Two more fantastic four star reviews are out for His Final Bow.
Writing for The List Magazine, Lorna Irvine praises the “brilliant twosome” of James Mackenzie and Alex, calling them
…both excellent, by turns savage and subtle.
It’s a really fantastic write up, and a great piece of theatre journalism as well. Definitely worth reading the whole thing here.
A Rollicking two-hander that deserves to be a Hot Ticket
★★★★ from Mary Brennan in today’s Herald for His Final Bow, which plays at Oran Mor in Glasgow through Saturday, and will show at the Traverse Theatre and then Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree over the next two weeks.
a prime example of the way foreign artists can enrich Scotland’s cultural scene.
As a champion of international co-creation in theatre, Alex is ‘well chuffed’ to be endorsed with such an accolade. He is also pleased to be mentioned among such distinguished company as Alaskan Tyler Collins and Brazilian Flavia D’Avila. All three have had their own struggles navigating the UK Immigration regulations, and, while Alex is pleased to be welcomed as an ‘Artist of Exceptional Promise,’ he recognises how privileged he is to have received such a designation and he encourages other artists and fans of this kind of work to do whatever they can to support the working rights of other artists treading similar paths.
For more info about Tyler Collins please see http://www.thetwometerman.com/
All that said, if you want to donate to a cause, Alex reminds you that Collins, D’Avila, and himself all come from relatively tame home countries – none of them fear for their lives in the event of failed visa applications, and all three have access to significant additional support, both in the UK and elsewhere. So if you want to support someone whose permission to stay in the UK is truly a matter of life and death, please consider donating to a refugee charity such as The Scottish Refugee Council.
Alex will next appear in the world premiere of Peter Arnott’s new play, His Final Bow with A Play, A Pie, and a Pint. Alex plays Davey, the fanboy that helped John Wilkes Booth go into hiding after assassinating President Abraham Lincoln.
Alex has worked with Peter in various capacities on a number of occasions and this will be their third world premiere together. All three plays focus on forgotten episodes/characters in American history. 2012’s Why Do You Stand There In The Rain? won a Scotsman Fringe First and was shortlisted for the Brighton Fringe, Holden Street Theatres, and Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Awards.
His Final Bow stars Steven McNicoll as John Wilkes Booth and is directed by Ken Alexander. It plays at:
Oran Mor, Glasgow, 10-15 April – Click here for tickets
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 17-22 April – Click here for tickets
Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, 24-29 April – Click here for tickets
After a busy (and multi-award winning) summer producing for Pepperdine Scotland, Alex returns to the stage this Christmas with a live radio-play version of It’s A Wonderful Life, on a small tour with South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture. He’s very much looking forward to spending his holidays as George Bailey!
It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
- 4 December – Rutherglen Town Hall
- 19 December – Lanark Memorial Hall
- 20 December – The Town House, Hamilton
- 21-23 December – East Kilbride Arts Centre
Tickets available online HERE
Alex spent last week at Notre Dame University in Indiana on a two part project involving further development on Believe None of Us and introducing the Citizens’ Theatre Company to Shakespeare in Prison practitioners from around the world. Supported by Creative Scotland, Alex travelled with Elly Goodman and Neil Packham to the joint conferences for the Shakespeare in Prisons Network and the Shakespeare Theatre Association. Alongside all kinds of other conference activity, Alex and the Believe None of Us team undertook a bit of further development and presented another sharing of the piece for delegates of the conference. Feedback was phenomenal. Paul Smith, director of the British Council USA called it
The most extraordinary side-glance at Hamlet I’ve seen since watching Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead for the first time.
The team were pretty pleased with that. So pleased, in fact, that they formed the theatre collective Runamuck, and are now working on the next stages of taking the piece to full production. In all it was a pretty fantastic trip.
Alex is in the midst of a two-week script development residency in Lexington and Staunton, Virginia, working on an exploration of the three ‘original’ source texts of Hamlet. Jemma Alix Levy is adapting and directing the piece. Alex performs alongside Ben Crystal and Sean Hagerty, with each portraying one of the three source texts simultaneously onstage. Matt Davies and Sara Hymes also perform.
