Alain Badiou occupies an odd place in contemporary philosophy. Showered with superlatives like “France’s greatest living philosopher” and “one of the greatest thinkers of our time,” he somehow doesn’t merit even a cursory entry in that definitive academic reference site, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.[...]
The BBC’s acclaimed podcast A History of the World in 100 Objects brought us just that: the story of human civilization as told through artifacts from the Egyptian Mummy of Hornedjitef to a Cretan statue of a Minoan Bull-leaper to a Korean roof tile to a Chinese solar-powered lamp.[...]
Has a writer ever inspired as many adaptations and references as William Shakespeare? In the four hundred years since his death, his work has patterned much of the fabric of world literature and seen countless permutations on stage and screen.[...]
Think back, if you will to the dawn of the 60’s, or failing that, the third season of Mad Men, when Broadway musicals could still be considered legitimate adult entertainment and Bye Bye Birdie was the hottest ticket in town.[...]
Since 2008, a recording has been making the rounds on YouTube of Bertolt Brecht singing ‘Die Moritat von Mackie Messer,’ or what’s more commonly known as “Mack the Knife” in English, a song Kurt Weill and Brecht composed for The Threepenny Opera, which premiered in Berlin in 1928.[...]
“Merdre,” the very first word spoken in Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, needs no introduction. When it first opened — and closed — on stage in 1896, it didn’t have to do much more than that to get its audience worked up.[...]
I don’t quite know why I instinctively associate David Bowie with Bertolt Brecht, but maybe the city of Berlin has something to do with it. The English rock star moved there in 1976 and (in collaboration with Brian Eno) recorded his influential “Berlin trilogy” of albums — Low, “Heroes”, and Lodger.[...]
Are your idle moments spent inventing imaginary conversations between strange bedfellows? The sort of conversation that might transpire in a pickup truck belonging to Samuel Beckett, say, were the Irish playwright to chauffeur the child André Rene Roussimoff—aka pro wrestler André the Giant—to school?
Too silly, you say? Nonsense.
1961 saw the television debuts of The Bob Newhart Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, ABC’s Wide World of Sports, Yogi Bear, and …um, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, famously described by theater critic Vivian Mercier as “a play in which nothing happens, twice.[...]
Other than Romeo and Juliet and possibly Hamlet, Shakespeare doesn’t exactly lend himself to the elevator pitch. The same creaky plot devices and unfathomable jokes that confound modern audiences make for long winded summaries.
Not to say it can’t be done.