The Rogue Theatre’s Dante’s Purgatorio (2014)

dante purgatorio tucson image

“Baliani has adapted Purgatorio, the second part of Dante’s Divine Comedy for the stage.” […]

“See this Rogue production, directed by Joseph McGrath, and you’d wonder why it hasn’t been done before (we could not find references to any other stage adaptations). It was completely engrossing.”   –Kathy Allen, “Review: The Rogue’s ‘Dante’s Purgatorio‘: Sins and shades shape an engrossing climb,” Arizona Daily Star, May 01, 2014

See also Sherrilyn Forrester’s review in Tucson Weekly, May 01, 2014.

Lee Breuer, La Divina Caricatura (2013)

DIVINA-articleLarge

“She has floppy ears, eyes of exquisite sadness and an operatic tendency toward ecstasy, anguish and other big emotions. Leave her alone in a thunderstorm, and she may fall into despair. She is a dog named Rose, and her Dear John letter to the man she loved is the battered heart of Lee Breuer’s dark, joyous and utterly splendid musical fantasia La Divina Caricatura, Part 1, The Shaggy Dog, at La MaMa, in a co-presentation with St. Ann’s Warehouse. An East Village tale told in a subway, it’s a doomed cross-species romance inspired by The Divine Comedy, but Mr. Breuer uses Dante more as catalyst than template. The strongest classical link is to Japanese theater’s Bunraku.”     –Laura Collins-Hughes, The New York Times, December 19, 2013

“Kindred Spirits: A Juxtaposition of Dante & Dickens”

dante-and-scrooge“. . . I cannot recall a time when I didn’t know the story of A Christmas Carol. The images and themes have delighted or haunted me since my childhood, either in the form of the ‘Dickens Village’ adventure at the mall or the hundredth or so viewing of the Muppet version. (Michael Caine, you will always be my Scrooge.) So when I studied Dante’s Commedia in college, it was no leap for me to recognize the countless similarities between the two stories. I would write C.C. in the margin every time I came across another bit of Dickens in Dante. At long last, I can pitch some these ideas to the wider world.”     –Kathyrn (blogger), Through a Glass Brightly, December 18, 2013

Contributed by Patrick Molloy

Niki Ulehla, The Inferno (2011, 2013)

Niki-Ulehla-Puppet-CharonDuring a 2011 residency at Recology SF, San Francisco puppeteer Niki Ulehla began a multiple-phase project to dramatize Dante’s Inferno with her handmade puppets. The first performance, featuring puppets crafted out of discarded materials from the Recology Public Disposal Area, staged the first seven cantos of the poem.

This performance was followed by a second, at the Sanchez Art Center (Pacifica) in February-March 2013, in which a new set of puppets embark on the second part of the journey, Cantos 8-17. Sanchez Art Center describes the second performance as follows: “[Ulehla] combines traditional carved wooden marionettes with found object based ‘toys’ to create the characters inhabiting the hell described by Dante. [. . .] The performance will begin with the two travelers, Dante and Virgil, crossing the river Styx. They will pass through the fifth circle of Anger, the sixth of the Heretics and the seventh of Violence. This portion of their journey will end riding away on Geryon, the beast of Fraud.”    —Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica, CA

Video of both performances can be seen here.

“Dante Now!”: Notre Dame students perform the Divine Comedy

dante-now-notre-dame

Students in the Italian program at the University of Notre Dame stage public readings of the Divine Comedy across campus (fall 2012).

“Organizers said the event was meant to bring the ‘vibrant immediacy’ of The Divine Comedy to life for a modern audience. ‘Students of Dante will know that reading his works alone and silently can be a life-changing experience, the fruits of which will endure and ripen,’ said Anne Leone, postdoctoral research fellow in Italian studies. ‘But reading his works aloud—and together—promises to be another experience entirely.'”    —Notre Dame News

For video coverage of the event, click here.

