PREVIEW: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Midsummer Night’s Dream is a classic Shakespeare comedy following the king and queen of the forest, four runaway lovers, and a troupe of actors as they cross paths in a forest full of comedy, confusion, and some dark consequences.

This showing of the play is a National Theater Live broadcast, being screened at the Michigan Theater. This means that it is being performed live at the Royal National Theater in London, and we will be watching it being filmed on screen.

I am very excited to see this show, as it is one that I have only read and never seen. The show is playing Sunday evening, November 24 at 7 pm in the Michigan Theater Auditorium.

Link to info/tickets:

REVIEW: NT Live: Fleabag

Having never seen the show before, I walked into the Michigan Theater with only the high praise of my friends who have seen Fleabag. However, I liked what I’ve heard and NT Live never disappoints, and they certainly didn’t this time. 

Phoebe Waller-Bridge manages to insert her humor into the serious, her jokes masking her depression, her sex covering her deeper, underlying problems, seamlessly weaving all of these factors together in her one-woman play. The show starts with Fleabag going into a job interview. Waller-Bridge navigates time in a manner that may be confusing to begin with, especially with it being a one-person show, but she effectively uses flashbacks to provide context for why she did something or how she met someone or why she had a certain type of relationship with someone. In the end, the last scene is her back in the job interview, and Waller-Bridge does such an amazing job captivating the audience into her story and each scene that you forget the entire narrative was to explain why she needed a job so badly.  

She manages to jump from persona to persona with ease, each character with their own distinctive facial expressions, mannerisms, and voice. The guy with a small mouth, kindly referred to as Bus Rodent rodent, elicited much laughter every time she managed to transform her face. She also portrayed her relationship with her sister well, capturing the reserved and uptight personality that contrasts her own free spirit. 

The main tension in this show, aside from her own internal struggles and insecurities,  surrounds her best friend Boo, who recently passed away. Waller-Bridge balances the emotions Fleabag feels as she starts to spiral with humor and levity, much of which involves her sexual coping mechanisms. As she deals with her demons, Fleabag reveals much about human pain and how you can find light even in the darkest times.

If you missed NT Live: Fleabag last week, don’t worry—there’s a special encore performance at the Michigan Theater tonight! 

PREVIEW: NT Live: Fleabag

You may have heard of the BBC hit TV show “Fleabag”, which won big at the Emmys. Now’s your chance to see the inspiration for the show. NT Live: Fleabag is the original one-woman play written and performed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Showing at the Michigan Theater this Thursday, September 26 at 7:30 PM, you won’t regret these 67 minutes. Student tickets are $16 and can be purchased at

REVIEW: NT Live: Hamlet

“Hamlet,” written almost 400 years ago, is a timeless piece of work by Shakespeare, performed thousands of times with hundreds of different Hamlets. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the lead character in the National Theatre Live 2015 production of this play, and the Michigan Theater played two showings of this performance. I didn’t know I needed Benedict Cumberbatch to be Hamlet until I saw this production. Cumberbatch nailed Hamlet’s anguished soliloquies and acts of madness with great humor and delivered his lines with great position. When he pretends to be mad when confronted by Polonius and dresses up at a giant toy soldier, he humorously tiptoes across the line of sanity, something he seems to cross by the end of the play.

Horatio, dressed in a simple flannel and a simple backpack, offered a simple alternative to Hamlet and the life in the palace, just as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern returned from his childhood as colorful characters. Polonius, the ever-verbose lord, rattled off his lines with such breathlessness that makes his pompous character memorable. Ophelia’s presence onstage seemed brief and disjointed, just as the constant presence of her camera and her love for photography was a detail seemingly overplayed with little significance.

The stunning of the visuals of the blue-lit stage set the mood beautifully, providing a foreboding edge to this great tragedy. The bursts of intense sounds and quick scene changes adds to the disorienting sense from the scene. Though the play ran for 3 hours and 20 minutes, the performance honestly flew by. No one seemed bored or restless, completely captivated by this once-live performance that grandly executed one of Shakespeare’s greats.

