All stories by Holger Syme on BroadwayStars

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Sunday, 12 January 1919 by Holger Syme

And suddenly, there are newspapers again: between Saturday and Sunday, most — all? — of the occupied buildings were stormed, dozens of protesters killed in process, hundreds arr…

SOURCE: at 02:03PM
Friday, January 11, 2019

Saturday, 11 January 1919 by Holger Syme

This was the weekend when the government abandoned all negotiations with the striking and occupying protesters and turned to outright violence: by Sunday, all occupied buildings had been sto…

SOURCE: at 03:45PM

Friday, 10 January 1919 by Holger Syme

It seems as though there was less outright street fighting this day, more a tense atmosphere of expectation — the occupants held firm but were awaiting an attack by government troops. …

SOURCE: at 03:27AM
Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Thursday, 9 January 1919 by Holger Syme

Negotiations between the government and the protesters are failing. The government has issued a call to arms, offering payment to citizens willing to join defence corps and “protect th…

SOURCE: at 01:43PM

Wednesday, 8 January 1919 by Holger Syme

The situation in Berlin remained chaotic: the police had ceased to operate, armed units of government forces and of revolutionaries could be seen all over the city, and public transport had …

SOURCE: at 12:41AM
Monday, January 7, 2019

Tuesday, 7 January 1919 by Holger Syme

Berlin remained in turmoil: the editorial in the morning edition of the Berliner Börsen-Zeitung called it “open war of citizens against citizens” and describes the scene: R…

SOURCE: at 02:52PM
Sunday, January 6, 2019

Monday, 6 January 1919 by Holger Syme

Not a great day to start this! 6 January 1919 was the day after the beginning of the uprising that became known (inaccurately) as the Spartacist Revolt (the English Wikipedia entry is not…

SOURCE: at 02:38PM

100 Years Ago: Berlin Stages a Century before Today by Holger Syme

This is a new project — let’s see how long I can keep it going. I will try to post every day about the theatrical offerings on stage in Berlin on this date a hundred years ago. I…

SOURCE: at 01:06PM
Friday, January 4, 2019

1920s Berlin Theatre: Research Marginalia 1 by Holger Syme

I’m now completely immersed in the work on my book on Shakespeare in Berlin in the last 100 years. In particular, I’m currently digging as deep as I can into the Weimar Republic …

SOURCE: at 02:32PM
Monday, December 31, 2018

Old Spaces, New Art: The Theatrical Avant-Garde and the Proscenium Stage by Holger Syme

I have been thinking quite a bit about the problem of theatrical space lately. Open any survey of theatre history, and you are likely to find a fairly standardized account of how the spaces…

SOURCE: at 02:18AM
Friday, November 16, 2018

Double Measures (Measure for Measure, Donmar Warehouse, dir. Josie Rourke, Nov 2018) by Holger Syme

The pitch for Josie Rourke’s Measure for Measure at the Donmar, as I had understood it, was that half-way through the show, Isabella and Angelo – or rather, Hayley Atwell and Jack Lowden…

SOURCE: at 10:57AM
Thursday, October 25, 2018

Necessary Wolves by Holger Syme

This is not a review of The Wolves, though if I were writing such a review, I’d urge you all to snap up the last few remaining tickets for the production of Sarah DeLappe’s play, directe…

SOURCE: at 01:54AM
Monday, March 12, 2018

A Bit of Theatre History: Shakespeare, Female Characters, and Big Leads by Holger Syme

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on here about the distant past — it’s been a while since I’ve written anything on here at all! — but because…

SOURCE: at 01:38AM
Monday, February 12, 2018

A Theatre without Actors by Holger Syme

[This text has been accepted for publication and will appear in a revised form in Theatre Survey 59.2 (May 2018) (published by Cambridge University Press); copyright (c) 2018, American So…

SOURCE: at 10:58AM
Wednesday, January 3, 2018

When the Halls are Full of Monsters by Holger Syme

Rehearsal halls have to be, by definition, safe spaces. They have to be places where people can be as vulnerable as necessary, as open as they need to be, as free of inhibitions, as daring, …

SOURCE: at 11:52PM
Monday, July 31, 2017

The Changeling (Middleton & Rowley; dir. Jackie Maxwell) Stratford, July 2017 by Holger Syme

Just some thoughts and responses, very much off-the-cuff, written right after I saw the show and only lightly edited: 1) I do not and will never understand the Anglo-American approach to “…

SOURCE: at 01:20PM
Saturday, May 20, 2017

How to Kill a Great Theatre: The Tragedy of the Volksbühne by Holger Syme

  Almost two years ago, the Berlin government announced that Frank Castorf’s contract as the artistic director of the Volksbühne would not be renewed after the end of his current ter…

