Audio, IF presents *Romeo and Juliet*

00:01—Pre-show music
28:30—Show Notes
31:40—Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
1:50:30—500 Miles

The Script: R&J cut August

*****

Improbable Fictions presents

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

7:30, September 5, 2013, at the Dinah Washington CAC

Romeo…………………………………………..Michael Witherell

Juliet………………………………………………..Katherine Gates

Capulet…………………………………………………Glen Johnson

Lady Capulet……………………………………..Natalie Hopper

Nurse……………………………………………………..Soapy Jones

Tybalt……………………………………………………Kirstin Bone

Montague………………………………………………..Matt Kelley

Benvolio………………………………………………..Joey Gamble

Prince………………………………………….Mark Hughes Cobb

Mercutio…………………………………………………Exa Skinner

Paris……………………………………………….Colin Whitworth

Friar Laurence………………………………….Charles Prosser

1st Capulet……………………………………………Adella Smith

2nd Capulet………………………………………….Amber Smith

1st Montague………………………………………….Brian Carey

2nd Montague…………………………………….Jamie Howard

Director………………………………………………….…Nic Helms

Assistant Director………………………………Natalie Hopper

Fight Choreographer………………..…….Michael Witherell

Music……………………………………..……Mark Hughes Cobb

Sponsored by

The Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies.

www.improbablefictions.wordpress.com

Twitter: @ImprobFictions

Winter’s Tale at Manderson Landing

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Good news!

Shakespeare is back in the Park at Manderson Landing, in 2 shows, and is still Free.

 

The first show, The Winter’s Tale, is a late tragic-comic-romance about the consequences of jealousy and the redemption of a man who nearly destroys his family.  There are deaths, threats, and the chance that the whole world will come down around its protagonist’s head (a la Othello).  But Shakespeare also gives us a comic mirroring and the belief in true love.  And all told by a conman.

Some of you may also know it as the play that has the wildest, most quoted stage direction in all of Shakespeare: “Exit, pursued by a bear.”

As usual the cast contains faces that have been with us since the beginning (or almost): Mark Hughes Cobb (Autolycus), Deborah Parker (Paulina), Jerrell Bowden (Clown), Russ Frost (Leontes); a second tier of veterans: Charles Prosser (Camillo), Wescott Youngson (Antigonus/Shepherd), Nic Helms (Polixenes), Natalie Hopper (Hermione), Meg Aured (Mamillius); and some newcomers: Nicole Corbett (Mopsa/Lord), Amber Gibson (Dorcas/Emilia), Lauren Liebe (Perdita), and Michael Witherell (Florizel).  It is directed by Steve Burch.

The dates of performance start next week, Wednesday May 29-through Saturday June 1st.  BUT with a NEW STARTING TIME!  Our play will begin at 8pm, with pre-show music starting at 7:30pm.

 

Next month, June 26-29, we will then present Shakespeare’s classic comedy Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Mark Hughes Cobb.

Bring blankets, chairs, bug spray.

 

Hope to see all of you this week!

 

Steve Burch

Firsts

You can find the program for last Thursday’s reading of Elizabeth Cary’s The Tragedy of Mariam here:

Mariam, program and director’s notes

Also, I’m sad to say that I didn’t manage to make an audio recording of this staged reading.  This has been a crazy March for the Strode Program at U of A.  However, there is one more record of the performance you might be interested in:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tragedy_of_Mariam

Improbable Fictions is on Wikipedia as the first group to ever perform Mariam.

Thanks, Kirstin!

~nrhelms

IF presents Timon of Athens

@ The Greensboro Room of Bama Theatre

Pre-show music at 7:10pm

Staged reading at 7:30pm

Free Admission ($1 donations to the Bama Theatre Restoration Fund appreciated)

Come see IF’s staged reading of Shakespeare’s unfinished work *Timon of Athens*, a parable of generosity, greed, and the ancient Greek economy. More importantly, it also has some of the greatest insults found in Shakespeare, and performances by:

Timon (Russ Frost)

Apemantus (Steve Burch)

Alcibiades (Mark Hughes Cobb)

Flavius (Chris Malone)

Flaminius/Phrynia (Meredith Wiggins)

Servilius/Timandra (Hannah Bigham)

First Senator (David Ainsworth)

Caphis (Bryce Fry)

Lucullus (Susie Johnson)

Lucilius/Isidore’s Servant/Soldier (Joey Gamble)

Sempronius/Varro’s Servant (Benjamin Smith)

Special Thanks to:

UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, Dept. of English, Dept. of Theatre, and the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies
https://www.facebook.com/events/307235855961351/

Foul or Fair

Macbeth
Royal Shakespeare Company
June 27, 2011, 7:15pm

“Macbeth. Macbeth. Macbeth.”

