arts 07.6.11

Shakespeare
Walking Off the Big Apple

In search of summer Shakespeare? It's good Will hunting in New York.


The Public has changed things up a bit this time around by performing Measure for Measure and All's Well That Ends Well in rep, directed by David Esbjornson and Daniel Sullivan, respectively. Among the cast, John Cullum, Annie Parisse, Danai Gurira, Michael Hayden, Reg Rogers, and Tonya Pinkins.



Who better to challenge (or complement, if you prefer) the Public's longtime dominance of summertime Shakespeare than the RSC? And they didn't travel coach. In a coup de théâtre, the Park Avenue Armory has been transformed into the Stratford-upon-Avon playhouse, and brought to life by 44 RSC actors. Starting tonight, through August 14th, they're performing Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, King Lear, and The Winter's Tale. Callipygian theatergoers, or at least the amply-padded, can see all five over a marathon weekend.


In the mid-1980s—at the same Armory where the RSC is now in residence—was a follow-the-actors play called Tamara, about the life of painter Tamara de Lempicka. Sleep No More, loosely based on Macbeth, is set up along the same immersive vein as Tamara (and Tamara and Tamara). The UK's Punchdrunk company has refashioned an old Chelsea warehouse into the McKittrick Hotel, which, in spite of what you may have read elsewhere, was never an actual hotel. It's a good story but Banquo's ghost is more real. Worth checking in/checking out anyway? Absolutely.



Three books with Shakespeare front and center orchestra. Shakespeare on Stage: Thirteen Leading Actors on Thirteen Key Roles gives the spotlight to superb actors such as Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Derek Jacobi, Jude Law, Helen Mirren, and Ian McKellen, who talk about their approaches to Shakespearean roles they've played. Recommended for any theater maven.

The Tragedy of Arthur, by Arthur Phillips, is about a young writer named Arthur Phillips whose father is a Shakespeare-loving con artist. Near the end of the father's life, he reveals the existence of an unknown play by Shakespeare called The Tragedy of Arthur, which is included in the novel by real-world Arthur Phillips.

Shakespearean scholar David Bevington has written Murder Most Foul: Hamlet Through the Ages, a look at the play as "a paradigm for the cultural history of the English-speaking world."




The Capulets and the Montagues through two interestingly divergent lenses. Starting performances on July 14th, Theater 2020 tells the story of Romeo and Juliet as a Muslim/Hindu issue, while two rival sects of Orthodox Jews are the background conflict of the movie Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish, opening Friday at Lincoln Center.





Hudson Warehouse, which bills itself as "the other free Shakespeare in the Park," presents The Taming of the Shrew in the Riverside Park starting August 4th.

The Drilling Company give us Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot, at Ludlow and Broome, performing The Comedy of Errors and Hamlet.



Ye Olde Appe: All of Shakespeare—plays, sonnets, poems—in a free iPhone app.













Cultural and literary notes, plus self-guided walks, courtesy of Walking Off the Big Apple, a strolling guide to New York City.


A Walk for Tea: From SoHo to Chinatown

Tea drinking in New York, as with the rest of the country, is experiencing a surge, though not quite at the caffeinated levels of coffee's popularity. Local spots to drink tea have always been around, associated with cultures and customs as varied as Chinatown's tea parlors or favorite places for a traditional English afternoon tea. Yet, more tea spots and businesses have opened in the city over the past few years to meet this growing demand for all things Camellia sinensis. Even at home, while I am inclined to reach for the coffee pot first thing in the morning, more guests are now politely requesting a tea. A focus on the health benefits of tea is an important reason for the new popularity. Many consumers have graduated beyond the black tea bag and are eager to expand their knowledge of speciality teas, especially the green teas from China.

A good way to broaden one's tea horizon in New York is to take a walk. While it's possible to locate tea shops, parlors, and restaurants all over the city, a walk that begins with tea shops in SoHo and then ends to the south in Chinatown makes for an excellent cultural and culinary journey. [Continued]


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