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
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Article: Where to Celebrate Valentine's Day Solo
Time Out New York, 2/14/02
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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
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Spoleto Festival at 25
The New York Times, 6/5/01
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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
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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
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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
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Review: Street of Blood, Tiny Ninja Theater presents Macbeth
NEXT Magazine, 9/15/00
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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
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Fringe Binge
Time Out New York, 8/24/00
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Review: Fringe Benefits
The Village Voice, 8/23/00
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Review: As The Bard Himself Might Put it..., 8/20/00

Review: Tiny Ninja Macbeth, Finally, Little Green Man, 8/18/00
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Article: Off-Off and Running
Time Out New York, 8/10/00
jump to the good bits

June 10, 2001


I was in Charleston last weekend and a friend was leafing through the Piccolo Spoleto schedule looking for a concert or play to attend that night.
"Ow, I though Piccolo was free," she said.

Well, it's not.
Piccolo is the event in Charleston that runs concurrently with the Spoleto Festival USA. The festival brings in international arts groups - from operas to dance companies to jazz performers - with ticket prices ranging from about $15 to $100.
Piccolo is the little festival with a great many South Carolina arts groups, as well as small companies from around the nation. Among the offerings are choral music groups from Asheville and Charlotte, the Charleston Renaissance Ensemble, the Charleston Ballet Theatre, the Mobile (Ala.) Ballet and theater companies from Charleston as well as Virginia and other places..
Piccolo does offer some free events as well as some low-priced shows, like early music concerts for $10 and chamber music for only $6.
But if you want to see theater or dance you'll have to fork out the usual going rates - and sometimes more. Most of those shows run $15 to $20.
For what's being called the "fringe festival," meaning more offbeat stuff that's not part of the main festival, tickets are $15.
As part of the fringe I saw "Tiny Ninja Theatre Presents Macbeth." This consisted of the Shakespeare tragedy performed by 2-inch-tall toy ninja figures. One man moved the little guys around and did all the voices.
It was delightful and inventive and mesmerizing - my favorite "Macbeth" in years.
It also cost $15 to get in and lasted 40 minutes.
I don't begrudge the starving artist money, but $15 is just too much.
The reason for the fairly high price level is that all the theaters are pretty much on their own during Piccolo. They, and the companies they bring in, take the risks, working for the door alone. Then they give 20 percent back to Piccolo, which is operated by the Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs.
If Piccolo is truly going to be a festival for all people, something's gotta give on the prices.
At the big festival this year you could see funny writer David Sedaris, professional talker Kevin Kling, an the original play by Ping Chong or a solo performance by dancer Bill T. Jones for $25 to $30.
Why would you pay $20 for what's a pretty much a community theater production?
It just doesn't add up - although actually it adds up all too quickly.
Piccolo's budget is about $800,000, with about $80,000 of that coming from city and state sources. The rest comes from ticket sales and sponsorships, the latter generating $240,000.
By the way, my friend stayed in and watched the movie "The Tao of Steve."
While that's a great movie, it seems a shame that someone in Charleston during festival time couldn't go out on the town.

© 2001 State, The (Columbia, SC)

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