Imagine that you’re a soldier in the sixteenth century. You’re at the edges of a battlefield, caked in the blood of your enemies. You make your way through a abandoned, desecrated church: the stained glass windows are smashed to bits, the statues are reduced to rubble, and the faces of the murals are fall scratched out. This is what the Protestants think of iconography. Above you, you see the bodies of three dead children, hanging from meat hooks. Their foreheads are marked with ashen crosses. You wonder, who killed these little angels? Who put them here?

And then they open their eyes and speak your name.

“Macbeth. Macbeth. Macbeth.”

So opens Michael Boyd’s RSC production of Macbeth. Read on, if you dare. But beware: as Doctor River Song says, “Spoilers!”

I tell this tale vilely. I should first tell you how a wounded man stands alone on the thrust stage of the newly refurbished Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and a priest calls out to him from among the audience: “Doubtful it stood. Doubtful it stood.”. The messenger takes up the words and begins the Soldier’s speech to King Duncan, who appears out of the mists. The soldier, we soon learn, is Malcolm, the King’s son. The priest is Ross.

Boyd sets his production against the historical backdrop of iconoclasm, the 16th century Protest purge of Catholic and Anglican religious imagery: statues, murals, stained glass windows, and representation of God, Christ, or saints. The imagery seems clear: faces, false and true; the sacred torn down; the ghosts and ruins of the past. And even if one might miss the historical nuances here, the program includes several short articles to bring every spectator up to speed. The production itself employs standard Renaissance costuming: leather cloaks, riding boots, rapiers. We find ourselves more in Shakespeare’s England than in the Scotland of yore.

At first glance, this play is standard fare: Macbeth (Jonathan Slinger) is ambitious, rash, and potent; Lady Macbeth (Aislin McGuckin) is strong-willed, seductive, and finally self-destructive; their performances are top-notch RSC fare, as with the rest of the cast. But the witches! Here the magic begins. Macbeth’s first encounter with the three weird children is short: no “toil and trouble,” no talk of familiars or magic, only ominous prophecies and the eerie laughter of children in the dark. Thus far, any type of witch might do: wise, undead children are a particularly frightening branch of the supernatural, but other dire figures might suffice. The Porter, too, seems standard fare: dressed in red, bearing fireworks, and merging with the minor character Seyton (pronounced Satan), this man is more Devil than Porter. A not uncommon choice. Macbeth kills Duncan, Macbeth becomes King (ordained with water and crowned by Ross), Macbeth orders Banquo’s murder. All is well.

Then. Seyton is the third murderer. He stands back as the others kill Banquo. When the two murderers leave, Seyton gestures and Banquo rises, leaving with him. At the banquet, Macbeth imagines that Banquo’s corpse kills him, slitting his throat. I fear of actual harm from Macduff, Macbeth meets with the weird children again. Hecate and the spells are gone: the children merely step onstage holding dolls, which they use to deliver their prophecies. Macbeth is emboldened and the children leave. Again, quite eerie, but these choices are in line with many productions.

Then. Macduff’s house. Lady Macduff argues with Ross about her husband’s departure. Her children enter. They are the weird children, quite alive, and carrying the dolls of the previous scene. Ross leaves, the murderers enter, killing all. Ross returns as witness (remember). Then Seyton arrives and Lady Macduff and her children arise, following him. When Malcolm besieges Macbeth’s castle, the dead are there, wielding swords and carrying branches, Ross among them. When Macduff fights Macbeth, the dead are there, haunting his steps. Macduff’s daughter steps between them during the fight: Macbeth sees her and starts; Macduff kills him, and then sees the ghost of his wife. Malcolm enters and Macduff proclaims him king. Malcolm is silent. Then Ross speaks from the balcony as he did at the play’s opening, prompting the new king’s words. Malcolm speaks, overwhelmed by his new duties, but standing firm. The dead pass on. Seyton opens a door, and Macbeth rises, stepping into darkness.

