Putting it Together
Art isn't easy
By Geary Danihy
There’s Broadway, and then there’s all the rest, all the regional and local theaters across the country fighting to stay alive, to bring the magic of live theater to what some would say is a steadily dwindling, ever-aging audience. For theater demands attention, attention that extends beyond 15 minutes, attention that requires engagement, commitment…and a sense of what it is to be human, a sense of what is conferred when humans gather together to see and hear a story told, to allow the lights to darken and enter a dream.
In this age of digital entertainment, when Hamlet can be watched by a simple stroke of keys, when diversion is at your fingertips, how does a local theater group survive…and thrive? Tom Holehan, founder and artistic director of Square One Theatre Company in Stratford, thinks he has the answer: keep it simple. Apparently, it’s a good answer, because Square One will soon be celebrating its 25th season.
Square One? Well. The name evokes how the theater got its start…it started from, well, square one. Holehan, who grew up in Utica, New York, was bitten early by the theater bug, a pernicious creature that, once it gets its fangs into you, never lets go. Holehan initially went to Buffalo State to earn a degree in journalism, but the theater called to him and he eventually graduated with a degree in theater arts. Over the course of his four years of undergraduate work he had acted, but he sensed that wasn’t his calling.
(Photo: Al Kulcsar and Gabriel Morrow in "Freud's Last Session," directed by Tom Holehan. Photo by Richard Pheneger)
Community Theater Tackles "Les Miz
By Bonnie Goldberg
The penalty for stealing a loaf of bread, especially when it is taken to stave off starvation for a loved one's child, should not be years of imprisonment. Said to have been inspired by a true incident, in Paris in 1862, the French playwright and author Victor Hugo saw a wealthy woman bedecked in furs, riding in a luxurious carriage, sit obliviously by as a poor man was arrested. It happened virtually at her feet and the man was hauled away to jail for a minor crime.
Victor Hugo, novelist, essayist, poet, visual artist, statesman and advocate for human rights, was so affected by that scene of injustice that he wove it into his famous story of Jean Valjean in his novel "Les Miserables" or "The Poor." Even though it was banned by the French government, the story met with great success among the populace, so much so that people fought to buy one of the 48,000 copies sold on the first day it was published. Set to music a century later, "Les Miserables," produced by Cameron Mackintosh, has celebrated twenty five years as a majestic and sweeping drama that puts history on parade in a dramatic march through the French Revolution.
Blogs of Interest
Blogs about Connecticut theater, movie reviews, and the arts.
Artes Magazine -- fine art, architecture, design and theater
Back Stage Buzz - current and archived interviews with CT artists
susangranger.com -- movie reviews
CT Arts Connection
WMNR Fine Arts Radio (Rosalind Friedman's Review)
www.courant.com/curtain (Frank Rizzo reviews)
www.reflectionsinthelight (Lauren Yarger reviews)
www.nytheaterscene.com (Irene Backalenick/David Rosenberg reviews)