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Noemi Berkowitz
Noemi Berkowitz is the Chief Theater Critic and a desk editor at The Stanford Daily. She is a junior from Lincoln, Nebraska, double majoring in theater and psychology. You may see her reciting Shakespeare, wearing tie-dye and hiking. Contact her at noemi11 'at' stanford.edu.

London theater on a budget

Interning in, visiting, or returning home to London? The theatrical home of Shakespeare, London is a place that is known for theater as much as it is for being expensive. Still, there are many ways to get discount tickets to some of the most exciting theater happenings in London. Here, we offer a look at some…

London theater review: Oscar winner Chiwetel Ejiofor carries ‘Everyman’

For a 15th-century morality play where the entire plot revolves around a sinner’s meeting with Death, the National Theater’s adaptation of “Everyman” by Carol Ann Duffy feels surprisingly modern and trendy. With an almost Shakespearean main character (in what feels like a modern musical retold to cast Consumerism and Partying as Sins), however, “Everyman” sometimes feels like…

StanShakes stages a female-centric, modern take on ‘Lear’

How can college-age students tackle a tragedy about an elderly King descending into madness? The Stanford Shakespeare Company’s (StanShakes) production, directed by Kevin Heller ‘16, does so by bending the script to accomodate its younger cast and audience. Heller chooses to make the Lear family ordinary people, not royalty, whose matriarch struggles with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. While some of the Shakespearean text is lost in the adaptation, the production succeeds in its choice to cast a female lead to drive its story.

‘The Downfall of Egotist J. Fatzer’: A hilarious, clever and nontraditional exploration of Brecht, war, and gender

It starts with four women dressing themselves as men, applying facial hair onstage and setting up the stage. It ends with them arguing about the point of the story they just told as they leave. That story is “The Downfall of Egotist J. Fatzer,” a TAPS production directed, translated and adapted from Brecht by Ph.D. student Jessi Piggott, and one of the most engaging productions at Stanford.

A weekend at the Sundance Film Festival with SFS

That’s what Sundance was for me: storytelling, having conversations with once-nameless strangers, sleeplessness remedied by caffeine and late nights hearing about the films everyone else had seen. I left with ideas for my own projects, a list of films to catch this year, and a twinge of regret for leaving a magical place where I could live in a surreal world of storytelling for a few days.

Original Winter One Acts raise questions of the absurd

This year’s three Original Winter One Acts, presented by Ram’s Head Theatrical Society, were all focused on the theme of absurdity. Here, The Daily reviews each of these new and exciting student-written works. We open with “Due Dates” by Daniel Johnson, described by OWOA as “a frat boy on a leash whipped on by a…

Aurora’s ‘Breakfast with Mugabe’ is a tension-fraught 100-minute power struggle

A fascinating man who has never shied away from making controversial decisions, Robert Mugabe is at the center of Aurora Theater Company’s play “Breakfast with Mugabe.” The show, which examines Mugabe’s relationship with psychiatrist Andrew Peric, creates eerily lifelike representations of the Mugabe family while chillingly examine what can happen to someone who crosses their path in just the slightest wrong manner. Brilliantly acted and fraught with tension, the production made up for its early inactive moments with a truly poignant conclusion.

Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Kurios’ dazzles in San Francisco

It’s mind-blowing while subtle, overwhelming but specific. Cirque du Soleil’s “Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities” is a dazzling mix of many varied acts. An elaborate steam-punk design combined with inventive new stretches of the human body and imagination makes “Kurios” a thrilling night of entertainment. While it doesn’t tell a specific story, the thrilling acrobatics…

Well-executed ‘Machinal’ delves into a 1920s murder trial

The TAPS production of Sophie Treadwell’s 1928 play this past weekend at the Nitery Theater was indeed mechanical — well-executed and smartly designed. Directed by Sammi Cannold ’16 and produced by Christina Medina ’15 as her senior project for TAPS, the show efficiently tells the story of a woman, Helen Jones (Elisa Vidales '18), accused of murdering her husband and the path that led her there. Often symbolic rather than personal, we understand Helen’s journey intellectually without necessarily connecting emotionally.

An exhilarating ‘Party People’ stuns at Berkeley Rep

“Power to the people.” This phrase is sung over and over in the exciting and thought-provoking production of “Party People” at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The show examines both the Black Panthers movement and the Young Lords movement years later, by examining the aftermath – the falling outs, the deaths, the betrayals – of the lives of those involved. By incorporating a “hyperkinetic mix of live video, hip hop, jazz, rock, gospel, blues, Latin rhythms and spoken word”, “Party People” is an exhilarating 180-minute ride that inspires, educates, and fascinates.

AATP boldly produces satirical “Ching Chong Chinaman”

“Ching Chong Chinaman” — the title is shocking, invoking a pejorative term used towards Asians. The play is meant to be controversial, to make a statement. Directed by Saya Jenks ’16, the Asian American Theater Project’s (AATP) brave production of Lauren Yee’s play in Roble Dorm Theater this past weekend had many entertaining moments, but the production doesn’t quite make it clear what statement it wants to make or what story it wants to tell about race relations.

Top 5 student theater productions this fall

It’s only fall quarter but the student theater groups on campus are already working on the many exciting shows they’ll be producing this quarter. Below are five of the shows that we at Arts & Life are looking forward to seeing between now and Thanksgiving break.

Review: “One Night with Janis Joplin”

Picture 1960s rock and roll, and the iconic Janis Joplin, arguably one of the greatest female rock singers, immediately springs to mind. The San Jose Repertory Theatre (San Jose Rep) brings her spirit to life in its production of “One Night with Janis Joplin.”
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