I’m not entirely sure how to read this production, this twist of the witches into the weird children. At the play’s end I believed that Ross is a priest of the old order, of the defaced saints and demolished altars. Somehow, he speaks for the dead, putting word in Malcolm’s mouth, and the lets the dead speak for themselves. The weird children are not evil: they are the innocent seeking vengeance, the dead reaching out to create kings and destroy them. It is an uplifting vision: the hope that if someone will speak for the dead (priests, playwrights, even playgoers) then the voices of the dead will effect political change. Macbeth’s “tale told by an idiot” is just that: the voice of a madman divorced from his humanity, the sound a tyrant makes when he falls. The children prophesy a different kind of life. In a world of political unrest, of internet protests and grassroots revolutions, the voices of the dead can have great power, and might bring great hope.

But who hanged the children in the first place? King Duncan’s men? If so, Macbeth avenges them, and they only turn on him once he chooses to murder Banquo. Characters in the play declare that Duncan was a good thing (historically unlikely, but Shakespeare seems to alter that). Why does Cawdor rebel before the start of the play, Cawdor who knows how to die honourably? Are rebels false men, or are they equivocators who know how to harness language to fight power and tyranny?

I don’t know that the play (or the production) offers any final answers. But Boyd’s directorial vision, alongside Slinger’s fully flourished performance of Macbeth (empty and soulless at the top of the world, a man reduced to the thirst for mastery), these things have reopened Macbeth for me, a play that I thought I had mastered: who speaks for the dead?

~nrhelms

Much Ado About London

Here are some quick reviews of the shows I managed to see this weekend in London. This is all composed and posted via ipad, so expect some bloopers. I’ll polish things up later.

~nrhelms

Much Ado About Nothing
Wyndham’s Theatre
David Tennant (Benedick), Catherine Tate (Beatrice), Josie Rourke (Director)
June 24, 2011, 7:30pm

Madcap! Some highlights: the play is set in what appears to be a Latin American colonial setting (imagine British soldiers at a 1980s Caribbean spa); Benedick first enters driving a golf cart stacked high with suitcases, sombreros, and British flags; Beatrice smokes, drinks, and passes out jaded commentary, the picture of a modern, emancipated woman (Donna much?); Imogen is no longer silent and has taken over many of Antonio’s lines (who is missing from the play); the revels involve drag, including a Princess Leia and Tennant as Miss Piggy; the “window trick” is staged as a quick screw-against-the-wall during a strobe-lit bachelorette party; and Hero’s mock funeral is cunningly reinterpreted (below).

Let me start with the obvious: this is a fantastic show largely because of Doctor Who. The chemistry between Tennant and Tate doesn’t need any time to build throughout the play: they carry it onstage with them. It is a product of their time together on Doctor Who, an interesting bit to add to the blend of a performance. Much of the Donna/Doctor relationship maps easily onto Beatrice/Benedick: the constant criticism of each other, the off-line verbal explanations (Tennant transforms every “why” into a wry question and Tate’s trademark laugh is here in abundance) and the sheer joy they each seem to experience from the exchange. In a way, Much Ado lets Doctor Who fans see Donna and the Doctor finally get together.

A brief amendment: Tate’s Beatrice is Donna in many ways, from her laugh to her attitude to her cocky grin. Tennant’s Benedick is not the Doctor, however: while the chemistry from the TV show blends well with the performance, Tennant is able to successfully leave behind the madcap antics of the Doctor (unlike, say, in his performance of Hamlet). Granted, Tennant knows his audience, and his audience knows him. Tennant lets Benedick’s prose breathe, feeling free to transform statements into questions, add expressive exclamations (most frequently “hmm” and “hah”), and taking his time with the humor. Both he and Tate know where every laugh in the show is, and their comic timing is quite flawless. When an audience is so primed to laugh, however, some things can go amiss. During Benedick’s 2.3 monologue (“this can be no trick…”), for instance, the audience broke out into hysterics early on. Tennant us off: his face and posture remained in character, while his hands silently signaled “wait for it!” The laughter died down, the monologue built to its climax, and the final, matter-of-fact “The world must be peopled” brought down the house.

