For her senior project for Stanford Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS), producer and actress Safiya Nygaard ’14 chose to take on “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,“ Tennessee Williams’ most famous work. The production, directed by Michael Hunter Ph.D. ’13 and put on by the Stanford Theater Laboratory in conjunction with the Department of Theater & Performance Studies, provides a good, if sometimes uneven, introduction to the classic.
A calming moisture levitated in the cool air last Friday evening as I locked up my wet bike and headed towards the side entrance of Memorial Auditorium. I walked up a small set of stairs and through a set of large wooden doors into a small room packed with people, all waiting expectantly for the doors to open to the Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) performance of Swan Lake Recalibrated, as choreographed by Alex Ketley.
I think of myself as a healing artist,” explained Lynn Nottage, the acclaimed and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, in conversation with Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Harry Elam on Thursday afternoon in Pigott Theater.
The final installation in a tetralogy of monarchical histories, Henry V is the story of the young and mighty King Henry V of England and his efforts to conquer French lands at the bloody Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years’ War. Sound like a history lesson?
Though they employ diverse stories and forms to convey their message, this year’s Oscar-nominated documentary features all explore the role of art in contemporary society.
Both “20 Feet from Stardom” and “Cutie and the Boxer” expose the working realities of the contemporary art world, giving voice to relatively unheard artists. Meanwhile, “The Act of Killing,” “The Square” and “Dirty Wars” challenge audiences to consider the ethics and efficacy of art as a means of political expression. While these films are not of universal quality, they are, collectively, a reminder that art matters and that films have an uncanny capacity to shape the world they depict.
As much fun as the first act of “Napoli!” is, it’s somewhat surprising that Eduardo de Filippo’s WWII tale about the moral sacrifices necessary for survival in times of war has been revived today at the American Conservatory Theatre. It’s not that the “every-man-for-himself” mentality the characters start to espouse is outdated, but the preachy and patriarchal way in which the play makes its points, by having the father be the moral center who must correct the wrongs of his ambitious but short-sighted wife, is distasteful to modern audiences.