Review: Macbeth and the Bard’s Hellward Braid

“In Macbeth, there are no subplots. It’s ironic that one of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays is absent The Bard’s hallmark illicit trysts and bumbling, disaster-prone duos, but it makes up for it with one of the most lurid explorations of evil, perhaps anywhere.

“Charlie Fee, who directs the Idaho Shakespeare Festival’s production of Macbeth in addition to serving as the company’s producing artistic director, has this on lockdown. So does his Lady Macbeth, played by Erin Partin, who, at the June 5 performance, was a pitch-perfect moral foil to the rather tepid better angels of her husband, played by Lynn Robert Berg.

“Macbeth, for the uninitiated, is the story of how its titular character saves Scotland from invaders, succumbs to avarice with the encouragement of his wife and becomes a murderous, paranoid tyrant. In its first half, the Macbeths talk themselves into committing regicide so Macbeth can become king. In the second, the couple starts to crack under the psychological and political consequences of their actions, fighting to hang on to power—literally for dear life.

“Like Dante’s Inferno, the play hinges on inversions. Power is vulnerability and wickedness is a virtue. The best arguments favor active villainy and pummel passive righteousness. Macbeth the king, a father to his country, kills its sons out of wild-eyed paranoia; and his wife, well, this line says it all: “Come, you spirits that assist murderous thoughts … to my female breast and turn my mother’s milk into poisonous acid.” Partin throws herself into her role as Macbeth’s provocateur, intertwining with him in a hellward braid, and wherever she is on the stage is where audiences can look for the fire.” […]    –Harrison Berry, Boise Weekly, June 13, 2018

BenDeLaCreme’s Rising Up Into Dante’s Inferno Down Below

“I must confess, and not in a catholic kind of way, because that kind of on your knees religion has nothing to do with the uproarious show, BenDeLaCreme’s Inferno-a-Go-Go currently damning us all to hell at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in Hell’s Kitchen, naturally. But it does have a lot of a lot to say about the other kind of on-your-knees kinda praying. My confession revolves around the simple fact that I do not watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, nor have I ever heard of one of the most well known contestants, the heavenly smart and witty BenDeLaCreme, the creator/performer/writer and all around mastermind of the show.  I only came to this show because one of my best friends was sitting next to me when I got the press invite, and he squealed like an excited pig when I asked him if I ever heard of a creature called BenDeLaCreme. (I can write this statement, because I’m pretty darn sure he’ll never read this review as there are just far too many words for his liking.)” […] –Ross, Times Square Chronicles, May 25, 2018

Bryan Waring’s guide through Dante’s Inferno

“Picture yourself in a dark castle high upon the Scottish hillside, as you rest comfortably in a tall red velvet chair alongside Dracul-the Master of Ceremonies. Sounds gothic? Bryan Waring’s senior composition on Sunday, April 15, 2018 fulfilled a partial degree requirement for Bachelor of Music Performance. The eerie theatrical program was “a pleasant surprise,” says Waring’s mother, Bonnie. The Corthell Concert Hall located on the woodsy USM Gorham campus was the quintessential location befitting the hellish operatic overtones that played into the night from 8 p.m. to approximately 9:30 p.m.

“With friends, family and 35 supporting musicians at his fingertips, Waring directed his show through the gates of hell into Dante’s Inferno, the prevailing theme. In a pre-performance interview Waring made it clear that his intentions to include “elements of opera, death, Broadway, rock and roll, and jazz” for the subliminal background connected the “nine Circles of Hell.” It’s tempting not to label the recital as a play or concert since a few pieces of music involved at least five other instruments in addition to a piano or two. Vocals were exchanged between a chorus and a quintet as Waring made a ghostly passing through Circle I-Limbo into Circle V-Wrath.” […]    –Jamela Lewis, The Free Press, April 22, 2018

L’Inferno delle Albe, Ravenna (2017)

Inferno-delle-Albe-Ravenna-2017“Ecco, presa con le dovute pinze la schematizzazione, una situazione analoga si presenta con il nuovo progetto del Teatro delle Albe. Va vissuto come spettacolo o come chiamata cittadina al teatro? Perché Inferno è entrambe le cose. Quale dunque la sintesi? Andiamo con ordine.

[…]

“Quello delle Albe non è un inferno filologico alla maniera dantesca, è una contaminazione di immaginari: passati e presenti. L’Inferno si fa veramente il luogo della perversione dell’io, quello in cui ciascuno si accanisce sul suo prossimo, bercia la propria ossessione, si strugge nella pena,  ma non sa dialogare, non riesce in alcun modo a stabilire una relazione. Ed ecco allora che la presenza purissima di Montanari e Martinelli più che una guida viene a rappresentare una fulgida luce nel buio eterno. Ecco che quell’unità pervicace, serena, limpida, nonostante le masnade di anime perse, marca la traccia di un ritrovarsi che è l’unica possibilità di vita, di vita vera, a questo mondo.” — Giulio Sonno, “Ma io, perché venirvi? Arte e partecipazione nell’Inferno delle Albe,” paperstreet.it (June 23, 2017)

Ravenna16 giugno 2017

INFERNO
Chiamata pubblica per la “Divina Commedia” di Dante Alighieri

ideazione, direzione artistica e regia:Marco Martinelli e Ermanna Montanari
in scena: Ermanna Montanari, Marco Martinelli, Alessandro Argnani, Luigi Dadina, Roberto Magnani, Gianni Plazzi, Massimiliano Rassu, Laura Redaelli, Alessandro Renda e i cittadini della Chiamata Pubblica

See also the review by Massimo Merino on doppiozero.it.

