The 39 Steps

Via Brooklyn at the Southampton Cultural Center

Bridget LeRoy

The Independent

“Cori Hundt portrays the various femme fatales and love interests with the perfect amount of 1930s glamour mixed with humor.”

“For an evening of comedic fluff and international intrigue, theatergoers can't beat The 39 Steps. It is utterly delightful.”

Full Article

Dames of Thrones

Ducdame Ensemble at the International Shakespeare Center (ISC) of Santa Fe

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Live out Loud: Santa Fe

“This one night performance by the Ducdame Ensemble of New York (presented at The Adobe Rose by the International Shakespeare Center of Santa Fe) shot through the audience like a bullet: consistently riveting, sometimes brusque, sometimes perplexing, sometimes shocking, like a high-energy direct hit of singing poetry, and at other times like an exercise in rapid-fire bardic snippets. 

Call it whatever you will: a tapestry, a compilation, a “mix tape” of passionate and violent passages, drawn from scenes involving women in Shakespeare’s cycle of history plays. Dames of Thrones had the punch, the considerable pluses (and possibly a few of the drawbacks) of a surprise attack. 

The show announces its genre-bending sensibilities at the very beginning, as thirteen male and female actors in “cool” contemporary clothes (the set otherwise consists of a few chairs) perform group mirror games and pantomimes -- couples meet, swear allegiances, couples break apart or are broken by shadowy third parties. The background music suggests a courtly setting. 

This is a world where nobody can be unconditionally loved and trusted. The Shakespearean canon veers between extremes of the beautiful and the terrible, high comedy and romance, and sinister terrors; and by focusing on the terrors Dames of Thrones is truly a production whose themes have a short distance to travel to match the power-hungry prurience of the TV series “Game of Thrones” an apt pun. 

Having cued the audience appropriately, the remainder of the two hour performance is a miasma of grief, loss, war and pillaging, in scenes (slightly edited) that suggest the plights of the female protagonists from plays such as King John, Richard iii, Henry iv, and Henry vi. 

That means that over two hours you will not encounter the more familiar Shakespearean heroines. No Lady Macbeth. No Ophelia. Nor King Lear’s three daughters. And of course sans easily recognized heroines, Dames of Thrones is short on familiar stories and monologues. 

But you will experience oblique glimpses into the lives of several of Shakespeare’s female royal protagonists, who feature in plays that even by Shakespeare’s standards have extremely complex plots. They are women of high standing (though Joan la Pucelle, aka Joan of Arc is thrown in for good measure.) They have names that are preceded by “Lady” -- Lady Kate, Lady Anne and Lady Constance. The bitter irony is that they lead constricted lives, and they suffer insults and injury in a sexist world that puts women on par with servants. “Lady” is often a pointless title. 

Throughout the evening these women are put in the position of using their last resource, meaning their feminine wiles to convince a man to do some honorable deed, or not follow through with some foolhardy measure. Or an outright cruel folly. The women hold their ground using lovely iambic rhythms; they sally with clever retorts. But essentially they’re always pleading a case. …

These selections from the history plays (at their best) become a sociological study of marriage and sex privilege in Elizabethan times. Shakespeare was not a particularly historically accurate writer, but when he wrote about real historical Kings, Queens, and Ladies, he touched on real travails. The fact that these people really lived strengthens Dames of Thrones’ sociological power.”

She Stoops to Conquer

Hudson Warehouse at Riverside Park

Mack Muldofsky

“Ted Moller plays Lumpkin without that self-aware and transgressive irony, but with great physical assurance and energy. If you met him in real life, you would tell him to stop and he wouldn’t. He’s cleverly cast alongside Cori Hundt as Constance Neville, whose anxiety is well-paired with his loutishness. She is birdlike, pained, anxious; he is compact, dynamic, and stout; together, they look like a stork and a duck having an argument.”

