Macbeth, Reminds Me of the Good Ol Days

By Jacob M Rominger

Artistic Director Gemma Bodinetz presentation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in Liverpool is a pleasant combination of modern and traditional that comforts the solitary.

The performance: https://www-digitaltheatreplus-com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/education/collections/digital-theatre/macbeth

Not exactly Scottish but here is some local art I keep on my wall of the Irish Ogham script.

The Container: Refugees Fighting to Survive

The Container, by Clare Bayley, tells the story of a group of asylum seekers being smuggled across Europe, to England, in a shipping container. The performance took place outside the Young Vic Theatre in a real shipping container. I viewed the performance via Digial Theatre Plus (though seeing it live in the container would have been much cooler).

Written By: Zackarya Faci

The performance recounts the hardships of five refugees as they are smuggled across Europe. They discuss their backgrounds, visions of what England will be like, and even get on each others nerves. They fight over what little food and water they have–thinking one is more deserving based on the struggles they have lived through in the past. Though it makes sense that they would be so easily agitated, since they are confined together in such a small space.

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The Importance of Empathy: The Container

Everyone knows the three essentials for survival: water, food, and shelter. But people always seem to forget about our human need for warmth whether it is literal warmth, heat, or a more figurative warmth through relationships with other people. The Container shows us all four of these necessities during its run time but the main takeaway I got from the performance was that having warmth will let people feel safer than water, food, or shelter will.

By Grace Chen

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Dance Constrained: Virago-Man Dem

The performers of Virago-Man Dem did an amazing job at depicting the layers of masculinity, however, they were constrained by their medium of communication: video. Of course, when their performance was filmed, they were dancing for a live audience but for everyone else who wants to watch the show, the audience loses a lot of the experience just because they are viewing through a screen.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Jonathan Gonzalez, Duane Cyrus, Ni’Ja Whitson, Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.
From https://www.cynthiaoliver.com/virago-man-dem during the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival.

By Grace Chen

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The Merchant of Venice: A Relevant Comedy

The Merchant of Venice is Polly Findlay’s adaptation of the play written by William Shakespeare. The performance took place in Stratford-upon-Avon, but I watched the performance online through Digital Theatre Plus. The play is a complex tale of money, greed, and prejudice; Antonio, an antisemitic, takes out a loan from the Jew Shylock, which he cannot afford to repay.

Written By: Zackarya Faci

The first thing to note is the language used throughout the performance. It is reminiscent of 16th-century English and stays true to the language used in the original play. While it required more attention to fully grasp what the actors were saying, it was still understandable and enjoyable. One thing that veered from the original play is the costume choice. A much more modern dress was used–which I believe made this play more enjoyable and feel like a newly created work. Also, the contrast of how the actors dressed and spoke added a unique and memorable element.

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Macbeth

Tyler Tubbs

Hello and welcome back to my blog! This week, I used the UIUC digital theater to enjoy the classic Shakespearean masterpiece, Macbeth. In this Liverpool 2011 rendition, actor David Morrissey delivers a wondrous performance that was worthy of his role as Macbeth. Throughout the production, Morrissey’s gripping performance allows Shakespeare’s incredible storytelling to manifest.

Additionally, the set and atmosphere by Francis O’Connor provide the initial construction of the dark and somewhat haunting mood of the show. It was particularly interesting how rapid the transition was from Macbeth’s desolate battlefield to Duncan’s war-room. O’Connor, using nothing but lighting changes and a singular square table, convinced the audience of a complete and dramatic set shift.

Thank you once again for stopping by! Unfortunately, this will likely be my final event blog for the semester. I have had such an amazing time discovering novel and interesting theatrical art forms with each and every one of you this semester.

Link to performance: https://www-digitaltheatreplus-com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/education/collections/digital-theatre/macbeth

The Container: The Journey to Asylum

The Container is a production that is filmed by Digital Theatre inside a shipping container at the Young Vic Theatre. This production tells the story of a group of refugees that are getting transported in the back of a truck’s shipping container through Europe to London where they want to ask for asylum. 

By Elena Grantcharski

My first impression is that I really enjoyed this production and I was super impressed by how it was both a short film and a play at the same time. According to the Digital Theatre + website where I watched this production, there was an audience of 28 inside the shipping container with the actors. I found this really impressive because 1) they were able to hide the audience perfectly inside that small container while also basically filming an entire film, 2) the actors were able to act so well in just one take with the presence of a live audience in that tiny space with them. I have never seen such a production before so I think it was really creative and I hope more productions are made in the future this way. I think having the audience inside the container was also a great way to make them feel more immersed in the production. 

In this image, you can spot the audience that is in the container with the actors.
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Metamorphosis: A Commentary on the Working Class

Metamorphosis is a play that is adapted from a novel by Franz Kafka. It was adapted by Steven Berkoff who also directed the production that I watched on Digital Theatre +. This version was performed by the Parco Theatre in Tokyo, Japan.

By Elena Grantcharski

The plot is about a salesman named Gregor who works very hard every day to support his family. From the very first scene, we learn that his job is very strict. He has to take a 5am train to work because if he is late he will be fired. On the next day, Gregor turns into an insect. He can hear his family trying to wake him up, he can understand them, but he cannot do anything to reply because he literally became an insect. The actor’s use of the body here was really impressive. He did not wear a costume of an insect. Instead, he contorted his body and made bug-like motions which were very effective in creeping me out but also impressed me on actually how much he looked at a bug at some points. While he struggles with his new reality, his boss comes to his home and interrogates his parents and sister on his absence, showing how absorbed Gregor’s life was by his job. 

An example of how the actor contorted his body to look like an insect.
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(Make up Event) The Tempest: Magic and Power Dynamics

The Tempest is widely known as one of Shakespeare’s plays. It is a story where magic is one of the main elements.I watched a production of Shakespeare’s world renowned production of the Tempest on the Digital Theatre + website. This play was performed live by the Royal Shakespeare Company with the help of Intel and the Imaginarium Studios. 

By Elena Grantcharski

I will start off by being honest and saying that I generally am not a huge Shakespeare fan. I respect and appreciate his work but I have never been interested in the Shakespeare works that I have read in high school. His writing style is generally not for me. However, something I really do love is magic. I have never read or watched The Tempest and I was surprised by how much I actually liked it. I really enjoyed the magic aspect of the play. The play is about Prospero, an older man with magical powers and a very beautiful daughter. 

The main character Prospero, and his daughter Miranda.
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The Nutcracker

Written by Zeying Lang

Figure retrieved from https://www-digitaltheatreplus-com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/education/collections/royal-opera-house/the-nutcracker

One of the most famous ballet plays written by Pyotr Llyich Tchaikovsky in 1892, the Nutcracker, is presented by one of the greatest ballet companies, the Royal Ballet. Come to experience a magical night tour with Marie and the nutcracker. 

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