Review: Tiny Ninja Theater
TheaterMania, 4/9/03
"There's something irresistibly charming about seeing Shakespeare's works performed by miniature plastic figurines."

Article: Small Actors Make Big Splash
Dramatics, 4/03
"As Yoda says, ‘You do or you do not; there is no try.’"

Review: Theatre Pick for Week of March 4, 3/4/03
"You think you've seen every twist on The Bard’s work humanly possible..."

Article: Fringe Hit Tiny Ninja Theater Returns to NYC
Playbill Online, 2/9/03
"Trevor Bigfoot as Mercutio — whose death scene has to be seen to be believed"

Article: Best of Charleston 2003
The Charleston City Paper, 1/03
"Readers Pick for Best Piccolo Spoleto Event"

Review: Shakespeare in a Shoebox
The Washington Post, 1/11/03
"Once you've seen its Romeo & Juliet, you'll want to come to back for figurine versions of Hamlet or Othello or whatever else." — Peter Marks

Review: Action Figure Genius
The Charleston City Paper, 10/02
"Quick, clever, and chock full of surprises, more than one audience member claimed that it even outperformed the hit interpretation of the Scottish play." — Colleen Reilly

Review: Freeze Frame
Creative Loafing Charlotte, 10/2/02
"I heartily recommend being among the lucky few when Weinstein & Co. return to Charlotte or Piccolo Spoleto." — Perry Tannenbaum
jump to the good bits

Review: Tiny Version of Macbeth is Giant Entertainment
The Charlotte Observer, 9/22/02
"Fresh, funny, ingenious and original." — JoAnn Grose

Review: Tiny Ninja Theater
Hairline, 8/02
"Four Stars: Tiny Ninja Theater is a fantastic and unorthodox show which represents what many love about the Edinburgh Festival." — Simon Ferguson

Review: Bard Takes a Flyer
Sunday Herald, 8/25/02
"Four Stars: Shakespeare is as equally at home among the ridiculous, of course." — Tim Abrahams

Review: Tiny Ninja Theater presents Macbeth
The Scotsman, 8/19/02
"Must be seen to be believed. " — Paul Rhodes

Review: Macbeth
Three Weeks, 8/17/02
"If a definition of the Fringe is originality and artistic expression, then this 35 minute abbreviated version of Macbeth, with tiny plastic ninjas as a cast, must surely rank as an ultimate example." — Paul Cochrane

Review: Mr. Smiley Face Macbeth
The Guardian, 8/10/02
"Weinstein plays it dead straight and speaks the text rather better than some classically trained actors I have heard." — Lyn Gardner

Review: Mini-Cawdor Steals Hearts
The List, 8/8/02
"a marvel of theatrical innovation" — Catherine Bromley

Review: No Drams Required
Edinburgh Guide, 8/3/02
"This is the only one I’m recommending to all my friends and the only thing I think I’ll make a return trip to!" — Annabel Ingram

Article: Ninja-cized Bard
Charleston Post & Courier, 6/1/02

Article: Tiny Ninja Theater Returns to Charleston
The State, 5/31/02

Review: Action Figure Genius
The Charleston City Paper, 5/29/02

Review: Tiny Ninjas Take On Shakespeare's Giant Roles
Charleston Post & Courier, 5/29/02

Article: Oh Tiny Romeo
The Charleston City Paper, 5/02

Article: What's The Buzz
The Charleston City Paper, 5/02
jump to the good bits

Article: Where to Celebrate Valentine's Day Solo
Time Out New York, 2/14/02
jump to the good bits

Review: Massaker im Spielzeugland
Taz Bremen, 1/22/02
the babelfish translation

Article: Best of Charleston 2001
The Charleston City Paper, 1/02
"Best Use of Plastic Figurines in a Performance" jump to the good bits

Article: Shakespeare de Plástico
Revista 2K, 6/22/01
the babelfish translation

Piccolo's Prices Too Steep for Local Festival
The State, 6/10/01
jump to the good bits

Spoleto Festival at 25
The New York Times, 6/5/01
jump to the good bits

Tiny Ninjas Put Twist on the Bard
Charleston Post & Courier, 6/2/01

Tiny Ninjas Project Big Illusion
The Charleston City Paper, 5/29/01

Review: No Small Jokes, Just Small Actors
Charleston Post & Courier, 5/29/01

Article: Immediate Art
The Charleston City Paper, 5/01
jump to the good bits

Article: Serious Shakespeare Takes But An Inch
The Charleston City Paper, 5/01

Review: Sightlines: Tom Waits in the Toilet
The Village Voice, 4/27/01

Article: All Is But Toys
Stage Directions, 3/01
jump to the good bits

Article: The Bard's New Band of Merry Men Perform Macbeth
American Theater, 12/00

Article: Off-Off color: Toy Story
Time Out New York, 11/9/00
jump to the good bits

Review: Street of Blood, Tiny Ninja Theater presents Macbeth
NEXT Magazine, 9/15/00
jump to the good bits

Article: Is That a Ninja That I See Before Me?
Playbill Online, 8/30/00

Review: Oh, Forget the Money, Let's Dress Up and Play
The New York Times, 8/26/00
jump to the good bits