SOURCE: at 01:53PM
Sunday, May 7, 2017

Three Sisters (Chekhov/Stone; dir. Simon Stone) Theater Basel/Theatertreffen, May 2017 by Holger Syme

When Simon Stone “overwrote” Lorca’s Yerma at the Young Vic last year, I was impressed — partly because he did so on a set that toyed with the apparent naturalism of …

SOURCE: at 01:49PM
Saturday, March 25, 2017

Why Matt Trueman is Wrong about Roman Tragedies by Holger Syme

I saw Ivo van Hove’s Roman Tragedies on Sunday. There is no doubt that the work is a significant achievement, an evening of towering ambition and awe-inspiring commitment, a display of an …

SOURCE: at 06:27PM
Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hamlet (Shakespeare; dir. Robert Icke) Almeida, London; Mar. 2017 by Holger Syme

Robert Icke’s Hamlet is so absolutely stacked with ideas and original takes that someone could produce an annotated edition of the play based on it. After a single viewing, I have almo…

SOURCE: at 09:59PM
Friday, November 4, 2016

Global Thoughts: Emma Rice, Irreverence, and Irrelevance by Holger Syme

So. It’s been over a week since the Emma Rice debacle at the Globe hit the headlines. My first response was anger and disbelief, and obviously, as is my won’t, I was ready to blo…

SOURCE: at 03:00PM
Thursday, October 20, 2016

Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare; dir. Nicolas Stemann) Kammerspiele, Munich, Oct 2016 by Holger Syme

One might say that Nicolas Stemann doesn’t so much stage The Merchant of Venice as interrogate the play – or the very possibility of staging it now. That would only capture part of what …

SOURCE: at 01:29PM
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Theatres and Cell Phones: A Generational Perspective by Holger Syme

A brief outburst, prompted by nothing in particular. Well, that’s lie. Prompted by this experience: I found myself walking into the Tom Patterson Theatre at Stratford in a crowd of tee…

SOURCE: at 03:30PM
Friday, September 16, 2016

Trump, Surrogatism, and the Death of TV Journalism by Holger Syme

From my Northern perch, I’ve been following the US election rather obsessively. From a partisan angle? Of course. If the orange monster gets elected, he will not just wreck his own cou…

SOURCE: at 03:13PM

The Plough and the Stars (O’Casey; dir. Sean Holmes) Abbey Theatre Dublin, at Canadian Stage, Toronto, Sept 2016 by Holger Syme

This is really quick and dirty and off the cuff… Carly Maga’s excellent review in the Toronto Star (wow, it feels nice to be able to use “excellent review” and “…

SOURCE: at 03:16AM
Saturday, August 13, 2016

Young Chekhov (trans. David Hare; dir. Jonathan Kent) National Theatre, London; Aug. 2016 (and also some The Plough and the the Stars) by Holger Syme

It was the worst of theatre, it was the best of theatre. This cycle of Chekhov’s first three plays (Platonov — heavily edited and adapted; Ivanov; and The Seagull), in new “…

SOURCE: at 02:04PM

Prose and Verse in the 1608 King Lear Quarto: An Alternative Explanation by Holger Syme

I’ve spent a good deal of time and energy writing about why Brian Vickers’s The One King Lear is such a terribly misguided book — both in an almost endless string of tweets…

SOURCE: at 08:13AM
Sunday, August 7, 2016

Doctor Faustus (Marlowe; dir. Maria Aberg) Swan/RSC, August 2016 by Holger Syme

I wasn’t too impressed with Maria Aberg’s production of Webster’s The White Devil at the RSC two years ago, and I went into this Faustus expecting more of the same: a moder…

SOURCE: at 10:55PM
Friday, August 5, 2016

The RSC and London: A widening Gulf? by Holger Syme

A quick one, in between shows: Compared to the theatre I’ve seen in London over the past two or three years, the four shows I saw in Stratford this week have been seriously, depressing…

SOURCE: at 07:47AM
Monday, August 1, 2016

The Alchemist (Ben Jonson; dir. Polly Findlay) RSC/Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon, August 2015 by Holger Syme

This will be short. You walk into the Swan. It might as well be the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. There’s smoke in the air and lots of candles, and soon a bunch of people in Jacobean outfit…

SOURCE: at 08:47PM

Cymbeline (Shakespeare, dir. Melly Still) RSC, August 2016 by Holger Syme

I’ll be seeing a lot of theatre over the next two weeks, and I’m badly out of practice in writing about shows — it’s been almost a year since I last did a proper revi…

SOURCE: at 12:09PM