All the Devils are Here: How Shakespeare Invented the Villian
Who doesn’t love a bad guy? Sure. We want the protagonist to prevail in every story and we hope that good will triumph over evil. Yet we still revel in the diabolical doings of unscrupulous personalities.
We should also be reveling in the fact that New York has one of-if not the best classically trained actors in our midst. Without being overly flattering, it might be safe to cite Patrick Page as one of the best working stage actors period.
Page recently left his long-running role as Hades in the hit musical Hadestown. He earned a Tony nomination and won a Grammy award for the cast recording. Now, he’s brought even more depth to the stage with his one-man show, All The Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented the Villian.
Most of us were exposed to William Shakespeare in high school or college, but we probably lost interest, wondering what his words meant and why they are relevant to today’s world. Then again, most of us weren’t exposed to the genius of Page who delves into the psyches of Shakespeare’s greatest bad boys and what their motivations were. He even draws parallels to modern-day stories that drew their inspiration from the Bard including television’s Succession and House of Cards.
He supports the idea that evil does not dwell in these characters for no reason-unless of course, they are pure psychopaths like Othello’s Iago. Otherwise, Page offers fully rounded portraits of deeply flawed individuals and doesn’t rationalize, but rather explains what drives such loatheful behavior.
This is a dynamic night of theatre, meaty and substantial enough for high-brow theatergoers yet hugely accessible to anyone with a passion for great storytelling.
Wouldst that Page had been all of our college professors, we’d all willingly want to speak Elizabethan English in 2023.
All the Devils are Here: How Shakespeare Invented the Villian is now playing through Jan.7, 2024 Off-Broadway at the DR2 Theatre 101 E. 15th Street NYC. For tickets and information, click here
Patrick Olson’s Emergence
Another (mostly) solo show that takes us back to our high school and/or college physics days is Emergence, an existential experimental theater piece that asks the big questions of life: Are we alive? Where are we? What factors led to human existence? Patrick Olson, a self-described “composer, musician, educational science publisher, producer, and entrepreneur” guides us on a 90-minute exploration, supported by a group of phenomenal musicians, vocalists, and dancers.
Jonathon Corbiere, Tyler Sammy, Nick Proctor, and Jordan Noltner add vibrancy and a sense of cool with their LED visual and lighting design.
Olson has a captivating, ethereal, soft-rock and roll quality to his music and although it is wholly original, it evokes sounds of David Byrne, Peter Gabriel, Pet Shop Boys, or—as my guest observed- Moby.
Through songs and spoken word, Olson explains the answers to his deep, philosophical queries. Some may dispute his claims, particularly on how our universe came into being (Olson suggests it was a big bang).
Emergence certainly gets major points for uniqueness. It takes a bold and brave personality to blend science with theater for layperson audiences. But Olson’s delightfully odd and quirky demeanor is endearing and he proves himself to be a gifted performer. His charisma is so magnetic that he could conceivably add “cult leader” to his multi-hyphenate bio. Anyone remember Marshall Applewhite?
The 90-minute show is family-friendly and geared towards anyone with a thirst for curiosity and a reason for our existence. Just know, as Olson often repeats throughout the show, that things are not always what they seem.
Patrick Olson’s Emergence runs Off Broadway through Jan. 7 2024 at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theater @ Pershing Square Signature Center 480 W. 42nd Street, NYC. For tickets and information, click here