“But Goldsmith valued, above all, the comedic elements of his play, and Hudson Warehouse has successfully captured its spirit. Intelligent and precise acting is necessary to produce a ridiculous production, and the actors of She Stoops to Conquer, all of whom are talented, give careful and physically expert comic performances. Every member of the cast is funny; I cannot overstate the rarity of this accomplishment in comedies.”

Full Article

Territories: The Spoils

PTP/NYC at the Atlantic Stage 2

Michael Bettencourt

Scene 4- International Magazine of Arts and Media

“Each of the five characters gets a good chunk of stage time to talk about himself or herself, and [...] they are all expertly delivered.”

“As is always the case with anything the Potomac Theatre Project creates, the production values are excellent, the direction is sure-handed, and the acting is vibrant, spacious, and assured.”

Full Article

Dames of Thrones

Ducdame Ensemble at the International Shakespeare Center (ISC) of Santa Fe

John Andrews

President of the Shakespeare Guild & Former Director of Academic Programs at the Folger Shakespeare Library

“Ariana Karp and her superb cast wove a beautiful tapestry of scenes involving strong female characters. And the performers handled the verse with a dexterity, sensitivity, and expressive power that is quite unusual in today's classical performances."

Fuente Ovejuna

Ducdame Ensemble at FringeNYC

Jared R. Pike

Theatre is Easy

“The Ducdame Ensemble breathes new life into this 400-year-old tale of oppression and revolution making it vibrantly resonant in today’s global political climate.” 

“Published in 1619, Lope de Vega’s Fuente Ovejuna may seem like a museum piece; however, in this stunning production by the Ducdame Ensemble, the vivid characters spring to life and de Vega’s 400-year-old words sound as resonant today as they must have in the corrales of the Spanish Golden Age.”

“Under the precise direction of London Sundance Winner William Oldroyd, the excellent Ducdame Ensemble, comprised of graduates of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), present de Vega’s work as if he had written it in response to our current global political climate.”

“It is impossible to isolate outstanding performances in such a strong piece of ensemble acting where every performer excels and also supports the rest of the company. [...] The strength of every member of the Ducdame Ensemble makes them a company to watch. I cannot wait to see what they have to offer next.”

“A THEASY best bet: Best of FringeNYC 2015.”

Full Article


Fuente Ovejuna

Ducdame Ensemble at FringeNYC

Zachary Stewart

“Cori Hundt is appropriately majestic as Isabella”

“The feisty young cast dives into the story, luxuriating in its epic gore and horribleness. An extended torture scene featuring blood-curdling offstage screams sent one audience member running from the performance I attended.”

Full Article

Fuente Ovejuna

Ducdame Ensemble at FringeNYC

David Fuller

NY Theater Now

“The performances are uniformly outstanding so it’s not fair to single anyone out.”

“An ensemble of 6 men and 5 women, most of whom are recent graduates of the MFA program at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, a/k/a LAMDA, have created a gut-wrenching yet inspiring take on the Lope de Vega classic play, directed by London-based director William Oldroyd.”

“Kudos to Ducdame Ensemble and Breukelen Stage + Film for bringing this timely, unfortunately relevant piece to the Fringe. [...] We need the story of Fuente Ovejuna.”

Fuente Ovejuna

Ducdame Ensemble at FringeNYC

Doug Strassler

“Director William Oldroyd marries the old-school violent agitprop stylings with a modern accessibility that packs a visceral punch (perhaps literally; one audience member was said to have fled the performance and vomited on the evening I attended). The entire cast is a paean to commitment and manages to transcend the bare-bones resources allotted by the 14th Street Y Theatre where Fuente is performed.”

“Fuente is performed by the Ducdame Ensemble, a conglomerate of London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) alumni, reprising a production they had done within their training program. And so this production affords us the chance to peek into the recent past of a newly formed entity as well; to watch is to visit a talented team that coalesces nicely and brings out the best in each other.”

“It’s no small praise to say that to watch Fuente Ovejuna is to sit in on a family affair.”

Full Article