Similarly, a bit of unexpected laughter occurred in 4.1 during Benedick and Beatrice’s exchange after Claudio shames Hero. After declaring his love for her, Benedick exclaims, “Bid me do anything for you!” Donna breaks down in laughter: Benedick is clearly bad at this sort of hyperbolic wooing. She sits. She waits. She thinks. After a long pause (a good 10-15 seconds of silence) she looks up and says, “Kill Claudio.” The audience laughs. And no wonder: to this point in the play, everything that Tennant and Tate have said has been hilarious. They’ve played to that laughter throughout, egging it on. Here, however, they play the moment straight, not even waiting for the laughter to die down. By the time Beatrice is wishing that she could “eat” Claudio’s “heart in the marketplace,” the audience is silent: not a titter. So, while Tennant and Tate are quite capable of amping up the laughter, even in a metatheatrical way, they only ever do so in the service of the play. Shakespeare would approve.

I mentioned above that Hero’s mock funeral is reinterpreted. Throughout the play, Claudio is a brash soldier, quick to love, quick to fight. He enters the wedding of 4.1 prepared to slander Hero, his jaw set, his impatience and anger clear. To my mind, this staging exacerbates the “problem” of Claudio: how can an audience accept that Hero forgives him in the final scene? Is he redeemable? This Claudio could easily be written off as a misogynist, a reading that pushes against the comic reconciliation. But the director had a trick up her sleeve. The characters assemble onstage for Hero’s funeral beneath a hauntingly harsh sculpture of the Holy Mother suspended from the ceiling. Claudio stands before a microphone. He mumbles his elegy into the mic in that tentative, exhausted voice of the grieved. Then the mourners exit. Claudio returns with a stereo and a bottle of whiskey. He presses play, and a hard rock rendition of the funeral song blares from the stage. Claudio quickly gets wasted, throwing back the whiskey like it’s sweet tea, and eventually pulls his pistol, setting it against his temple. An apparition of Hero appears to him, and he blacks out. Don Pedro appears to sober up Claudio for his wedding.

Drastic? Certainly? Outside Shakespeare’s text? Perhaps. I think that Much Ado demands a repentant Claudio: by pushing Claudio so far toward callous violence, Rourke needed to do something drastic to recenter the character, something to show Claudio’s rage as self-destructive: attempted suicide goes a long way toward building audience sympathy.

Much Ado About Nothing
Globe Theatre
June 25, 2011, 2:00pm.

I should preface this micro-review by saying that I overslept before the show, discovered that the London Underground was closed near my hostel, and decided to walk rather than take a bus or cab. An hour and a half late, I arrived at the Globe and had perhaps the worst spot in the Pit: extreme stage left, my view blocked by one of the two large pillars. Thus, I was a poor spectator for this performance. I would also recommend that, if you ever plan on seeing two productions of the same play in two days, see the “better” show first. The Globe’s production was a fine performance, but their Beatrice and Benedick simply could not compete with the chemistry of Tennant and Tate, largely because they lacked the extra-textual force of the Doctor/Donna relationship.

That said: the Globe’s production was, as usual for the Globe, historically conservative, including Elizabethan costuming, a subdued set design (some silk flowers, orange tree branches, and a few shallow pools of water onstage), and archetypal character work (Don Pedro is the authoritative Duke, Hero is the obedient daughter, Don John is the Machiavellian mastermind, etc.). The hallmark of this show, as is often true of Globe performances, is the audience interaction. Monologues and soliloquies were frequently directed to the audience: Beatrice singled out individuals to be the objects of her jokes or celebrations, hugging one young girl when she “overheard” Benedick’s love for her; during Benedick’s “I much wonder how one man” speech, one woman in the audience began laughing uncontrollably. Benedick played off of that laughter, waiting to continue the speech and encouraging the audience to share in her laughter. Even Dogberry got in on the metatheatrical fun, calling the entire audience the “men of the night’s watch” and selecting his watchmen from among the audience (preset actors).

For me, however, the performance fell flat insofar as it resembled Tennant and Tate’s production. A few key moments seemed modeled on the Wyndham production. While it’s difficult to say which theatre used them first, for the purposes of this blogtastic review I’m giving Tennant and Tate the benefit of the doubt: their show opened first, was more heavily advertised, and charged higher ticket prices; more importantly, these moments work better in their show). For example: when Tennant first overhears Don Pedro, Leonato, and Claudio, he’s drinking a bloody mary from a long, curled straw. The Globe’s benedict also carries a fruity beverage with a straw (despite the anachronicity of plastic straws). When Don Pedro ask’s Tate’s Beatrice if she will marry him, Tate laughs uncontrollably, a “horsey” laugh that Tate used for Donna in Doctor Who. The Globe’s Beatrice reacts with the same laugh.

