Kardan



La Bohème

La Bohème

stage It would be hard to choose a better introduction to opera than Puccini’s tragicomic celebration of young love in poverty, with its accessible music, direct dialogue and realistic scenario. I’d find it almost as hard to imagine a better introduction to La Bohème than this production, sung in witty English verse by skilled and […]

Old Times

Old Times

stage One measure of a dramatic production is its success in bringing out qualities not apparent to a reader. On seeing director Francine Smith’s Old Times, I realized I had overlooked much of the play’s humor amid the ominous stares, pregnant silences and coded commonplaces that were expected features of Harold Pinter’s 1971 script. Such […]

A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire

stage Let me start with a confession. No matter how often I read or see it, I can’t find much depth in this 60-year-old classic of the American stage. Its conflict between the wayward-but-vulnerable Southern belle Blanche DuBois and her meat-slinging, wife-beating caveman of a brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski, strikes me as a collision of gothic […]

Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac

stage A production of Cyrano at the Blackfriars adds some twists to the question of appropriate theatrical technique. The play is set in the French 17th century, when staging practices were similar to those which the American Shakespeare Center seeks to reproduce. Indeed, the first act of Cyrano unfolds in a small theater much like […]

Oedipus Tyrannus

Oedipus Tyrannus

stage Despite its status as an archetypal Western tragedy, Sophocles’ tale of revealed parricide and incest still poses the problems that vex all Greek drama in modern production: the handling of the chorus, the question of music, the long and sometimes stilted-sounding exchanges of single lines (stichomythia). UVA director Betsy Tucker and her cast of […]

The Devil is an Ass

The Devil is an Ass

stage Ben Jonson’s comedies, conceived in the crabbed spirit of Roman satire, can be difficult for modern audiences. Largely lacking the lyricism of Shakespeare, and filled with the now-obscure allusions to urban society that came naturally to a lifelong Londoner who was a bricklayer and repeat-offender felon as well as an actor and playwright, they […]

The Violet Hour

The Violet Hour

stage It’s April 1, 1919, and John Pace Seavering has a problem. This idealistic young member of the Lost Generation has used his share of the family fortune to set up a publishing firm in Manhattan (think James Laughlin of New Directions Press), and finds his office crammed with manuscripts. His less privileged Princeton classmate, […]

Sounds of Shakespeare

music Music was a fashionable accomplishment of Elizabethan gentlemen, but Shakespeare had a special sensitivity to it, to judge by the frequent and detailed musical references in his plays. Fittingly, his works have inspired more classical compositions than any literary source but the Bible. The Charlottesville and University Symphony sampled this vast repertoire at Cabell […]

With a little help from his friends

With a little help from his friends

A mega-celebrity of the cello in Europe, with rockstar hair and puckish irreverence to match, Steven Isserlis (www.stevenisserlis.com) is less known on this side of the Atlantic. But his reputation has spread in these parts thanks to cellist Raphael Bell, London-based artistic co-director of the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival (www.c-villechambermusic.org), who first brought Isserlis to […]

Thom Pain (based on nothing)

Thom Pain (based on nothing)

stage “Do you like magic?” Thom Pain asks the audience on three occasions during Will Eno’s dramatic monologue, now playing in Charlottesville one year after the close of its first New York run. The question is emblematic of the play, for Thom Pain (based on nothing) is all about magic, in the sense of a […]

 Ain't Misbehavin'

 Ain't Misbehavin'

Stage “Jazz,” said Bix Beiderbecke, “is musical humor”: a definition seemingly rejected by the oh-so-earnest jazzmen of bop and other postwar schools. But it was never forgotten by Bix’s contemporary Thomas “Fats” Waller, and is well reflected in Live Arts’ energetic revival of Ain’t Misbehavin’, the Tony Award-winning revue devoted to Fats’ music. Of course, […]