Literary NewsFall 2017

Branagh's Murder on the Orient Express
From Nov. 10; worldwide: Kenneth Branagh directs a new film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery about the killing of a child and the subsequent revenge exacted for the crime. Branagh also stars in the film, along with Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and more. Click here for the trailer.

Native Son from Yale Repertory Theatre
Nov. 24-Dec. 16; New Haven, CT.: Yale Rep stages Nambi E. Kelly’s new adaptation of Richard Wright’s Native Son, about an unintentional and intentional murder by chauffeur Bigger Thomas in 1930s Chicago. For more details, click here.

Intimate Apparel at UC Irvine
Dec. 2-10; Irvine, CA: In early 1900s New York, Esther Mills, a skilled African American seamstress, ekes out little more than a living, scrimping and saving to realize a professional dream that she subordinates to what proves to be an illusory romantic dream. Click here for show details.

Oslo Crosses the Pond
Sept. 5-23; Oct. 2-Dec. 30; London, UK: America’s 2017 Tony Award winner for Best Play, Oslo by J. T. Rogers, about peace in the Middle East, moves from Broadway, New York, to London (first the Lyttleton Theatre, then the Harold Pinter Theatre). The production features a new cast. For more on the show’s content, see the article to the right on Pages 2 and 3 of this Literary News: for tickets, click here.

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There are instances of reticence, mistrust, and worse. We bear witness to halting progress in the hammering out of a Declaration of Principles, and to shared humanity outside the negotiating room, by way of food, drink, jokes, two daughters (Palestinian and Israeli) with the same first name (Maya). And events progress speedily, due in part to the narration of Mona Juul, whose artistic agency in advancing the plot dovetails beautifully with her diplomatic role in facilitating negotations. Periodically, Juul steps out of the action to address the audience, orienting us backward and forward in time and place. Another propelling touch is the sight of the actors' rearranging the set as one scene flows into the next; their activity imparts an air of ongoing, frenzied motion, adding urgency to the whole. At the end, an epilogue of sorts goes into post-Oslo history, has the full cast rattle off some grisly afterevents. So was Oslo pointless, given the subsequent real-life terrorism, assassination, accusations of of bad faith? And if so, why does this play grip viewers so profoundly today—because it captures, as great art can, a moment of genuine success? of human, apolitical interconnection, however fleeting? because of the hope born of and from Oslo? Here's a brief clip from a PBS video (≈5 min.), featuring the Broadway cast.

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