Our short play festival of commissioned plays is very exciting programming that has been so successful that we look forward to bringing back our 5th installment in 2017!
The first festival, Some Of Our Parts, ran for 9 performances from June 22-30, 2011. The second, More Of Our Parts, ran for 12, June 20-July 1, 2012. We took it to the Kennedy Center July 24, 2012, to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The third, Still More Of Our Parts, ran for 14 performances, from June 13-28, 2013, 6 plays in 70 minutes. Our fourth festival, POWER PLAYS, ran from June 12-29, 2014.
POWER PLAYS featured the return of three writers from our previous festivals - Bekah Brunstetter, Bruce Graham and Neil LaBute. They were joined by John Guare and David Henry Hwang to produce TBTB’s most successful short play festival to date. Our 2017 festival promises to feature work from even more of our countries most prominent and up-and-coming playwrights.
Here are some of the reviews from our latest festival:
”Fierce and Funny!” - New York Times
"Really enjoyable. Incredibly charming and a lot of fun. If you want to power up before summer is in full swing, see POWER PLAYS." - Bess Rowen, Huffington Post
"Power Plays is a rarity ... every play succeeds on its own terms. Brilliant fun. Hilarious. Compelling. A master class in the many style of contemporary writing for the stage. Go see it ... and leave with a spring in your step–or a bounce in your chair." - Jon Sobel, blogcritics.org
"Ambitious and exciting. Theater Breaking Through Barriers shatters stereotypes through strong production design, several thought-provoking pieces, and a game ensemble of actors and directors." - Jake Lipman, nytheaternow.com
"a joy to watch…a night of short plays not to be missed." - nytheatreguide.com
From Artistic Director Ike Schambelan
It has long been my deepest artistic ambition to change the way the world does Shakespeare, by showing how modern and accessible he is if you go back to his rules of much faster running times than we’re used to, audience address at any time not just in soliloquies, and doubling, actors playing more than one role. Here at TBTB we’ve done Hamlet with 6, A Midsummer Night’s Dream with 6 and Romeo and Juliet, an early play when his company had less money, with 4. We’ve just done The Merchant Of Venice with 7. All have been very well received.
REVIEWS OF TBTB’S SHAKESPEARE
May 16-June 11, 2006 – Mint Space
The New York Times – “Actors who show signs of having actually analyzed Shakespeare’s language. The audience can understand the meaning of every word. A cast of six playing multiple roles. An admirable, often intriguing production. The language is Elizabethan but other elements are contemporary. Small but punchy contemporary touches include the gravediggers’ Amstel beer, the gun that Laertes holds on the royal couple and the Actors’ Equity cards that dangle from the tote bags of the traveling theater troupe. During the ‘To be or not to be’ speech, Hamlet considers a prescription-pill bottle.”
nytheatre.com – “A well-acted marvel of economy and energy [by] six passionate, versatile, and committed actors. This production makes the so-familiar work seem brand new. This breathless (but never rushed!) staging keeps us entertained and riveted. The play move[s] swiftly and tautly, with the myriad quick changes and potential overlaps challenging the artists delightfully in a kind of game/test of skill that’s wondrously original and amusing. Fresh and accessible. Melanie Boland is a splendid Gertrude. Pamela Sabaugh is probably the most convincing Ophelia I’ve ever seen. Nicholas Viselli as the Prince [is] enormously appealing. As involving and engaging production as I think it’s possible to have.”
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
Jan. 27-Feb. 25, 2007 – Barrow Group Theater
The New York Times – Critics Pick - “A fascinating choice for Theater By The Blind with “the most intriguing thing [being] how the company stages the play with just six actors” and with the use of Ann Marie Morelli, an actress in a wheelchair, adding a “most delightful extra layer of meaning in the production. It’s difficult to tell who in the cast is vision-impaired and who isn’t, which is part of the point.”
ROMEO AND JULIET
March 5-April 6, 2008 - Kirk Theatre, Theatre Row
The New York Times – “This production uses just four actors, but it’s no 15-Minute Shakespeare novelty. The multirole casting is interesting in and of itself. Costumes and accents help keep everything clear, and the approach works surprisingly well. Emily Young’s marvelous Juliet is fresh and vibrant throughout. Mr. Mozgala, who has cerebral palsy, in particular shatters the myth that actors with mobility problems make for static productions, throwing himself around the stage with abandon.”
nytheatre.com – “You owe it to yourself to see this production. The time will melt away as you get pulled into the energy and emotion of the story [in this] thoroughly modern and enlightened production. Entertaining the idea that the play is written as a quartet, [Schambelan] has also found a great rhythm for the action and the characters.”
Play Shakespeare.com – “The text is beautifully delivered by all four performers and Schambelan keeps the action moving as quickly as a classic Marx Brothers movie. This will be a really tough act for future Romeo and Juliet productions to follow.”
MERCHANT OF VENICE
April 14-May 13, 2012 - Clurman Theatre, Theatre Row
The New York Times – “A production that expertly explores its furious side. Mr. Viselli embodies an anguished and vengeful man and that rage stirs the passions of the rest of the cast. An adept group, the seven actors are lively, handling more than two dozen characters.”
The Huffington Post – “The most enjoyable production of this play that I have ever seen, inviting the audience to enjoy the blatant theatricality. The laughs got bigger and bigger. I was completely engrossed.”