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London theater review: Technically impressive ‘War Horse’ fails to dig deep

The West End’s “War Horse” successfully showcases captivating stage pictures and astounding technical achievements to continue bringing in audiences and box office success (it’s been running since 2009 in the West End’s New London Theatre after a two-year run at the National Theatre). The production is well-executed, but the story doesn’t go much below the…

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.

Exploring Jews in Hitler’s army: One-man play “The Mitzvah” comes to Stanford

Last Monday night, Roger Grunwald – the child of a Holocaust survivor – brought his thought-provoking one-man play “The Mitzvah” to Hillel on Stanford campus. Presented the day before the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the play and the lecture following it resonated academically and personally with many in the audience. In particular, Grunwald…