Theater is a world unto itself. Sure, there's Russian theater and American theater and theater from England, France and Japan and Bali, and they're all different.
But if you have ever spent any time inside these different traditions, you'll know that there really aren't many borders in the theater world. Or, at least, there tends to be a desire to get rid of the ones that exist. Everybody is striving to break borders down, violate limits, remove obstacles and see what's happening on the other side of the fence.
In my life I have worked a fair number of jobs — in the food industry, a heavy machinery factory, a sports team, airport services, the music business, book stores and publishing, journalism, teaching and - yes — theater. Theater is the only one of those places I have been that really, honestly, gets down to breaking down barriers.
Now there is a new, one-stop — may I add, mindboggling — website that puts all the world's theater right at your fingertips, any minute of the day. It is called Nite News and it bills itself right there on its virtual masthead as a "new international theater experience: World Theater News."
And, boy, do they mean that.
To give you an idea of what I am talking about I just opened the site up to its home page. And here's what it threw at me: links to articles on theater in Poland, Australia, Africa, Asia, North America, Oceania, South America, a pull-down menu that provides access to articles about actors, administrators, designers, directors, dramaturgs, playwrights, producers, students, technicians, translators, theater companies, digital theater, festivals and more.
You prefer not to read in English? Well, the site provides functional automatic translation into 58 languages. That's right, you need Haitian Creole? Urdu? Yiddish? You got it. Click the button.
The range of topics is pretty much jaw-dropping. Right now on the home page there is access to pieces on why Kate Winslett doesn't do theater, how K-Pop meets Broadway in Seoul, an overview of the small, surrealist Teatr Cinema in Michalowice, Poland, a piece on government support for theater in Ghana, and a feature on the opening of the Astana Opera Theater in Kazakhstan, to name just a few.
If you want to dig deeper, go right ahead. Click on Oceania and find three pages of links to articles, including pieces about aboriginal theater in Australia, a feature on New Zealand actress Anna Jullienne, and Simon Stone's rewrite of Anton Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard." Click on playwrights and you'll find five pages of links to features on, among others, Anwar Maqsood from Pakistan, Lee Blessing of the United States, and Doruntina Basha of Kosovo.
If you're interested in something that doesn't appear in the menus, just use the search option. I typed in "Russia" and got links to two pages of articles, including pieces about Belarus's famous Free Theater, the Pyotr Fomenko Studio in Moscow, and 2014 being the UK-Russia Year of Culture.
For the time being the site is mostly acting as a conduit between readers and publishers posting theater news on the internet. Nite News provides a generous digest of the original article on its site for those readers who are in a hurry. But at the end of each piece it also provides a link to the full original.
Still, according to site creators Beatriz Cabur (a playwright based in Madrid) and Douglas Howe (a director based in New York), the site soon plans to provide more original reporting. Dara Weinberg's piece on the Polish Teatr Cinema is the first of such pieces.
Nite News, if you haven't realized it by now, has just taken the topic of international theater news from zero to 100 mph in six seconds flat. If you have something to say about theater in Wales, Kamchatka or Antarctica — here is a place to put it where the world will see it. If you want to know about what's happening theatrically in places you've only dreamed about — this is the answer to your dreams.