Author: Russell Warne

Report on the 2016 Theatre Olympics (Wrocław, Poland)

WROCŁAW, POLAND — Thanks to the generous financial support of the Foundation of the American Theatre Critics Association (and the kindness of my boss to let me miss a few days of work), I spent a six days in eastern Poland attending the 2016 Theatre Olympics. While in Poland I was fortunate enough to attend a multiday young critics’ seminar (sponsored by the International Association of Theatre Critics) and—of course—I saw some plays. Aside from the occasional touring company and the BYU Off the Map international theatre festival, Utahns get few opportunities to see international theatre. Therefore, I think it is...

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Take a brief holiday with THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

PROVO — Oscar Wilde‘s fans in Utah have a new production of The Importance of Being Earnest that showcases why they love Wilde’s work. As an added bonus, BYU’s production of this classic comedy of manners and mix-ups shows why the university has a reputation for mounting respectable productions of classic plays. Director Rodger D. Sorensen understood fully that for this show, as Gwendolen says in the third act, “Style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.” A successful production of The Importance of Being Earnest should not take itself too seriously, and Sorensen’s principal aim in this version was to entertain. Much of the...

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Are online theatre reviews as useful as traditional reviews?

How influential are online theatre reviews, like those that UTBA publishes? Do people actually choose whether to buy a ticket in response to an online play review? Are online critics “just bloggers,” or do they carry some weight with their readers and the public? Some of these questions are answered in a new study that I conducted with the help of my student co-author, Malisa M. Drake-Brooks (currently a student in the Masters of Social Work program at the University of Utah). Background In UTBA’s six and a half years in existence, I have heard anecdotal evidence of people...

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Make room for Utah Shakespeare Fest’s THE ODD COUPLE

CEDAR CITY — After being thrown out of the house by his wife, and with nowhere else to turn, Felix Unger moves in with his longtime friend, Oscar Madison. Before long, the fastidious Felix and the slob Oscar are at each other throats. Their disagreements form the plot of The Odd Couple, Neil Simon’s classic play that made him a household name. What makes the Utah Shakespeare Festival production different from most is the decision to have Festival co-artistic directors Brian Vaughn and David Ivers switch roles and play Felix and Oscar on opening nights. For the September 16...

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Direction makes HENRY V falter at the Utah Children’s Theatre

SOUTH SALT LAKE — Theatre is the most collaborative art; even the most basic shows require the creative input from several people. That is why it is remarkable when a production works. The contribution of just one designer, performer, or technical artist can sometimes make the difference in the success of a production. This was apparent in the Utah Children’s Theatre production of Henry V: despite the impressive efforts of some of the artists involved, essential aspects of this production fell short, and the play never crystalized into the show that it had the potential to be. One of...

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