Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Clean H" Earns B'dale National Wiki Notice

Posted by Bruce Miller
All right, I confess. It’s one of my goals to get Barksdale Theatre and Theatre IV into Wikipedia. The Richmond Symphony has been thusly immortalized, as well as the Virginia Opera and the Landmark. Why not B’dale and TIV?

I’m not talking about being mentioned in someone else’s Wiki article. We’ve already achieved that distinction. Stefan Sittig (a choreographer who worked with us in days gone by) lists both Barksdale and Theatre IV among his credits in the Wikipedia article that’s all about him. And the Wiki article on Richmond itself includes the following (oddly worded) copy under its Arts and Culture listing:

“Barksdale Theatre- Founded in 1953, originally as the Hanover Tavern. Created the nation's first dinner theatre. The Barksdale was Virginia’s first performing arts organization to open its doors to integrated audiences. Continues today as The Hanover Tavern, in Hanover Virginia, Barksdale Theatre in Richmond.

Theatre IV- founded in 1975 by Bruce Miller and Phil Whiteway and is one of the largest running theatres in Virginia. Tours children's shows all over the country. Now a family playhouse after Bruce and Phil took over Barksdale Theatre in Willow Lawn in 2001.”

Hmmm. Guess I’ll have to try to edit that a little. But it’s fun to know that Wiki and we are on a first name basis.

What I’m talking about is articles of our own, so that when you see us listed in someone else’s article, the names Barksdale and Theatre IV appear in blue and you can click on them to link instantly to the big articles that’re just about us.

I just discovered that our current production of The Clean House has taken us one step closer to achieving that goal. In the Wiki article about The Clean House and it’s current prominence in world theatre, Barksdale made the cut—which makes me mighty proud. Here’s what the operative part of the article says, word for word:


The Clean House won the 2004 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, awarded annually to the best English-language play written by a woman, and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. It has received glowing reviews from certain critics: Variety called the play a “…wondrously mad and moving work…” and Charles Isherwood of The New York Times dubbed it a deeply romantic comedy, “…visionary, tinged with fantasy, extravagant in feeling, maybe a little nuts.”

Other publications, such as The Village Voice and The New Yorker were more critical, registering complaints about the play's style and its treatment of Mathilde. At the end of 2006, Entertainment Weekly magazine named the New York production one of the top ten theatrical attractions of the year.

The Clean House has been produced at South Coast Repertory (West Coast premiere, January 2005), the Goodman Theatre (spring 2006, in Ruhl's native Chicago), The Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Washington, D.C. (July 11 — August 14, 2005) [1], Lincoln Center Theater at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater (New York premiere, October 2006), Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, England (April 2006, European Premiere) and at Northampton's Royal & Derngate theatres (Feb 08 then UK tour).

The Sheffield production featured Patricia Hodge (Lane) and Eleanor Bron (Ana/Mathilde's mother). It was directed by Samuel West. Both actors revive these roles for Northampton and UK tour, directed by John Dove.

The Lincoln Center production featured Blair Brown (Lane), Jill Clayburgh (Virginia), John Dossett (Charles/Mathilde's father), Concetta Tomei (Ana/Mathilde's mother), and Vanessa Aspillaga (Mathilde).

The Clean House was shown at The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury in March and April 2008. A French version was played in Montreal a the Espace Libre theatre in February 2008 called "Une maison propre".

Will run at the Barksdale Theatre in Richmond, VA from Sept. 26-Nov. 2nd, 2008.”

And that’s it, folks. No other theatres are mentioned. Barksdale is in some proud international company, and we didn’t even put ourselves there, I swear.

Anyway, I thought that was pretty interesting. So, if you have yet to see the lovely Sarah Ruhl play that earned this national notice for little old Barksdale, please make your reservations for The Clean House ASAP. You’ll be glad you did.

See you at the theatre!

--Bruce Miller


Rosie B. said...

I've forwarded the link to a dear friend (and former Richmonder) who is a frequent contributor of Wiki articles. Who knows...

Bruce Miller said...

And it was just that easy. Within days of posting my secret goal to be wikied, it happened. The oddly worded paragraphs about Barksdale and Theatre IV on the Richmond wiki post were edited to better reflect reality (and better comply with the English language), and Barksdale Theatre achieved its own wiki article. Now onward and upward to Theatre IV. Thanks to our webmaster Jessica Daugherty, Rosie's friend, and whomever else may have helped. I think this is kinda cool.

Andrew said...

Just came across your post and wanted to alert you to a wiki just for Richmond that I launched last month. Feel free to add an article for the Barksdale Theatre as a resource for the local crowd, too!