Performance for the Millennial Celebration of San Miniato al Monte (2018)

san-miniato-1000-terzine-dante“In occasione del Millenario di San Miniato, sabato 26 maggio, dalle h. 19.00 (partenza via dell’Erta Canina ang. via Monte alle Croci) centinaia di cantori saliranno dal quartiere di San Niccolò fino all’abbazia, recitando e interpretando le terzine dantesche dedicate al tema del cammino e della salita.

“‘A salire a le stelle /Legato con amore in un volume ciò che per l’universo si squaderna’ è una performance corale i cui protagonisti sono 306 cantori, il pubblico e le strade di Firenze, che tornano ad essere luogo di incontro per i cittadini, grazie a una esperienza culturale comune. I 306 cantori sono infatti di varia estrazione: ragazzi, professionisti, detenuti, personalità della vita pubblica, studenti, educatori, persone in stato di disagio psichico e/o economico, migranti, persone con la sindrome di Down, ragazzi che praticano il Parkour, i musicanti della Filarmonica di Marcialla, persone comuni e fuori dalla norma.” — Gonews.it

The performance was organized by the association Culter as part of their Piume | Dante 2021 program.

Contributed by Irene Zanini-Cordi (Florida State University)

Piume Dante 2021 Performance (June 24 and 25, 2016)

“Prosegue in vista delle celebrazioni del 2021 l’esplorazione dell’universo dantesco che Culter da anni propone attraverso azioni sceniche e corali a cui partecipano come protagonisti centinaia di donne, uomini, bambini fra cui detenuti, migranti, persone affette dalla sindrome di Down, persone con disagio economico, fisico e psichico e a rischio di esclusione sociale.

“PIUME | DANTE2021 Legato con amore in un volume, ciò che per l’universo si sqauderna è stata un’azione performativa verticale, dedicata al tema del volo nella Divina Commedia. Salendo all’interno del Campanile il pubblico ha attraversato spazi diversi incontrando prima un popolo di uccelli, simbolo del desiderio alla dimensione oltremondana che assume le forme metriche e meccaniche delle ali, per poi arrivare infine nell’ultimo piano, vicino al cielo, allo slancio di Ulisse, colui che non ha bisogno di piume per provare a volare.” — Culter.it

The performance was staged at the Campanile di Giotto at Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, at dawn and at sunset on June 24 and 25, 2016.

See an article covering the event here (with photos, in Italian).

See a video describing the performance here (in Italian).

FIRENZE – prove spettacolo teatrale
foto Opera del Duomo Firenze/ Claudio Giovannini

 

 

 

The Art of Being Bombarded by Watermelons

From an article on the artist Kawita Vatanajyankur:


“[…] Other videos, like ‘The Carrying Pole,’ above, suggest torments worthy of Dante or ancient mythology. And some audiences have asked whether she had a political aim, or if she meant to criticize abusive interrogation tactics like waterboarding in these endurance works. […]”    —

420PEOPLE, “Inferno – Variations on Dante” (2014)

Inferno - Variations on DanteCzech dance company 420PEOPLE has created a piece entitled “Inferno – Variations on Dante“, which premiered on September 30th, 2014. The performance is described on the 420PEOPLE website as

“A tragicomic parable on a human fight with sorrow, boredom and laziness that sneak into our lives with middle age. Inferno is not a place, it is a state of soul.”

 

Contributed by Michele Torresani

SAWTOOTH Dancers’ Ombra

Dance company SAWTOOTH performs a Dante-inspired piece, Ombra, at Dixon Place in Chelsea, NY, on July 24, 2014.

SAWTOOTH Dancers“Inspired by Dante’s Paradiso and Plato’s Cave, Ombra is a multimedia dance performance embedded within a dance party. Drawing in part from a hypnotic, Butoh-inspired physicality, the dance performance emerges as episodic dreamscapes within a clubbing experience and a live cabaret. Sound artist Michael Feld orchestrates an eclectic sound score that moves between live percussion, electronic sound art, and 90s dance hits.

“Ombra asserts that liberation is created, not revealed. With humor, Ombra (Italian for ‘shadow’) is a piece that hopes to offer a re-evaluation of the dark, and it seeks to relocate the site of true human ascendance within the shadows and the shadows we make.”    —Dixon Place

To read about SAWTOOTH, click here.

To read about Dixon Place, click here.

Zachary Woolfe, “A Circle of Composers, Intimate and Epic”

circle-of-composers-picture-new-york-times

“There is an operatic quality coursing through the work of the Second Empire sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-75), the subject of a powerful exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, through May 26, that inspired a concert of French vocal music at the museum on Saturday evening.

“Look at Carpeaux’s best-known masterpiece, the wrenching ‘Ugolino and his Sons’ based on Dante: Here are both epic scope and intimate detail (those clenched feet!), the combination that 19th-century opera specialized in. It’s no surprise, given the adroitness of his balance between exuberance and restraint, that he was asked to design a relief for the exterior of Charles Garnier’s opera house in Paris. The result, a swirling mass of figures called ‘La Danse,’ fairly explodes off the facade.”    –Zachary Woolfe, “A Circle of Composers, Intimate and Epic,” The New York Times, April 29, 2014