‘Coriolanus’ director talks about the timelessness of Shakespeare

Did Shakespeare’s stage directions really call for the character to hoist a machine gun into the air? Probably not, but it’s adaptation, people!

Incompetent leaders, tension between the government and the people, revolt: This sounds like excerpts from recent news headlines, but they’re actually themes in a play written 400 years ago.

“Every time we rehearse a scene we come upon something that was literally pulled right out of the contemporary political discourse,” says Steven Maler, director of this summer’s annual Shakespeare on the Common production, “Coriolanus.”

A year and a half ago, Maler was teaching a theater workshop at the University of Jordan when the Arab Spring — a wave of protests across the Middle East, from Egypt to Syria to Tunisia — exploded.
“I felt surrounded by that energy of people redefining their lives,” says Maler, who is responsible for picking each summer’s show. “The power of the populace in this play really resonated very powerfully with me. We see it in our own country through the Occupy Movement, this idea of revolt against the establishment.”

How could Shakespeare possibly be in tune with today’s conflict?

“It’s shocking,” admits Maler. “The cliché about Shakespeare is that his plays ‘feel like they were written yesterday.’”

“Coriolanus” is about a military general who leads Rome’s citizens on a mutiny during a food shortage. After their victory, the citizens vote him as their leader. But it turns out Coriolanus is a disastrous political ruler.

Perhaps modern-day politicians could benefit from seeing this show.

Free the people

In its 17th year, Shakespeare on the Common is still free. “Everybody, regardless of ability to afford the ever-increasing ticket prices of the theater, can go out and appreciate this,” says Maler. That sounds like something from Shakespeare’s time!


'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.


At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…


Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.


VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.


Interview: Jessica Alba is a stripper again in…

Jessica Alba has gotten used to vague phone calls from director Robert Rodriguez, the Austin-based auteur who has made a habit of putting Alba into…


Interview: Robert Rodriguez doesn't mind that Jessica Alba…

In making a Hollywood-friendly adaptation of Frank Miller's gritty "Sin City" graphic novel series, Robert Rodriguez learned that some things have to go — namely…


TV watch list, Wednesday, Aug. 20: 'Extant,' 'Legends'…

See a two hour block of Halle Berry's scifi show, "Extant."

The Word

The Word: Mischa Barton in trouble, not that…

  People are really, really worried about Mischa Barton. Again. The former "O.C." star is reportedly in deep financial trouble and can't seem to get…


2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)


Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.


2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)


MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb


Fun family activity: Off-Broadway show for pre-teens

"The Love Note" is an off-Broadway musical your pre-teen won't roll his or her eyes at.


Barnes & Noble partners with Samsung to release…

Barnes & Noble releases the first full android tablet optimized for reading.


11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.


The Chic Wife tells us how to use…

Kris Schoels, aka The Chic Wife, grew up on a farm with peach trees. August is National Peach Month, but Kris Schoels doesn’t need a reason…