PREVIEW: NT Live: Hamlet

“To be, or not to be, that is the question.” These iconic lines from the classic Shakespeare play are going to echo through the Michigan Theater as it shows the National Theatre 2015 broadcast of Hamlet. Catch the stunning Benedict Cumberbatch as the title prince struggling to keep his sanity while protecting his country. The production plays on Sunday, January 27 at 7pm, and tickets can be bought at the League Ticket Office for $12 with a student ID.

Review: A Street Car Named Desire – Young Vic Theater, London


This past summer, London was graced with a new staging of Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize winning play, ‘A Street Car Named Desire’ at The New Vic. The London production featured Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, The Last King of Scotland) as Blanche DuBois, Ben Foster (Six Feet Under, Lone Soldier) as Stanley and Vanessa Kirby (Insomniacs, About Time) playing Stella. The production was directed by Australian director Benedict Andrews.

This production of ‘Street Car’ was filmed and broadcast by National Theater Live to the Michigan Theater and theaters around the world.

‘A Street Car Named Desire’ has won acclaim in both its live productions as well as the iconic film starring Marlon Brando and Vivian Leigh. The cast of The Young Vic’s production holds up in the face of the historic accolades dished out to previous casts.


The play is set in New Orleans in Summer. Blanche DuBouis (Anderson), a fading Southern Belle, shows up unannounced at her younger sister Stella’s (Kirby) apartment, where she lives with her working class husband Stanley (Foster). Blanche is an unreliable narrator of her circumstances. She hides crucial piece of her past and the reasons for leaving her teaching job in Mississippi.

As Blanche laments losing her appearance and not having the interests of a man, all the while drowning her sorrows in alcohol, Stella takes care of her sister, allowing Blanche to criticize her way of life, her husband and her home, as Stanley becomes more suspicious and irritated by Blanche.

Eventually Stanley discovers Blanche’s secrets, her dirtied past as a disgraced woman who turned to selling herself to the pleasures of men. He confronts her and eventually, on the night Stella is giving birth to his child, rapes her. Blanche then completely falls apart and in the end is institutionalized. Stella seems to be aware of the rape but remains with Stanley out of fear and obligation to their baby.


The relationship between Blanche and Stanley in this production was one of curiosity, flirtation, disgust, fear and tension. Although the two seem to mistrust and loathe one another, there is an element of intrigue and desire reverberating underneath. Anderson skillfully kept the illusion of Blanche alive throughout the production. Her approach to shaping the plot and upsetting the relationships in place were so skillfully executed that the moment of fracture was a visceral experience.

Foster’s Stanley, the working class bread winner and abusive husband, charmed the audience while making them uneasy, waiting for him to lose his temper. Foster’s chemistry and physicality with both women was highly sensual and familiar, adding to the on-stage chemistry driving the plot.

Kirby brought justice to Stella, an often overlooked and somewhat forgotten character in this story. This Stella was not just background, she was an important element to be contended with throughout this story, not only as the battered, pregnant wife and sister, but as a young woman, deeply in love and managing the chaos around her. Kirby brought three dimensionality to Stella, a treatment the character rarely receives.

The set design, as well as acting, contributed to the intensity of this piece. The set was built on a rotating device, which slowly revolved throughout the production, giving the audience, sitting in the round, a constantly changing view of the action. There were no solid walls of the apartment, allowing for consistent visibility of the action in the two room apartment no matter the seat. Due to this transparency, the audience watched as actors showered, used the toilet and changed clothing. There was no privacy, bringing the audience into the experience the characters had sharing a two room apartment in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Almost every piece of theater streamed into The Michigan Theater by National Theater Live has been phenomenal. These screenings provide a wonderful opportunity to experience professional theater without flying half way around the world.

The Next NT Live event at The Michigan Theater will be ‘Skylight’ starring Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan on 11 December 2014.