National / International News

Americans Davis And White Win Gold In Ice Dancing

NPR News - Mon, 2014-02-17 10:41

Meryl Davis and Charlie White are the first Americans to win gold in the event. They out-skated longtime rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada. Russians Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov finished third.

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Connolly will not vote in referendum

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-17 10:39
Scottish comedian Billy Connolly has said he will not vote in the referendum on Scottish independence in September.

'A beast of a man and a charming character'

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-17 10:38
From family tragedy to success in Australia, Sam Burgess has shown a maturity that will aid his quest to become rugby's next cross-code star

US pair win Olympic ice dance gold

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-17 10:37
Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White win ice dance gold at Sochi 2014 as Britain's Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland finish 10th.

Salmond: Currency block will hurt UK

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-17 10:35
Blocking an independent Scotland's ability to share the pound could damage business in the rest of the UK, First Minister Alex Salmond says.

Penn State Picks New President: Florida State's Eric Barron

NPR News - Mon, 2014-02-17 10:23

The school is turning to an experienced administrator. Barron has been president of Florida State since 2010. Before that, he was a dean at Penn State. He takes over a school still recovering from the 2011 scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of young boys.

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EU's Reding chastises UK politicians

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-17 10:20
UK politicians should stop blaming immigration for the country's difficulties, the EU justice commissioner suggests.

Union suspends nuclear base strike

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-17 10:07
A planned strike over pay by workers at the Faslane and Coulport naval bases on the Clyde is suspended.

GB women reach curling semi-finals

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-17 10:01
GB's women curlers are through to the Winter Olympics semi-finals, but the men face Norway in a play-off on Tuesday.

Life sentence for shotgun murder

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-17 09:47
A County Down farmer is sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering a man two years ago.

Anxious men from a besieged city

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-17 09:45
Detained evacuees from Homs fear for the future

VIDEO: SA miners refusing to leave pit

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-17 09:42
The operation to rescue illegal gold miners trapped in an abandoned mine in South Africa has been suspended overnight, with many still underground.

VIDEO: Ice dancer's trousers split during routine

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-17 09:38
Lithuanian skater Deividas Stagniunas has his trousers split by partner Isabella Tobias during their free dance.

Academics in pro-independence call

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-17 09:28
Independence is the only way to secure free higher education in Scotland, according to a group of academics.

Traditional TV watching holds strong

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-17 09:23
The traditional television set is still at the heart of UK viewing, with only 1.5% of total viewing in 2013 watched via mobile platforms, figures suggest.

Help Arrives, But South African Miners Refuse To Be Rescued

NPR News - Mon, 2014-02-17 09:22

An unknown number of men remain below ground. They're resisting rescue because they don't want to be arrested, as 22 of their colleagues were after being rescued. The men have reportedly been mining for gold illegally.

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Man City look to Barcelona for lessons in success

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-17 09:21
How two key former Barcelona men are plotting their old club's downfall for Manchester City

Taxi cab theater drives creative funding

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-02-17 09:18

"Take Me Home" is a play set in a taxicab. 

But not really. 

Yes, the audience (up to a whopping three people) remains in the back of a cab for the entirety of the performance (aside from the time spent beforehand in the waiting area, which is an ATM vestibule on a busy street in Manhattan). 

But the stage is the entire city, and everyone is an actor, whether they realize it or not.

"It’s not really a play so much as it is an experience," says playwright Alexandra Collier, "a waking dream."

The performance begins as a foggy sort of narrative around the driver -- both a real cab driver and an actor -- as he takes you through the city. 

Music, audio recordings, video, and photos figure into a vague and at times confusing "story" inside the cab.  Outside, things mysteriously sort of fall in sync to the music and themes inside: Wait, was that a coincidence?  Did that just happen? What is happening?

From a technical standpoint, what is happening: A crew of actors a dozen strong is performing in a choreographed way, as the taxi makes its way through town.

But what is happening to the audience is an utter blurring of the lines between stage and reality, because you don’t know who is an actor -- and who is not.  You find yourself staring at random people on the street, wide-eyed, waiting for some acknowledgement or cue from them that yes, they are part of the story. Sometimes they are.

And sometimes they look back at you, perturbed by your stare.  In this way, they are part of the performance too, though they are not actors.

"It’s definitely unlike any cab ride I’ve ever taken," says Elena Cohen, who was the second third of our backseat audience.  "Something about that view out the window, it’s like being in a movie or something almost."

Quite what playwright Collier intended.

"I want people to fall through the looking glass," she says.  

But this is more than a vision. It’s a response to what avant-garde theater consumers have craved in recent years. Immersive and unique experiences like the recent hit "Sleep No More," which allows audience members to wander around and mingle with actors during the performance, have obtained increasing prominence since the concept was introduced from Britain several years ago.  Other plays have been held in hospitals or Turkish baths. "Take Me Home" might be the most intimate of them all.   There are four times more cast members than audience members.

Which brings up a question: How can you possibly pay for it with three audience members at a time?

I put that question to Lauren Rayner, the play’s executive producer.

"Yes, that has been the biggest question on my mind," she says with a chuckle, in a light-filled West Village apartment. 

Tickets have ranged from $25 to 50, and the performance is 45 minutes long.  There are three runs per night -- a total of nine audience members over three hours.

"We went the non-profit route," says Rayner. "We wrote grants, we approached individual donors."

Everyone had to volunteer a lot of unpaid hours. On the one hand, says Rayner, it reflects the depth of commitment of the actors.  On the other hand she questions "the culture of poverty that artists sometimes have, where they feel they need to struggle," and end up undervaluing their time. "They need to be compensated."

By working with several sponsors, including Three Legged Dog Art and Technology Center, Rayner was able to finance the play for a budget of $11,000 for a month.  That included gas and hours. 

She believes the idea could scale up profitably.

“I would have six cabs, six unique drivers/performers. If I had that many people per night, I could keep costs likely between $50 and 100 a ticket."

But it would require sponsors. 

"This isn’t like Broadway where you can make millions. This would require what I call a 'romantic investment.'"

By which she means philanthropy. Rayner and Collier considered raising prices.  With a wait list of 150 people, they could have. But pricier tickets would price out a lot of people, which Collier – who herself works a day job as an executive assistant - is loathe to do. 

"I want people to be able to see it," she says. "Theater, it may come as a surprise to you is not a huge money-making exercise, unless you’re working on Broadway."

So she, and the actors, do what so many artists do.  They do without.

"There has to be a deep and abiding love for the theater and for art and for what you do in order to keep doing it," she says. "Or it’s an act of insanity. That’s also possible."

*CORRECTION: The playwright's name, Alexandra Collier, was misspelled in the text.  It has been corrected.

Greek diplomats in fraud scandal

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-17 09:02
Eight people, including three diplomats, are facing charges in Greece in connection with an alleged fraud involving an anti-landmine charity.

VIDEO: £10m pledged for flood-hit businesses

BBC - Mon, 2014-02-17 09:00
Prime Minister David Cameron announces a £10m fund to help small and medium-sized businesses recover from damage caused by flooding.

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