After touring the United States since the fall, the ASC's 2008/09 Stark Raving Sane Tour returns to its home base in Staunton at the beginning of April. The troupe will present the three productions of the Spring Season at the Blackfriars Playhouse:
These plays will continue at the Blackfriars through mid-June.
"We scour the country for the right 10-12 actors to perform all these roles in all of these plays," explains the ASC's Artistic Director Jim Warren. "Not only are we looking for the right talent to do these shows in true rotating repertory (a great lost joy in today's theatre world), but we're also looking for personalities we think will gel into a dynamic, well-balanced ensemble on and off the stage. On top of all of that, we're also looking for singers and musicians because we perform all of our music live and unplugged; join us for our pre-show a half-hour before show time for some musical treats."
Warren directs Hamlet. The play is a philosopher's gold mine; but it's also a ghost story, a comedy, a thriller, and a seven-murder tale of revenge. For four-hundred years, audiences of all ages (and both sexes) have been able to identify with this brilliant, troubled Prince as he copes with the loss of his father, his mother's remarriage, and life's biggest questions. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, and Hamlet, who seeks to uncover the source of the stench, struggles to discover what is real and what is illusion in his world turned upside down.
Warren also directs Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, by Tom Stoppard, co-writer of the screenplay for the Oscar-winning 1998 film Shakespeare in Love. This wickedly funny companion piece to Hamlet turns Shakespeare inside out and shows us the Dane's story from the point of view of Hamlet's school chums. Stoppard serves up a feast of wordplay, wit, and slapstick while exploring the timeless questions about identity, illusion, and toenail growing. An instant modern classic, R&G Are Dead won the 1968 Tony Award for Best Play, has appeared on stages all over the world, and became a major motion picture. The ASC uses Shakespeare's original staging conditions and our interactive style to shed new light on this brilliant comic masterpiece.
Warren noted that actors play the same roles in both Hamlet and R&G: "Our productions were directed, designed, and rehearsed together to make the most out of the shared scenes and situations. Both shows will milk Renaissance staging conditions (as all our shows do): we'll leave the lights on the audience, our actors will be talking directly to the audience, and we will have to find new ways of pulling off moments in the R&G script which call for the tricks of the modern theatre."
"The joy of crafting both productions to be companion pieces," Warren added, "is matched only by the excitement of knowing that both shows will travel the U.S., turning every venue into an Elizabethan environment before the plays and players take up residence in our own Blackfriars Playhouse for our 2009 Spring Season."
Visiting Director Giles Block directs The Comedy of Errors. In this rollicking farce of mistaken identity, Shakespeare transports Roman comedy to dizzying heights. Two long-separated twins, a cheating husband, a jealous wife, a pending execution, Fat Nell, and two tricky servants (also twins) romp through this fast-paced comedy. All this and the fabulous Dr. Pinch make The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare's shortest play, the perfect family show.
"Like a juggler Shakespeare weaves together three old stories, filled with the most outrageous coincidences, and manages to keep all the balls in the air, without dropping them," said Block, who has worked for the last ten years with Shakespeare's Globe theatre in London and who directed Henry V for last year's ASC Piercing Eloquence Tour. "Mistaken identity is one of the prime sources of comedy and in this play mistaken identity is piled on more mistaken identity until it reaches dizzying heights. So, lots of fun, lots of craziness, but totally improbable - right? Well, no, not totally improbable; at least, I don't think so."
The Spring Season opens with a preview of Hamlet on April 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Blackfriars Playhouse, followed by initial performances of all three spring productions through April 4. These performances are all pay-what-you-will, but for the best seats, we recommend that you reserve in advance. For details and showtimes, see the ASC's online calendar. And for tickets and information, call the Blackfriars box office at 1-877-MUCH-ADO or 1-540-851-1733.
|<< May 2013 >>|
Saturday, May 25, 2013, 2:00 pm
Love's Labour's Lost
Saturday, May 25, 2013, 7:30 pm
The Duchess of Malfi
Sunday, May 26, 2013, 2:00 pm
Love's Labour's Lost
Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 7:30 pm
The Duchess of Malfi
Thursday, May 30, 2013, 7:30 pm
Thursday, May 30, 2013, 10:00 pm
Friday, May 31, 2013, 7:30 pm
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Actors' Renaissance Season