Bringing you the issues since 1986

View Online Print Edition


Brush up on your dreams, spirits and Shakespeare at theatres near you

November, 2010

Raisin in the Sun
“What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” That phrase, from poet Langston Hughes, became the title of Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark play about a black family’s conflicting dreams.

The Black Theatre Workshop, celebrating its 40th year, is staging Raisin in the Sun. Its 1959 production won many awards for the 29-year-old author as the first play by an African-American woman to hit Broadway. The 1961 film likewise was well received. Both starred Sidney Poitier.

Hansberry was married to Jewish songwriter/producer Robert Nemiroff and influenced by Irish playwright Sean O’Casey. She worked with Paul Robeson on the newspaper Freedom. She died at age 34.

Directed by Tyron Beskin, Montreal diva Ranee Lee performs alongside the usual talented ensemble the Workshop is known for. Nov. 24 to Dec. 5 at Centaur Theatre


Blithe Spirit
Poet Percy Shelley wrote: “Hail to thee, blithe spirit.”

Playwright Noel Coward borrowed the title and, during the Blitz of London in 1941, retreated to Wales, where he wrote this comedy in just five days.

Since it deals with two dead wives conjured up by an eccentric medium, Madame Arcady, it was at first deemed inappropriate while a war was on. But Coward’s wit and theatre sense proved a morale-booster and it ran for 1,997 performances, setting a record for non-musical British plays. It has been revived many times on stage, TV, radio and film.

A musical version, High Spirits, hit Broadway in 1964.

The role of the bumbling medium attracted such great actresses as Ruth Gordon and Geraldine Page, who died of a heart attack while onstage in the role of Arcady.

At the Segal Centre, it is directed by Stratford Shakespeare veteran Marti Maradan.With John C. Dinning’s always-imaginative sets, this looks to be a winner.

Nov. 21 to Dec. 12 at the Segal Centre


Henry V
“Brush up your Shakespeare,” Cole Porter advised in Kiss Me Kate.

You can do so with Persephone Productions’ Henry V. Readers may remember two fine films of this epic, Laurence Olivier’s in 1944 and Kenneth Branagh’s in 1989.

Henry, the wastrel prince led astray by fat everyman Falstaff in Henry IV, mounts a campaign to reclaim his lands in western France. His raggedy band of brothers march “once more unto the breach” and overcome French forces five times their number to the glory of “England, Harry and St. George.”

This triumph enabled King Harry (his nickname) to marry the French king’s daughter and possess some lands, establishing himself as the most loved of the eight King Henrys. (Alas, his son, Henry VI , was beset with intrigues and lost those lands to a spunky gal named Joan of Arc.)

Persephone’s cast of 14 is directed by founder Gabrielle Soskin and Christopher Moore. For a copy of my How To Tell The Eight King Henrys From One Another, email Until Nov. 13 at Monument National




Post a Comment