Thursday, July 2, 2009

Austin Theatre: Classics vs. New Plays, comments by Robert Faires, Austin Chronicle, July 2

Robert Faires looks at the last 25 years of theatre in Austin, with special attention to the prominence of new plays. He notes a comeback of classical programming, broadly defined (which includes his own solo
Henry V, opening tonight).

[illustration by Leah Sharpe, Austin Chronicle]

Classics Comeback

Are the great dramas of yore reclaiming their place on Austin's stages?

Euripides, is that you?

You've been away so long, I almost didn't recognize you. And who's that behind you? Mikhail Bulgakov? Never thought to see him around these parts again. And J.B. Priestley, how long has it been? And is that Eugene O'Neill, too? And Sartre? And Molière? And Sheridan, Coward, and Chekhov?

Seems like every time you turn around this summer, you bump into another Grand Old Geezer of Western Drama somewhere on the Austin theatre scene. As the mercury is rising to record heights, so too is the number of local productions of plays that, for lack of a better term, could be called classics – roughly double the number that were mounted from May through August of 2008. In fact, for the first time in at least a generation, the number of classics onstage looks to be outpacing the number of new plays being produced locally.

That's a fairly stunning turnaround for this community, rather like having oatmeal suddenly displace migas as Austin's breakfast fare of choice. To the extent that Austin is known for theatre, it's known for new plays.

Read more at . . . .

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