MOVIE REVIEW | “The Zero Theorem” by Terry Gilliam: Hair of the dogma

A famous Monty Python sketch depicts an archbishop and a humanist philosopher wrestling to determine whether God exists. The British comedy team’s comic spirit exposed the ludicrous attempt to definitively answer imponderable questions while insisting that it was equally silly to fight over such issues. Their deep silliness could almost constitute the mythology of the comic that Monty Python symbolized. It took on the Big Questions and found a deeper silliness beneath philosophy and theology. It embodied a mythic trickster silliness that was more ultimate – and ultimately healing – than abstractions. Continue Reading

Clive Geraghty: Great Irish actor at the Irish Fair of Minnesota

Clive Geraghty, one of Ireland’s finest actors, will be bringing his self-authored script A Celebration of Seamus Heaney to the Irish Fair as an Ouroboros Theatre, Ireland, production. His presentation will evoke the spirit of the great Irish poet and world famous Nobel Laureate who passed away in August, 2013.Mr. Geraghty was involved with the Abbey theatre, Ireland’s National Theatre, from 1962 to 2005 offering thousands of performances in hundreds of plays. Some of the highlights from his extraordinary career include playing the roles of Charlie (1985) and later Da (2006 Irish national tour) in different productions of Hugh Leonard’s autobiographical comic masterpiece, Da; playing Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (directed by Joe Dowling currently the Guthrie Theater’s Artistic Director); presenting Hickey in Eugene O’Neill’s scorching The Iceman Cometh; portraying the terrifying Irish patriarch in Tom Murphy’s A Whistle in the Dark, and appearing in six different productions of O’Casey’s towering portrait of Dublin city and its denizens in 1916, The Plough and the Stars. He won the Best Actor award in the early 1980s for his portrait of the concentration camp martyr, Maximilian Kolbe in Kolbe.Mr. Geraghty was also a director for two years with the Abbey and one of its shareholders for a quarter of a century. His reminiscences, anecdotes, and stories evoke the huge camaraderie and spirit of Ireland’s most important theatre. Continue Reading

THEATER REVIEW | “Tristan & Yseult” at the Guthrie Theater: High strung circus-opera for the loved and unloved

Anarchic, hectic, mesmerizing, silly, and diverting, Tristan & Yseult presented by the English company Kneehigh from Cornwall, is a universal circus for the unloved, the lorn in love, the love frenzied, and the love mangled.Suffused with Arthurian associations, Cornwall – like the wood outside Athens in A Midsummer Night’s Dream – contains a magical and transformative geography. Puckish play and wit can transmogrify bliss and pain. The solid serious world can melt and metamorphose. Kneehigh’s signature “joyful anarchy” tunes into this reality-warping Cornwall when presenting their version of one of Europe’s most storied Celtic knots of doomed love, jealousy and betrayal. Tristan (Andrew Durand) and Yseult (Etta Murfitt) fall for each other — assisted with a love potion — as Yseult travels to marry King Mark (Stuart Goodwin) of Cornwall. Continue Reading

THEATER REVIEW | Penumbra Theatre’s “The Ballad of Emmett Till” gives Emmett Till a voice

When James Joyce wrote his short story The Dead, he describes Lily, the caretaker’s daughter, as “literally run off my feet.” This inexact and incorrect phrase accurately pinpoints her harried point of view and she very briefly has control of the story. The problem with Emmett Till, the 14 year old black youth murdered in Mississippi by vicious racists in 1955, is how to allow him to control his story.Penumbra Theatre embraces the impossibility in The Ballad of Emmett Till. “My life was short, but not uneventful,” brags the happy voice of Emmett Till. It succeeds in finding a form that will capture and represent and echo his youth through a playful theatricality: a few chairs morph into a car shaking across Mississippi backroads; the cast briskly inhabit many roles; he poses in his sharp suit like a young lion. Continue Reading

THEATER REVIEW | A bright brilliant bouquet: “Uncle Vanya” connects with the Guthrie Theater’s past

Why a version of Chekhov’s 1897 Uncle Vanya by the Irish playwright Brian Friel? First, the play’s director, Joe Dowling, acknowledges Friel (1929-) as his greatest mentor. Dowling is one of the few masterly directors of Friel’s canon. He first directed the world premiere of Living Quarters at the Abbey Theatre (Ireland’s National Theatre) in Dublin in 1977, but has always stated that the production of Philadelphia, Here I Come! presented at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1964 made him commit to theater as a career. Continue Reading