. The performers (bar one) were Romani women …

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Madrid’s Theatre Takes Inspiration From the Greeks

There has been something in Madrid’s theatre that has seen a return to the spirit of the Greeks: plays inspired by or adapted from classical tragedies that ask fundamental questions about what democracy means and how it functions. At a …

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A (Self)Ironic Portrait of the Artist as a Present-Day Man: The Newest Trademark Show of Gianina Cărbunariu in Bucharest

“The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.” One of the most quoted of Chekhov’s statements seems to contradict the habit of the organizers to include in cultural programs those familiar discussions between artists and spectators …

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Throw The Baby Away With the Bath Water?: Lila, The Child Monster of The B*easts

The B*easts (2017) is a play about the consequences that ripple through and reshape the life of the eight-year-old Lila and her mother, Karen, when Lila gets breast implants. In erasing one letter, and replacing it with an asterisk, the …

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Report From Switzerland

Swiss-speaking Germany is sometimes overlooked in considerations of the contemporary Germany stage, but the frequent appearance of Swiss productions in the annual Berlin Theatertreffen is evidence of the continuing importance of the theatres of Basel, Bern, and especially Zurich. Two …

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A Cruel Theatricality: An Essay on Kjersti Horn’s Staging of the Kaos er Nabo Til Gud (Chaos Is the Neighbor of God)

Heddadagene is a brand-new theatre festival in Oslo where twenty-nine theatres joined together to present a new theatre experience from all over Norway, during June of 2017. Thanks to the festival director Åslaug Løseth Magnusson and three leading Norwegian Theatres …

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Szabolcs Hajdu & the Theatre of Midlife Crisis: Self-Ironic Auto-Bio Aesthetics on Hungarian Stages

There is a new tendency in Hungarian theatre for reinterpreting the notion of psychological realism and, at the same time, offering a new perspective on the good old topic of bourgeois drama: “family”. There is no age, as Erika Fischer-Lichte …

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Love Will Tear Us Apart (Again): Katie Mitchell directs Genet’s The Maids

Ophelia is in her room, sewing. Enter Hamlet. He takes her “by the wrist” and holds her “hard.” Really hard. Clearly it hurts. He shakes her. Then he extends his arm, leaning back to look, and “falls to such perusal …

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24th Edition of the Sibiu International Theatre Festival: Spectacular and Memorable

Sibiu, where the third biggest international theatre festival in Europe takes place, is a city with approximately 150,000 citizens and constant cultural life, blossoming in the heart of Transylvania, Romania. The history of the city goes back to the Middle …

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Almagro International Theatre Festival: Blending the Local, the National, and the International

Almagro is Spain’s largest and oldest classical theatre festival, bringing fifty-two productions to this small, picturesque town in Castilla la Mancha for its 40th edition. Five productions from Spain’s Compañia Nacional de Teatro Clásico (CNTC)—one  of the festival’s most consistent …

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Jess Thom’s Not I & the Accessibility of Silence

It’s a crisp, remarkably rainless evening for the beginning of September at The Globe Theatre in London, as the audience wiggles and shifts in anticipation of Matthew Dunster’s reimagining of Much Ado About Nothing. An announcement is made; there are …

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Theatertreffen 2017: Days of Loops and Fog

Berlin is feeling more and more like Avignon or Edinburgh. The Theatertreffen, the major theater festival for the German-speaking world, is structured around inviting the ten “most noteworthy” productions of the former year to Berlin, juried by ten critics. But …

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War Remembered On Stage As Reims Stages Europe: Festival Report

The following reports back on the 2015 edition of the Reims Scènes d’Europe (literally: Reims Stages Europe) theatre festival, which has grown to become a leading counterpoint to the more established summer gathering at Avignon. The 2015 festival was particularly …

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