Fringe Binge
Time Out New York, 8/24/00
jump to the good bits

Review: Fringe Benefits
The Village Voice, 8/23/00
jump to the good bits

Review: As The Bard Himself Might Put it..., 8/20/00

Review: Tiny Ninja Macbeth, Finally, Little Green Man, 8/18/00
jump to the good bits

Article: Off-Off and Running
Time Out New York, 8/10/00
jump to the good bits

Aug 18, 2000

Tiny Ninja Macbeth, Finally, Little Green Man
By: Brooke Pierce

Set in various locations centered around the Lower East Side, the New York International Fringe Festival is like a theatrical carnival. From August 16 to 27, there are shows at all hours of the day, all days of the week—and they run the gamut in genre, length, and content. I caught three shows—Tiny Ninja Theater's Macbeth, Finally, and Little Green Man—during the first two days of the festival, the sum of which proves that the Fringe adds up to more than your average one-show theater experience.


Tiny Ninja Macbeth

After some these shows you find yourself walking out shaking your head, saying, “Only at the Fringe.” Tiny Ninja Theater's Macbeth is a prime example.
It is Shakespeare’s shortest play, made even shorter, and performed by tiny ninjas. Yes, tiny plastic ninjas; I kid you not.

In the program notes, director Dov Weinstein states, “I had noticed that there were these tiny plastic ninjas in vending machines all across the city, but no one was using them to perform classical theater. Something had to be done.” Interestingly, this is a case where the premise is much funnier than the performance. But I don’t mean that as a slight.

Weinstein is a marvel, maneuvering dozens of tiny ninjas (and other assorted figurines), while simultaneously executing quick lighting and scene changes. And doing so while reciting the characters’ lines. Weinstein did this all sitting down behind a small table which served as the stage, as the audience sat up close and crowded around to watch the play.

The show was a tour de force, and Weinstein’s skilled performance overshadowed the amusement factor. He could have easily played the whole thing for laughs, but rather than turning the performance into a high-concept version of little boys playing battle with toys, he acts as a puppeteer, moving the figures under the table with magnets or his own deft hands.

Apparently Tiny Ninja Theater productions of Three Sisters and Desire Under the Elms are also in the works. Their Macbeth has so far been the hit of the Fringe—with tickets in high demand—and so the signs indicate that Tiny Ninja Theater could be moving on to bigger and better things soon. Of course, the question is: Can they do such tiny theater on a grander scale? I have no doubt that Dov Weinstein will find a way.



In light of his phenomenal work in the ensemble documentary play The Laramie Project, I shouldn’t have been surprised that Stephen Belber’s Finally would be such a brilliant piece of work. But it’s always a pleasant experience to come across a story so skillfully crafted and told.

A solo piece about the brutal murder of a football coach, Finally is told from the point-of-view of four characters. Belber played the four parts himself in the 1997 workshop of the play, but here actress Katie Firth takes on the roles. Firth does very well playing one woman, two men, and a very unexpected fourth character in the drama. The story unfolds through each consecutive monologue, as the complicated history and depth of the characters’ relationships, motivations, and fates are revealed. Belber’s writing is tight, funny, and warm, with the words only occasionally becoming a bit too poetic for the characters saying them.

Each monologue is better than the one before, and the drama’s intensity increases as we get deeper into the hearts of these people. By the end of the show I found myself leaning far forward, anxiously awaiting every word. Finally is a fascinating and poignant story, and in a time where it is becoming more and more difficult to distinguish one kitchen sink drama from another, it’s refreshing to encounter a new kind of story. Belber and Firth take us along on the unique life journey that these four characters share, uncovering their darkest passions, treating them with great understanding, and offering redemption for us all.


Little Green Man

Verm (Dominic Orlando), an alien discovered by the U.S. government after his spacecraft crashed, has been kept in captivity for 50 years. He’s been questioned endlessly, and left to watch hours upon hours of television. When we meet him, he is for the first time encountering his new charge, a government agent named Parker (Hope Garland). It seems that decades of being trapped in a room in front of a television has finally gotten to Verm, making him very uncooperative. Answering Parker’s questions in roundabout ways, or not at all, he plays mind games with her, leaving her in doubt of he and his people’s true intentions and capabilities.

Little Green Man is more of a dramatic sketch than a play. The piece has many good moments, but ultimately it feels incomplete. The ending is abrupt, and it’s hard to get a sufficient sense of what has been going on for the years that Verm has been held by the government. But the Fringe is just the sort of venue for theatrical experimentation, and perhaps No Pants Theatre Co. and writer Orlando will be able to do more with the play in the future. At 25 minutes, it is successful as a short piece that shows the inevitable confrontation between captive and captor, and leaves us to wonder which is truly which.

© 2000

home | the company | fun | press | store
shows | macbeth | romeo & juliet | shakespeare's sonnets
a brief history of dumbo | election 2000 | the effects of nuclear war

© 2000-2002 Tiny Ninja Theater |
co-produced by 4Panel Productions | site design & hosting by Fictional Company