ACT’s ROMEO + JULIET: Beyond the Theatre

A Contemporary Theatre presents ROMEO + JULIET by William Shakespeare from March 1-31, 2019. Librarians at The Seattle Public Library created this resource list of books, videos, and a podcast to enhance your experience of the show.

ACT partnered with leaders in the Deaf community to make their production of Shakespeare’s classic story of young star-crossed lovers American Sign Language (ASL) integrated. The cast features deaf actors, including Joshua Castille as Romeo. Castille and others participated in a panel discussion on deaf actors and the use of ASL in musical theater at the Seattle Public Library back in June 2018. The Deaf Movement and Musical Theater is a podcast recording of that event. For other examples of Deaf Theater and Arts, watch the streaming video The National Theater of the Deaf: Performance and Commentary and check out Signing the Body Poetic: Essays on American Sign Language Literature, a collection of essays and an accompanying DVD that celebrate and analyze ASL artistic expression.

There have been many film adaptations of Romeo and Juliet. Notable versions include Franco Zeffirelli’s classic 1968 film, Baz Luhrmann’s frenetic and visually rich William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, and Aleta Chappelle’s recent Romeo and Juliet in Harlem, which features a cast of Black and Latinx actors.

Romeo and Juliet has also inspired a number of unique adaptations. Ronit & Jamil is young adult novel in verse set in the modern-day Israel-Palestine conflict. Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-path Adventure is a choose your own adventure style reimagining with more than a billion possible storylines. Ronald Wimberly’s graphic novel Prince of Cats (soon to be a movie starring Lakeith Stanfield) follows Tybalt and his crew of Capulets as they move through a stylized 1980’s Brooklyn battling the rival Montagues.

For these suggestions and more, see the complete resource list for ROMEO + JULIET.

~ Posted by Richard V.

‘Lauren Weedman Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’ at ACT

When For Better, or Worse turns out worse than you imagined, just say “Lauren Weedman Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” Put on your favorite dress, fix up your Country Music Hair, strut out of the house and onto the stage of This Sweet Old World .  Give yourself a break; have a Ladies’ Night out!  In fact, take as many nights out as you please to squeeze out all your sorrows. Continue reading “‘Lauren Weedman Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’ at ACT”

ACT’s Until the Flood: Beyond the Theatre

policACT (A Contemporary Theatre) presents UNTIL THE FLOOD by Dael Orlandersmith from June 8 to July 8, 2018. UNTIL THE FLOOD focuses on the social unrest following the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this list of books and films to enhance your experience of the show: ACT’s UNTIL THE FLOOD: Beyond the Theatre  

The names and places, unfortunately, are tragically familiar: Ferguson, Trayvon, Baltimore, Philando, Tamir, Baton Rouge, and Charles Kinseythe list goes on. How can we take it in? What does it mean? How can we comprehend?

Obie Award winning and Pulitzer Prize finalist playwright Dael Orlandersmith is bringing her work, UNTIL THE FLOOD, to ACT, with her quest of understanding how we got here and what it signifies. Focusing on Ferguson, Missouri, and the death of unarmed 18-year old Michael Brown, the one-act drama uses eight composite characters from the area to explore issues of race, social unrest, and political power. The characters all are working to find their standpoint with racial matters in our society, but from a personal level, ranging from teenagers to seniors, and from anger to reflection. Continue reading “ACT’s Until the Flood: Beyond the Theatre”

Never mind Hallowe’en: Christmas is the Original Haunted Holiday.

It’s that time of year again – a time of ghosts and goblins, of sudden chills and flickering candle flames at the stroke of midnight, of frights and haunts and things that go bump in the night. No, this isn’t a leftover post from Hallowe’en. For the Victorians, the spookiest holiday of the year was Christmas. Here’s British writer Jerome K. Jerome in 1891:

“There must be something ghostly in the air of Christmas — something about the close, muggy atmosphere that draws up the ghosts, like the dampness of the summer rains brings out the frogs and snails… Nothing satisfies us on Christmas Eve but to hear each other tell authentic anecdotes about specters. For ghost stories to be told on any other evening than the evening of the twenty-fourth of December would be impossible in English society as at present regulated.”

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Continue reading “Never mind Hallowe’en: Christmas is the Original Haunted Holiday.”

ACT’s ALEX & ARIS: Beyond the Theatre

ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) presents the world premiere of ALEX & ARIS by Moby Pomerance from July 14 to August 6, 2017. ALEX & ARIS is the story of a young prince (who would go on to become Alexander the Great) and his time as a pupil of the great philosopher Aristotle. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this list of books and films to enhance your experience of the show: ACT Theatre’s ALEX & ARIS: Beyond the Theatre.

Fiction can be an exciting way to visit the ancient past. Annabel Lyon’s The Golden Mean offers another exploration of the relationship between Aristotle and Alexander the Great. The first book in Mary Renault Alexander the Great trilogy, Fire from Heaven examines Alexander’s early life before he ascends to the throne. Set as his army is stalled, just before his final great victory, The Virtues of War by Steven Pressfield focuses on Alexander’s military acumen.

Continue reading “ACT’s ALEX & ARIS: Beyond the Theatre”