Vittorio Gassman reads Inferno 26

 

gassman

Vittorio Gassman reads Inferno 26

Contributed by Andrea Sartori

 

 

 

Dante’s Fire-Con

dantes-fire-con“With “Geek!” the playwright Crystal Skillman and the troupe Vampire Cowboys fly high the freak flag of fantasy. An ode to fangirls and fanboys, the show, in Cowboys tradition, celebrates the universe of anime, comics, science fiction, manga and Hollywood effects spectaculars. It’s a milieu Ms. Skillman clearly knows well and depicts with affection. At an Ohio anime convention called Dante’s Fire-Con two fans take on the guises of their fictional heroines…” [. . .]    –Andy Webster, New York Times, March 29, 2013

See also: Incubator Arts Project, New York

Director Tina Landau’s Dream Project

director-tina-landaus-dream-project“Recently, Paula Vogel’s Civil War Christmas (New York Theater Workshop); now, Bill Irwin and David Shiner’s Old Hats (Signature).
BEGINNINGS ‘I was like that kid in Annie Hall who says, ‘I’m into leather,’ except I’d walk around as a 6-year-old and say, ‘I’m into directing.’ I was raised on, and fell in love with, Broadway musicals and later fell in love with more experimental forms.’
AESTHETIC ‘I don’t gravitate toward new plays set in middle- or upper-class living rooms or kitchens. I prefer giving voice to the outsider, the minority, the renegade, and I love texts with stage directions like, ‘And then they fly to the moon and have a picnic with food that keeps changing color.”
CHANGING TIMES ‘I’ve always experienced Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway as being hospitable to me and other women I know. That said, I didn’t realize there were so many doing so much great work in New York right now.’
DREAM PROJECT ‘My own adaptation (with many collaborators) of Dante’s Divine Comedy, with characters and stories transposed to contemporary culture, with music by folks like John Zorn, Ratatat, Janelle Monáe.'”     —Eric Grode, The New York Times, January 31, 2013

Ron Jenkins, “To See the Stars” (2012)

ron-jenkins-to-see-the-stars-2012

“Lynda Gardner, Saundra Duncan, and Deborah Ranger will give a reading of a new play at a Harvard University conference next week. A different kind of alma mater qualifies them for this appearance: York Correctional Institution in Niantic, Conn., a high-security state facility for female offenders.

“While behind bars at York, all three joined theater workshops with Wesleyan University professor Ron Jenkins and students from his Activism and Outreach Through Theater course. They got to know Shakespeare and Dante, and it changed their lives.

“‘I spent my first six months [in York] trying to figure out ways to kill myself, and the next four and a half years trying to see how much more I can live,’ says Gardner.

“Inspired by these three and other inmates he worked with, Jenkins wrote a play about their existence behind bars, ‘To See the Stars,’ which mingles inmates’ stories with bits of Dante’s epic 14th-century poem, Divine Comedy.

“The women have their own perspective on ‘Divine Comedy.’ They tend to say that they are still working on its third part (Paradise) but that they are well versed in the first two (Hell and Purgatory).

“‘I’ve been in a lot of the circles of hell,’ says Gardner, 63. ‘It really isn’t about hell; it is about hope. Climbing out of those circles.’

“The trio will perform ‘To See the Stars’ on March 3 in a lightly staged reading at a Harvard conference on race, class, and education called Disrupting the Discourse: Discussing the ‘Undiscussable,’ sponsored by the Graduate School of Education’s Alumni of Color. The Harvard performance is open to conference participants only, but the public can attend a free performance at Brown University’s Lyman Hall in Providence on March 2 at 3:30 p.m.”  — Joel Brown, Boston.com, February 12, 2012 (retrieved on July 9, 2012)

See also Rachel Apfel’s piece in the Harvard Ed. Magazine.

Ecstatic Alphabets, MOMA (2012)

ecstatic-alphabets-moma-2012

“In a drawing from 1966, ‘Heaps of Language,’ Robert Smithson assembled a pyramid of words about words: ‘Language’ at the apex, supported by ‘phraseology speech,’ ‘tongue lingo vernacular,’ and on down through a base of synonyms. The playful exhibition ‘Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language,’ opening on Sunday at the Museum of Modern Art, borrows Smithson’s title and runs wild with his vision of words as materials. . .
One could spend a long time here, listening to poets and staring at Bruce Nauman’s hypnotic flashing neon piece ‘Raw War.’ But that’s all prologue; the show begins, in earnest, with a short printed text by Sharon Hayes — one of four woven through the galleries and installed so close to the floor that you have to crouch down to read them. In these paragraphs Ms. Hayes puts herself forth as Virgil to the viewer’s Dante, though she also assumes the roles of spurned lover, diarist and political agitator.” [. . .]    –Karen Rosenberg, The New York Times, May 3, 2012