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Shakespeare on Treason and Traitors

Son: What is a traitor?
Lady Macduff: Why, one that swears and lies.
Son: And be all traitors that do so?
Lady Macduff: Everyone that does so is a traitor, and must be hanged.
Son: Who must hang them?
Lady Macduff Why, the honest men.
Son: Then the liars and swearers are fools; for there are liars and swearers enow to beat the honest men, and hang up them.”

Macbeth

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Laura Bush Killed A Guy Review: How Good She Looks Now

The title alone would lead you to expect a stiletto-sharp political satire; why else would a theater in Tribeca present a solo play about the wife of George W. Bush, routinely ranked  as among the worst presidents in U.S. history? But “Laura Bush Killed A Guy” turns out to be something of a stealth enterprise, generating sympathy for a woman who is presented as more complex than the public perception of her. At its best, Ian Allen’s play challenged me to think about my own political perceptions.
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#Marchforourlives

13 dead at Columbine. 26 dead at Sandy Hook. 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

What those figures about the most infamous school shootings over the past two decades fail to capture, write John Woodrow Cox and Steven Rich in the Washington Post, “is the collateral damage of this uniquely American crisis. Beginning with Columbine in 1999, more than 187,000 students attending at least 193 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus during school hours”

Today, March 24th, 2018, people will be marching in Washington D.C. and in hundreds of other locations around the United States and the world, to protest gun violence and advocate for gun control.  March for Our Lives website

Kings Review: How Money Corrupts American Lawmakers

”There is one thing about which we all agree, left, right, center: Money has corrupted our politics,” says Rep. Sydney Millsap (Eisa Davis), summing up the point and the plot of “Kings,” a new play written by Sarah Burgess (“Dry Powder”) and directed by Thomas Kail (“Hamilton”) that opens tonight at the Public Theater. The Congresswoman, a Gold Star widow newly elected as the first black woman to represent her district in Dallas, Texas, learns the bitter lesson of money and politics while fighting to resist the moneyed interests and do what’s right on a particular bill.

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The Siege Review and Pics: Palestinian Theater about Bethlehem Standoff

Faisal Abualhayjaa and Hassan Taha in The Siege

The Siege, a play dramatizing the 2002 siege by armed Palestinians of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, is in several ways the exact opposite of Oslo, the last drama about the Palestinian-Israel conflict to run in New York.

Oslo, which won the 2017 Tony for Best Play, was American playwright J.T. Rogers’ attempt at a balanced look at the high-level negotiations that led to the first Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. The Siege is Palestinian playwright Nabil Al-Raee and his co-director Zoe Lafferty’s ground-level look, from a Palestinian point of view, at a half dozen of the people who were holed up in the church, one of the holiest sites in the Christian religion, for the 39-day standoff. It is produced by the Freedom Theatre, a Palestinian company in the Jenin refugee camp on the West Bank, which is presenting the play for the first time in the United States, at NYU’s Skirball Center through October 22.

Full review at DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph by Baraa Sharqawi. Skip Schiel  or Ian Douglas to see them enlarged.

Androboros Review. America’s First Play: Political, Satirical, Scatological

Androboros: Benjamin Strate, Caiti Lattimer, Roy Koshy, Hank Lin

Nearly everything about “Androboros” makes it sound like a must-see show.

It was America’s first published play, printed in 1714, yet there is no record it has ever been publicly performed until this production by the Peculiar Works Project.

The playwright, Robert Hunter, ruled as Governor of New York, and his play is reportedly rooted in stories that are true, bizarre and occasionally scatological.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda Pleas for Puerto Rico

By Lin-Manuel Miranda

Puerto Rico—my family’s island, America’s island—is in desperate need of supplies and resources.
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Can Socially Conscious Theater Make A Difference?

In Power Struggle on Broadway: Escapist vs. Socially Conscious Shows in the 2016–17 Season, a piece I wrote for HowlRound, I point out that there were more socially conscious than escapist plays and musicals that opened during the Broadway season just ended. To which a reader in the comments section replied in effect: What difference does it make?

That’s more or less the question I pose at one point in the video below to Robert Schenkkan, playwright of the new anti-Trump play, “Building the Wall,” which is being produced all over the country — including at New World Stages in New York City beginning May 12th.

Tamara Tunie, who co-stars with James Badge Dale in the New York production of the two-character play “Building The Wall”

Below the video: Shows that have made a direct and tangible difference.

Shows That Have Made a Direct Difference:

Waiting For Lefty, the Depression-era play about a taxi driver strike, by Group Theatre playwright Clifford Odets, was performed all over the country in support of labor unions.

Waiting for Lefty

Fortune and Men’s Eyes (1967) by John Herbert led to the creation of The Fortune Society, which helps ex-convicts find jobs—a success story written up in a recent memoir by its producer, David Rothenberg, entitled Fortune In My Eyes.

The Exonerated by Erik Jensen and Jessica Blank, based on transcripts of wrongfully convicted prisoners on Death Row, is said to have influenced Illinois Governor Ryan’s blanket commutations of the state’s death penalties.

The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler inspired a global movement known as V-Day that fights to end violence against women.

The Laramie Project by the Tectonic Theater is said to have helped lead to the signing of the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes bill; the theater company was invited to the signing of the legislation at the White House.

The Normal Heart, when produced in 1985, led mainstream newspapers such as The Christian Science Monitor to mention HIV/AIDS for the first time anywhere in their pages.

The Justice Cycle, six plays including Los Illegals by Michael John Garces, the artistic director of Cornerstone Theater Company, led to a theater troupe of day laborers, Teatro Jornalero Sin Fronteras (Day Laborer Theater Without Borders), that educates day laborers about their rights.

8 the Play, based on transcripts of the trial that overturned the ban on same-sex marriage in California, helped move the conversation forward, arguably helping to change the American public’s attitude.

 

Trump’s First 100 Days

Summed up in a single photograph:

April 29th marks the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency. Here are press accounts and comments.

“The tradition of looking to that period as a presidential milestone dates back to 1933, when Franklin Roosevelt focused on his first 100 days in office in order to underscore the urgency of his mission to turn the nation around during the Great Depression.”

Trump’s First 100 Days, How They Compare to Obama’s, Bush’s and Clinton’s, Business Insider

Fact-Checking President Trump through His First 100 Days, NY Times

Winners and Losers from President Trump’s First 100 Days , Washington Post

19 Photographs That Defined Trump’s First 100 Days, Time

Donald Trump’s First 100 Days, in Tweets, CNN

Trump’s First 100 Days, Ranked (The best and the worst), Politico

President Donald Trump: The First 100 Days, The Wall Street Journal

A Hundred Days of Trump, The New Yorker

First 100 Days of Donald Trump’s Presidency, Wikipedia

 

In Trump’s First 100 Days, A Resistance Network Digs In, NPR

 

Watch Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s Speech on Broadway

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked New York for making Canadians at home by supplying “snow banks,” during an address to the audience at Come From Away, after he and some 600 other Canadians and their guests (including more than 125 ambassadors to the United Nations)saw a performance of this musical created by  a Canadian couple about the generosity of the residents of Newfoundland towards the passengers and crew of 38 planes grounded during 9/11.

He praised such “an extraordinary crowd to celebrate this story of friendship during extraordinarily difficult times between individuals between countries” and spoke about “the close relationship between the United States and Canada” on this, Canada’s 150th anniversary.

“The world gets to see what it is to lean on each other and be there for each other,”