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
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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
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Tiny Ninja Theater Returns to Charleston to Redefine 'Romeo & Juliet'

May 31, 2002

Staff Writer

Last year, a small theater company became the big hit of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, the little festival that runs in concert with the vaunted Spoleto Festival USA.

Tiny Ninja Theatre of Brooklyn, N.Y., packed Theatre 99 with, oh, 18 to 22 people for each performance of "Macbeth."

It was "Macbeth" as one had never before seen the Shakespearean tragedy: performed on a briefcase-sized stage by a dozen 2-inch-tall plastic ninja figures as well as Mr. and Mrs. Smile, small figures with large smiley face heads, in the roles of Lord and Lady Macbeth.

The audience was on the edge of its collective seat, or rather, on the edge of a slightly too narrow board propped on the arms of theater chairs, watching bloody tragedy unfold through tiny red binoculars.

Tiny Ninja returns to Charleston for the world premiere of its production of Shakespeare's other too-often-produced-everyone-dies-at-the-end play, "Romeo and Juliet."

Director and founder Dov Weinstein spoke about the production a few days before loading up cast, sets and crew for the trip South.

About the new cast:

"Mr. and Mrs. Smile are as good a team as you can find, but they felt we should go with some younger actors. Mrs. Smile will play the role of the nurse. Mr. Smile is not appearing, but has spent some time working with the young leads.

"There will be many, many ninjas in various roles. Not only are they very good performers - and not to disparage others in the field - but they are, as one would expect from ninjas, extremely disciplined."

About suggestions that because the actors have only one facial expression and cannot move their arms or legs, they seem rather wooden:

"I've never heard that. Your review last year certainly didn't say that. Yes, their tiny arms and legs are frozen, but if you look at theories of art and performance much, it speaks to trying to distill and essentialize the action, to take something complicated and diffuse and make it very precise. Many actors have a lot of tics and vocal intonations. With ninjas, we do away with those distractions."

Do any of the actors get lost or pocketed by overzealous fans?

"The ninjas, as I've said, are very disciplined and therefore not likely to wander off on their own. Sometimes people have wanted to take them home, but after seeing one of the plays, they respect them as performers."

On touring with the ninjas:

"The show is surprisingly large for how small it is; all those tables and lights and wigs. We are able to travel the entire production under my allowable-luggage limits for international flights.

"With the increase in airline security, the ninjas do have to be checked, because of course, each has a tiny plastic sword."

© 2001 State, The (Columbia, SC)

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