Press & Reviews

GUSEV

(World Premiere)

For those who have experienced loss, especially those who have seen a loved one's health whither away, Gusev is a remarkable play to see, because it so directly embraces the grief of the human condition...

 

…Like a priest blessing the body of the deceased, [Schmidt’s] production grants these experiences of despair some beauty, in the language that Chekhov uses to wrap them in. - The Austin Chronicle

Graham Schmidt's adaptation and staging of Anton Chekhov's very short story Gusev is a dark and haunting hour of theatre… - Central Texas Live Theatre

 

WE PLAY CHEKHOV

(World Premiere)

Breaking String's two-course meal of Chekhov tales proves both meaty and effervescent... - The Austin Chronicle

A challenging, rewarding night of theater... - The Austin Statesman

DULCEY AND ROXY AT CITY HALL

(World Premiere)

Playwright Kurochkin points out the risks and the heavy price to pay for failing to oppose injustice. If hope is a smoky, fading ember in a dying world, we must search for it in the ashes of the barricades in Ukraine. The strangeness of this play may well be our guide and comforter. - Central Texas Live Theatre

THREE; OR THE SOUND OF THE GREAT EXISTENTIAL NOTHINGNESS

(World Premiere)

Graham Schmidt and Breaking String Theatre [a company founded by Schmidt] have never stumbled through anything. As long as I have followed them, their choices have been sure and their productions sure-footed....As I have written before, theatre-goers must, for their enrichment in all things theatre, seek out Breaking String Theater at any time and this play, Three, or, the Sound of the Great Existential Nothingness while it is up. - Central Texas Live Theatre

Breaking String Theater blows some life into the dusty corpse of Anton Chekhov with this new adaptation of "Three Sisters." - The Austin Chronicle

I AM THE MACHINE GUNNER

(American Premiere)

In Austin it was veteran Austin actor Joey Hood alone, shifting throughout the forty-minute solo performance between two characters: a contemporary street criminal and his grandfather, a combat veteran of World War II.  I Am the Machine Gunner was more than just overwhelming...Hood's physical work here was particularly riveting.  Movement, energy, posture, and shapes created on the spare set were fundamental in differentiating these related characters. - Central Texas Live Theatre (Robinson)

Veteran Austin actor Joey Hood brings the main character - an enforcer for the mafia - to life with a convivial street-talking cadence spiked by sudden outbursts...His grandfather was a machine gunner in the last Great War, and his desire to protect the homeland has morphed into [his grandson's] desire to have, to consume, and to overpower his fellow citizens. The violence is as pointless, the pain as cold and harsh, the inevitability as staggering, but it’s different because it is now his and his alone: inherited like an old watch, to do with what he will. - Central Texas Live Theatre (Scipione)

THE SCHOOLING OF BENTO BONCHEV

(American Premiere)

Director Graham Schmidt infuses the script with an infectious energy and creates precisely timed, practically militaristic transitions among the 51 scenes…The show is visually stunning,

the ensemble is as irresistible as the script and design...I left the theatre feeling joyful and energized. - The Austin Chronicle

Schmidt and choreographer Sergio Alvarado move the ensemble smartly about Ia Ensterä's starkly functional set at a lively, balletic pace.Central Texas Live Theatre

GHOSTS

When performance, set, and costumes come together to create a unified vision of something worth watching, the audience can enjoy something apart from their daily lives for an evening. The current production of Ghosts provides exactly that...Graham Schmidt has directed several other plays from this period, and he knows not only whom to cast but how to direct them – how to navigate the parts that are more foreign to today's audience and how to rely on what is unique about this sort of theatre. - The Austin Chronicle

 The condemning, almost apocalyptic finale challenges every audience member to identify the causes of the Alving family's doom.  This production is not for the intellectually lazy, but Ibsen's work, more than a century old, remains rewarding experience for those willing to engage with its themes. - Central Texas Live Theatre

UNCLE VANYA

Director Graham Schmidt and designer Ia Ensterä indicate that we are not just surrounded but also dominated and at the mercy of a corrupt and dying nature, and we see this idea played out in the action of the story.... - The Austin Chronicle

As the stage space is swallowed on all sides by decay, the characters are swallowed by their own natures, and because they have been corrupted, the decisions they make and actions they take often have nothing to do with right or wrong and everything to do with their own envy, jealousy, and unfulfilled desires. It's an impressive concept and an impressive design… - Central Texas Live Theatre

FLYING

(American Premiere)

This is not your father’s Russian theater, this is the new stuff, and Schmidt and his gang deserve credit for putting the realities of today’s Russian theater in plain view. - Culturebot

Graham Schmidt and Breaking String Theatre put audiences up close to the beautiful youth of post-Soviet Russia...Schmidt and this talented company create a terrific, terrible and hypnotic spectacle for us.  Flying is an experience not to be missed. - Central Texas Live Theatre

THE CHERRY ORCHARD

What is this quiet exhilaration I feel in the presence of Chekhov? Especially when the piece is as well played as this one? - Central Texas Live Theatre

THE SEAGULL

It's a great credit to Schmidt that this production does justice to both the tragedy and comedy, the brutalities and the subtleties, of Chekhov's vision without herking and jerking when shifting gears. - The Austin Chronicle

Profiles, Interviews, & Features

 

THEATRE IN BLACK AND WHITE

Married theatremakers Antoinette Nwandu and Graham Schmidt talk about what they took home from 'Fairview,' 'Slave Play,' and 'What to Send Up When It Goes Down.' - American Theatre

AN INTERVIEW WITH GRAHAM SCHMIDT: BRINGING RUSSIAN THEATRE TO U.S. AUDIENCES - The Theatre Times

ASK A DIRECTOR INTERVIEW

RAISING THEIR VOICES

Graham Schmidt reviews new Russian plays as an attendee at the 2012 Lyubimovka Theatre Festival in Moscow, Russia - The Austin Chronicle

MOSCOW NOW, HERE

A profile of Graham Schmidt and feature on his work producing Austin's 2012 New Russina Drama Festival - The Austin Chronicle

All production photos by Will Hollis Snider.

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