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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Making Stravinsky human through spoken word and song

Posted By on Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Spring TrainingPRC2Kenan TheatreCloses April 28 Universes, the Bronx-based performance troupe that fuses spoken word, song, rhythm and theater, epitomizes the concept of arts-as-multidisciplinary. The performers who comprise Universes—all of whom are persons of color—serve as storytellers and poets and music-makers. They're also social critics who aim to give voice to the silenced. And, for the most part, they succeed in doing so without being too heavy-handed. That’s no easy feat. Their newest piece, Spring Training, currently has its world premiere at PRC2 in Chapel Hill. Commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts and PlayMakers Repertory Company as part of their Rite of...

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Ray Dooley electrifies in PlayMakers' production of An Iliad

Posted By on Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Photo by Jon Gardiner for PlayMakers RepRay Dooley in An IliadAN ILIAD* * * * * starsPRC2 @ Kenan Theatre, UNC campusSept. 5-9 We think of Homer as the first bard, the beginner of dramatic storytelling. But storytelling is as old as dirt: ancient, the collected dust of time that retains the human imprint. From dust to dust we go, and from the dust we live on as stories. Ray Dooley as The Narrator in the bleak ruins of An Iliad seems beyond time, even as he relates the story of Homer’s Iliad, the mighty battles just before the sack...

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Disclosing arts education dilemmas in New York, and North Carolina: "No Child..." at PlayMakers

Posted By on Sun, Jan 15, 2012 at 10:08 AM

photo by Carol RoseggNilaja Sun in NO CHILD...NO CHILD…4 stars (out of 5)PRC2Through Jan. 15 To be truthful, I haven’t taught drama in a “worst of the worst” New York City classroom like playwright and performer Nilaja Sun, whose semi-autobiographical one-person show, NO CHILD… closes at PlayMakers Rep on Jan. 15. I taught high school drama in an economically and culturally impoverished North Carolina county during half of the last decade instead. It was the hardest—and most rewarding—job I have ever undertaken. And on the basis of the experience, I can say this much: Ms. Sun clearly knows whereof she...

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Frasier and Spamalot star David Hyde Pierce takes spotlight at PlayMakers

Posted By on Sat, Feb 12, 2011 at 7:27 AM

Photo by Joan MarcusOn the phone to discuss his receiving the PlayMakers Distinguished Achievement Award at the Carolina Inn on Saturday, Feb. 12, David Hyde Pierce shows little of the stuffy, obtuse uptightness he became famous for over 11 seasons as Niles Crane on TV’s Frasier. But the character’s fierce intelligence is on display as the four-time Emmy winner rapturously discusses his first love—the stage. Pierce, a Tony winner for 2007’s Curtains, first came to PlayMakers last year, when his longtime partner, UNC graduate Brian Hargrove (a long-time TV writer for such shows as Titus), was honored. Since Frasier ended...

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Angels in America: We can't talk about it, but you can...

Posted By on Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 6:22 PM

PlayMakers photo by Jon GardinerMatthew Carlson and Marianne Miller in Angels in AmericaThe good side? Another theater season, another blockbuster-level show as ANGELS IN AMERICA gets underway at PlayMakers Rep. The questionable side? For the second season running, PlayMakers' performance schedule for said blockbuster creates—oops!—an embargo that essentially keeps the region's critics gagged during the first two weeks of the run. As they say, once is an accident. Twice... and it begins to look like company policy. The still unfolding story of SPIDERMAN: TURN OFF THE DARK has raised a number of potentially useful questions. Just how "sacred" should preview...

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

The weight of the world in five-star Happy Days

Posted By on Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 4:42 PM

Andrea AkinJulie Fishell and Ray Dooley Happy Days5 starsPRC2 @ Elizabeth Price Kenan TheatreThrough Sept. 12; www.playmakersrep.org My newfound appreciation for the work of Samuel Beckett dates from 7:45 p.m., Sept. 8, after Julie Fishell’s character Winnie had been speaking for just a few minutes in PRC2’s new production of Beckett’s Happy Days in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre of the UNC Center for Dramatic Art. My every previous encounter with Beckett on page or stage had resulted in boredom, irritation and somnolence, as my youthful, impatient romantic soul rebelled against the bleak Beckettian waiting, insufficiently relieved by slaps of...

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Is "A Remarkable Document" Remarkable Enough?

Posted By on Sat, Mar 27, 2010 at 7:13 PM

Actor Joy JonesI Have Before Me A Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young Lady from Rwanda3 1/2 starsPRC 2Kenan Theater, UNC Through Mar. 28 Usually, determining a play’s subject is something of a preliminary task: one that leads us, more or less directly, into deeper critical waters. But within the past week, two productions—MoLoRa (Ash) at Duke and I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young Lady from Rwanda at UNC—have stopped me at what is usually a fairly neutral border in my critical walk. In both cases, it wasn’t enough to ask...

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Friday, January 15, 2010

PlayMakers actor, UNC DDA teacher Kenneth P. Strong, dead at 52

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 10:25 PM

Kenneth Strong, an actor and teacher with PlayMakers Repertory Company and the Department of Dramatic Art since 1979, died Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 12. Strong had fought glioblastoma brain cancer since 2007, a battle whose early rounds were documented by arts journalist Orla Swift in a Nov. 25, 2007 feature story in the Raleigh News and Observer. Strong had achieved distinction for his memorable contributions to over 50 PlayMakers productions, including Pericles, The Little Prince, God's Man in Texas, and Art.  He also performed in a 1996 Broadway revival of "Inherit the Wind" with George C. Scott, in addition to...

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Slamming for a Touch (and other prizes): Spoken word competition Friday night at PlayMakers

Posted By on Wed, Jan 13, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Word to the slammers — and all of the other spoken word and poetry performance practitioners in the region: Following the Friday, Jan. 15 performance of The Big Bang by Universes, PlayMakers Rep will sponsor a spoken word performance competition in Kenan Theater. Prizes to be awarded include a 3rd-generation Apple Ipod Touch. The three-round competition is for original works, performed by their creators, on any subject, in any style. Performances in each round will be timed, and must be under three minutes in length (with a 30-second grace period before penalties will be assessed). Each poem may only...

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