Revisiting the 1920s with Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost”

Jim Helsinger as Don Adriano de Armado, Jacob Dresch as Costard, and Maxel Garcia as Moth star in Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s production of “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” (Photo by Tony Firriolo.)


ORLANDO — Were the 1920s one of the last truly great decades, a time of economic prosperity when the nation was not at war, when Jazz was born and the parties never stopped? Was it the last moment of wide-eyed optimism before the Great Depression, World War II and other upheavals brought everything crashing back to Earth?
Hard to say. But it’s worth noting that if anyone books a ticket to see the Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s production of William Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” they should also catch the ongoing production of “The Great Gatsby”.
Both plays are set in the 1920s — “Gatsby” in New York and “Love’s” in Navarre, Spain, and the production values in both are first rate — from the music of the era to one of the true stars of both shows, the fine work of the Shakespeare’s Swingin’ Sewin’ Society and Costume Shop Volunteers, who made those elegant outfits that evoke the 1920s. Try to see both productions, if you can, because they most definitely work together in this evocation of a bygone era. Continue reading

Polanski’s “Frantic,” and the fear of the Muslim immigrant

Roman Polanski’s movie “Frantic” was released in U.S. cinemas on Feb. 26, 1988, so it now marks its 29th anniversary. The movie was released two years after Polanski’s box office failure “Pirates,” which was also savaged by the critics. In comparison, “Frantic” did well at the box office and drew positive reviews by critics who felt it was a solid if not spectacular return to form for the Polish director.

Harrison Ford and Betty Buckley star in Roman Polanski’s thriller “Frantic.”

The movie, about an American physician arriving in Paris for a medical conference who thinks his wife may have been kidnapped, was praised as a Hitchcock-style thriller with a first-rate lead performance by Harrison Ford.
Today, “Frantic” is largely forgotten. It was made in-between two Academy Award-winning films by the director, “Tess” in 1980 and “The Pianist” in 2002.

“Frantic,” like many of the other movies that Polanski made after leaving the United States in 1978, has largely been written off as being sub-par compared to his 1960s and 1970s efforts, which included “Knife In The Water,” “Repulsion,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Chinatown.”
Seen today, “Frantic” is clearly a very well made and tense thriller. Continue reading

Hey, Artists: Freeline Media is covering Orlando Fringe

Freeline Media will be covering the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival in May. (Photo by Michael Freeman.)

ORLANDO — Artists, producers and directors who have a show in the upcoming Orlando Fringe, take note: Freeline Media will be covering the festival in May, so get your press releases and contact information ready. The curtains are gearing up to rise!
The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival was created in 1991 by Terry Olson (who is now the director of the Orange County Division of Arts and Cultural Affairs), Andy Anthony and Rick Kunst, and held in 1992 in downtown Orlando. The concept was simple: a festival featuring multiple theatrical shows, most in venues in empty storefronts. In 2004, the festival started to relocate to Loch Haven Park, and from 2005 on, the festival has been held entirely in that park and in nearby Ivanhoe Village. It’s the longest running Fringe Festival in the United States.
This 14-day festival is held in May, leading up to Memorial Day Weekend. Continue reading

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