The company, sponsored by Washington and Lee University and The Virginia Shakespeare Initiative, will present a sharing as part of the American Shakespeare Center‘s Blackfriars Conference. There will also be a public sharing of the work at Washington and Lee University on 1 November.
Believe None Of Us
Adapted by Jemma Alix Levy
30 October: Open to Blackfriars Conference participants only
1 November, 3pm
Johnson Theatre, Lenfest Center
Washington and Lee University
For more information click here.
Alex’s Hamlet opens tomorrow. If you’re in the American Midwest this summer stop by! There are a range of both outdoor picnic-friendly performances and site-specific promenade performances to suit all interests and mobilities.
Muse of Fire Theatre Company presents:
directed by Jemma Alix Levy
starring Alex Fthenakis
3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, July 25-Aug. 30 (no outdoor shows Aug. 22 and 23), at Ingraham Park, 2100 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL
7.30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Aug. 21-29 at Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orringon Ave., Evanston, IL
In case you were wondering how Alex’s Scottish Political Theatre background might figure into Muse of Fire Theatre Company‘s Hamlet, here are his thoughts as told to The Chicago Tribune’s Evanston Review:
You can view Muse of Fire Theatre Company’s free production of “Hamlet” outdoors at Evanston’s Ingraham Park or indoors at the Evanston Public Library. Either way, you are bound to become immersed in the world of the title character as are Artistic Director Jemma Alix Levy and lead actor Alex Fthenakis.
“It’s a director’s dream job to get to direct Hamlet,” Levy said. “But it’s also one of those plays that you can only do if you have a Hamlet in mind. When Alex and I worked together two years ago on ‘Taming of the Shrew,’ one of the first things I asked him was if he would be willing to do ‘Hamlet’ with me. Alex is one of the smartest actors I’ve ever encountered and Hamlet is obviously a really smart guy. It helps to have an actor who understands the intellectual aspects of all of that.”
Fthenakis believes that “Hamlet,” “is probably on every actor’s dream list. The Hamlet character encompasses so many different things about being human. Maybe this is why everybody has called it the greatest play ever for 400 years.
“I think any actor finds himself in it,” Fthenakis continued, “because Hamlet is an actor and a political activist. All these things we tend to do as artists, Hamlet does as a character.”
By way of explanation, the actor said that the idea of “me against the establishment has become a big thing culturally and politically for myself and fellow artists over the last few years. The establishment means many different things to people. In each aspect of our lives, there is an establishment.”
Levy agrees that the play is particularly relevant today. “People are struggling with what it means to be in power, what it means to rule,” she related. “I think that ‘Hamlet’ looks at the idea of fighting back against an institution or an administration in an interesting way.”
Levy integrated three different scripts to create this version of “Hamlet.” In doing so and in guiding Fthenakis she is attempting to humanize Hamlet, who is often portrayed as so intellectually superior that people can not relate to him. “What I am trying to focus on is Hamlet as like us,” Levy explained.
Levy decided to move the show indoors for four performances because she thought the library would be a particularly appropriate setting for the intellectual lead character. “There’s something about the proliferation of words in both the play and in the building that seems to me an important parallel to draw,” she said. “And using an indoor space gives us a different kind of freedom in terms of how we’re going to perform.”
The actors and audience will move to different locations in the library throughout the course of the play. “That is also going to allow us to tell a slightly different story than we’re able to tell outside,” Levy said.
Muse of Fire Theatre Company presents ‘Hamlet’
3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, July 25-Aug. 30 (no outdoor shows Aug. 22 and 23), at Ingraham Park, 2100 Ridge Ave., Evanston
7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Aug. 21-29 at Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., Evanston
Well that heading is a rather convoluted Shakespeare joke, eh? Convoluted is Alex’s MO this year, so perhaps it’s fitting. Today he flew back to Chicago for the summer. Despite the January move, Alex is still Muse of Fire Theatre Company‘s Producing Artistic Associate and has returned to the company to play Hamlet this season (but only for the summer – he’ll return to Glasgow in September). He’s thrilled to be working with Artistic Director Jemma Alix Levy again and looks forward to playing outdoors once more. Stay tuned here for further updates or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.