The World Onstage

International Thespians Arrive This Month for a Festival of Plays at Venice Theatre

International thespians arrive this month for a festival of plays at Venice Theatre.

By Kay Kipling May 30, 2018 Published in the June 2018 issue of Sarasota Magazine

From Tel Aviv, Israel, comes One of a Kind, dealing with identity.

How would you like the international world of theater brought right here to town—so close and convenient all you need to pack besides your ticket is a sense of adventure?

You can experience just that when Venice Theatre once again hosts the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) WorldFest, a full panoply of plays from all over the globe, taking the stage June 18-23.

And don’t worry that you’ll need a translator; although many of the theatrical troupes perform in their native tongues, the works presented are chosen in part because of their visual language—making meaning easy to grasp from the action and the performances.

This is the third time VT is hosting the event; 2010 and 2014 saw the earlier gatherings. According to artistic director Murray Chase, the festival returns here because VT has already proven that it can handle the demands of set construction and quick turnaround from one production to another, thanks to its experienced tech staff and legion of volunteers.

And, in addition to the onstage productions, the festival schedule also includes workshops on topics such as Chinese opera battles, circus techniques, hip hop for Broadway, commedia dell’arte and more, along with plenty of social get-togethers after or between shows. Differently priced registration and ticket packages exist, so call 488-1115 or visit for complete info.

But in the meantime, here’s a peek at the varied line-up.

From Argentina: La Compasiva Teatro’s Our Daily Bread follows a couple from their first meeting onward, performed silent movie style and using bread as a metaphor.

From Armenia: Yerevan State Puppet Theatre’s Thumbelina presents the classic Hans Christian Anderson story of a tiny girl sprung from a magical grain of barley through interactive shadow puppetry.

Australia’s Lieder Theatre brings Monochrome to the Venice Theatre stage.

From Australia: A world premiere from the Lieder Theatre in Goulburn. Monochrome uses comedy and masks to explore our differences and discourage bullying.

From Chile: Pichanga is a one-man show, an example of “documentary theater” that brings us the life of one young man, told while playing soccer throughout.

From China: Luo He Yu Group’s The Seven Star Sword presents a classic Chinese opera, filled with music, acrobatics and battle scenes while relating a story of dynasties, family rivalries and love.

From Georgia: A theater company brings audiences the “Scottish play” (Macbeth) as never seen before—most of it about five feet above the stage in a giant net.

From Berlin: Harold Pinter’s Request Stop gets a new twist, as viewers are invited “into the ring,” where a baker’s dozen of different characters await a bus.

From Tel Aviv: The Yoram Loewenstein Studio presents One of a Kind, an off-kilter production about our identities that begins with a young woman’s 16th birthday and a meeting at the Personality Ministry.

From Italy: Theatre Maner Manush offers Michelangelo da Caravaggio, a “passion play” about the life of the famous but mad Italian artist.

From Poland: The Stone of Patience, presented by Teatr Zapadnia, is a highly physical creation exploring young women’s sexuality and growing up, with devastating pressures and results.

From Slovenia: The youth theater school from Prva gimnazija high school presents Sophocles’ classic Antigone with a modern-day twist, complete with cell phones, tweets and selfies.

From the United Kingdom: Bump! is a fun romp with lots of physicality stemming from a one-night stand.

The all-female company from Zimbabwe

From Denver, Colorado:  Spirit & Sworded Treks presents Maria Chang of Theatre Esprit Asia narrating, cooking, practicing tai chi and more in a one-woman show about the journey of a Chinese immigrant.

From Tacoma, Washington: The Tacoma Musical Playhouse offers Act I of its award-winning musical version of The Addams Family, as daughter Wednesday wants to get married to a “normal” guy.

From Zimbabwe: An all-girl troupe explores the perils and rewards of growing up, using high-energy songs and dances in Who Is a Child?

Get ready to have your play passport stamped.   

Filed under
Show Comments