And the Tenth Circle of Dante’s Hell is …

“Hell, Dante tells us, has nine circles, each one reserved for souls guilty of particular sins. The greedy, for example, go to the Third Circle, while heretics are flung down into the Fourth. If you’ve lived a lustful life, full of debauchery and fornication, you will find yourself in the second circle, writhing and naked with millions of other lustful souls who — wait, how exactly is that a punishment?  According to Dante, the worst Circles of Hell are reserved for fraudsters and traitors, suggesting that he’d had an unfortunate disagreement with his publisher over royalties. But the great Italian fell short in his demonic visions, because there is another Circle of Hell: the Tenth. It is a place of infinite suffering and utter despair, echoing with the wailing of the damned. It is a movie theatre called Cinepolis Junior.” […]    –Tom Eaton, Rand Daily Mail, March 14, 2017

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

“Dante’s Nightmares and Dreams” Wichita State Wind Ensemble and Contemporary Dante Theatre (2019)

Dante’s Nightmares and Dreams ​is a stunning collaboration between the Wichita State Wind Ensemble and the Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre. Featuring live music, film, and dance, Dante’s classic tale, “The Inferno​,” is brought to life in a veritable feast for the senses.”   –Becca Yesner, The Sunflower, April 24, 2019

‘The Bright River’: A Hip Hop Version of Dante’s Inferno

“Quick lives in the City of the Dead, and pays his rent by finding souls lost in purgatory. Scouring the water-bound city for a red-headed girl named Calliope, Quick finds the soldier who loved her, a pager-carrying bouncer named King of the Birds, and a demon who claims to be toiling for the good of the world. With a live soundtrack of cello, flute, drums, and vocal calisthenics, The Bright River follows Quick’s journey through the dingy underworld – from the bus station of purgatory to the rooftop of creation.

“Deep and dark as the River Styx, this neo-gothic tale of love was first performed by energetic bard Tim Barsky to sold-out Berkeley crowds in 2005. Resurrected from the theatrical graveyard, this musical reinvention of Dante’s Inferno is set for a three month run. With music that thrums through your bones and a story that yanks your still-beating heart straight out of your ribcage, The Bright River is proof that hope comes at man’s darkest hour.” [. . .]    –7×7 Editors, 7×7, December 11, 2009.

The Rouge Theater, “Dante’s Purgatorio (2014)

“Dante’s Purgatorio
Written by Patrick Baliani
Directed by Joseph McGrath

See also the performance by The Fountain School at Dalhousie University, 2018

Francesca da Rimini at La Scala, Milan

Francesca-da-Rimini-La-Scala-Milano“15 April-13 May [2018]. This is the first time Francesca da Rimini, inspired by D’ Annunzio’s novel of the same name written in 1901, returns to La Scala in six decades.

“Zandonai’s opera, his most successful, was performed in Turin for the first time in 1914. This new La Scala production is conducted by Fabio Luisi and directed by David Pountney with Maria José Siri in the lead role. Pountney is a British theatre and opera director known for his productions of rarely performed or new works. Teatro alla Scala, Via Filodrammatici 2, www.teatroallascala.org.” — Posted on wantedinmilan.com

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

Of the plans for the project, artistic directors Marco Martinelli and Ermanna Montanari explain, “The key with which we have translated the Dantesque ‘transcendence of human nature’ is to think of the work in terms of sacred mediaeval representations and the revolutionary mass theatre of Majakovskij: the whole city is a stage, all the citizens are called upon to ‘becoming a place’, to make a community.” For more information, including press releases and awards, see the Teatro delle Albe website.

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

Dante’s Inferno: A Modern Telling, by Craft Theatre (2015)

Craft-Theatre-Dantes-Inferno-A-Modern-Retelling

“‘For the people tired of the same money generating schemes on the West End. For the people who crave different kinds of honesty from their theatre. For the people who have never connected to any theatre. For the people who search. For the people who question. For the people who struggle. For the 99%.’ These are the bold and powerful claims that Rocky Rodriguez Jr. makes in his director’s note for Dante’s Inferno: A Modern Telling. Staged in the warehouse-like Rag Factory, we meet Dante who is unfulfilled, demoralised and trapped in the rat race, and what’s more he can see no means of escaping his nihilistic existence. Craft Theatre intersperses Dante Alighieri’s original text with sections penned by John Cage, Rocky Rodriguez Jr, and the ever topical Russell Brand. This modern day retelling of Dante’s suffering and quest for redemption still feels as applicable to present day society as when Dante first wrote it, if not more so.” — Review by Ruby-isla Cera-Marle, A Younger Theatre (January 21, 2015)

Learn more at the Craft Theatre Blog.