In staging William Shakespeare’s genre-defying play The Winter’s Tale, companies face three main obstacles: the bear, the time, and the statue. If the production successfully addresses those problems with a coherent and committed cast, the production flourishes. Luckily for audiences at the American Shakespeare Center, guest director Jenny Bennett crafted a heartwarming and heartbreaking fairy-tale, that barely flinched at the imposing challenges.
Shakespeareances, Eric Minton
Typical of Shakespeare’s other late romances, The Winter’s Tale is a roller coaster of comic heights suddenly rushing into tragic valleys. Bennett smooths out the ride, presenting it as a progression to great joy with unbearable, unnecessary heartache along the way. She nevertheless maintains Shakespeare’s ballsy juxtapositions.
Full review here.
A short film I was in, ‘Next Life‘ by Casimir Nozkowski, got a nice feature on Boing Boing.
Ami Brabson, Reg E Cathey, Suzzanne Douglas Set for Madwoman of Chaillot ReadingBy Dan Bacalzo • Jan 30, 2012 • New York
Classical Theatre of Harlem will present Ami Brabson, Reg E Cathey, and Suzzanne Douglas in Jean Giraudoux’s Madwoman of Chaillot, adapted by Maurice Valency. Jenny Bennett will direct the reading at The Malcolm X & Dr Betty Shabazz Memorial & Educational Center, on Monday, February 6 at 7pm.
The Village Voice Review of Henry V
[I]n a thoughtful production marked by a string of nontraditional elements and brave choices, director Jenny Bennett mines Henry V for disaffection rather than chest-thumping loyalty to king and country, bringing to the surface the more sardonic aspects of Shakespeare’s ambivalent historical epic.
Backstage Review of Henry V.
Director Jenny Bennett helms the proceedings with bold theatrical savvy. Her stylized depictions of the battles of Harfleur and Agincourt are models of well-conceived economic staging. She uses the wide-open playing space, bordered on three sides by the audience, almost like a gymnasium, which her actors inhabit with athletic prowess. Most of them take on multiple roles, switching characterizations without missing a beat, giving both language and action their due.
Here’s an excerpt from an interview I did for Works by Women, ramping up to the HENRY V I directed Off-Broadway at the Classical Theatre of Harlem. I talk about being a 4th-generation theatre woman: this picture is my great-grandmother, touring a vaudeville circuit.
WBW: What gives you hope for American theater women?
JB: That there are so many American theatre women. The way to get more work is to make more work ourselves! Nobody’s gonna say ‘Oh, hello stranger: have this opportunity.’ I know so many American theatre women who are putting it together, a project at a time, getting their voices heard, telling an infinite variety of stories – that’s how hope becomes reality – by doing. And we’re doing it, ladies!
NYC Onstage, March 8, 2009. The Expatriates, The Beggars Group
“… top honors go to the sensational Jenny Bennett as literary pundit and fellow alcoholic Dorothy Parker. She nails both Parker’s devastating wit and intense loneliness in a single scene when she and Fitzgerald have sex on a lark (”penny for your thoughts”). That she is equally delicious in two other cameos as Isadora Duncan and Gertrude Stein is icing on the cake.” – NYC Onstage, March 8, 2009.
Stagebuzz, March 2009
Excellent work is done all around, especially by … Jenny Bennett, who shows excellent range as Dorothy Parker, Gertrude Stein, and Isadora Duncan. – Byrne Harrison, Stagebuzz.