Such cross-pollination is to be expected. But during the same run?

All’s Well That End’s Well
Globe Theatre
June 26, 2011, 1:00pm

The tough part about All’s Well (the problem of the problem play, as it were) is Bertram. To be polite, he’s not a very nice young man. What does Helena see in him? The rest of the play is straight-forward: Helena is a strikingly modern woman who uses all her resources to make her way in the world; Countess Rossillion is a loving and authoritarian woman, perhaps what Lady Macbeth might have become (if not for all that murder and guilt nonsense); Paroles, Lefew, and Lavatch are all stock comic characters (the Braggart, the Doddering Old courtier, and the Fool); and the King is the King. But Bertram is the hinge upon which this world turns (or the seam at which it unravels): male youth. There’s a lot of pressure upon Bertram to be the honourable son of an honourable father. As he understands it, honour means warfare, the path of Mars, not Venus. As Bertram, Sam Crane does a great job of internalizing that pressure, quite literally quaking (in fear? anger? anxiety?) when the King insists that he marry Helena. During Bertram and Helena’s goodbye kiss, Bertram is likewise split between desires: the kiss is more than perfunctory, and he stares after Helena long after she has left the stage.

Left to its own devices, the main plot still risks faltering on the rocks of historical misunderstanding (what’s it like to come of age in the Renaissance?). Enter Paroles. I felt sorry for James Garnon’s character, perhaps because of his “expressive eyes” (as the woman to my left commented). While he is a hilarious figure of fun, he is also earnest: Paroles doesn’t wish to harm anyone (even Helena), merely to make his say in the world. To him, Bertram’s choice to run away to war is a necessary sacrifice. Honour doesn’t come from marriage, and society demands honour.

Fortunately, Paroles and Bertram turn out to be mistaken. Less fortunately, the King remains in error, offering Diana her choice of husband at the play’s end. The system of honour that the King maintains is deeply flawed, forcing men such as Bertram to. Make impossible decisions. Today, honour is a defunct concept. The Globe Theatre, with its insistence on historical preservation, does an admirable job of recovering that system of honour.

Of all the Bertram’s I have seen, I hated this one the least.

(Characters, not actors, of course.)

Doctor Faustus
The Globe Theatre
June 26, 2011, 6:30 pm

Christopher Marlowe might have become the greatest writer of blank verse, greater than Shakespeare, if he hadn’t gotten himself stabbed in head in a bar fight. Or for being a spy. Or both? As it is, Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus has some exquisite lines, and the vision of damnation is harrowing. The character development….not so much. The “A text” of Doctor Faustus was printed a few years after Marlowe’s death. The “B Text,” which the Globe used, was printed a good two decades after Marlowe’s bartime demise, and while the verse passages are largely the same, the comic verse scenes are expanded beyond belief (and perhaps, beyond relief). To perform the B Text, a theatre needs an engaging Faustus and Mephistopheles, but it also needs spectacle, spectacle, spectacle.

Paul Hilton makes a superb Faustus, amping up the depraved delights of Faustus and his final horror of damnation (the counterpoint to his earlier, gleeful “Hell’s a fable!”). I was delightfully surprised to find that Arthur Davill (Rory from Doctor Who) is playing Mephistopheles: not exactly my idea of a devilish man, but he carries it off well. Davill presents a Mephistopheles who is all Machiavellian surface to Faustus: even when he admits that “This is hell, nor am I out of it,” he does so not as an admission of pain or weakness but as a sadistic gesture, grasping Faustus’ hand and sharing the torments of hell through some sort of revere empathy. When Faustus turns his back, however, Davill’s Mephistopheles really shines (or glowers): the raw desire Mephistopheles feels for Faustus’ soul is palpable, and I couldn’t help but root for this villain a bit.

As for spectacle: Faustus’ good and bad angels are a bit disappointing. I’ve seen much better halloween costumes of angels, and the stylized katana fights between good and evil are a bit too anime-inspired for the Globe. However, the pageant of the seven deadly sins is exemplary: the sins rise up out of trap doors in the stage, acrobats alternately sinister and laughable; Greed perched upon a pillar and rolled across the stage; Gluttony stumbled across the stage in an enormous fat suit, spilling and dribbling food on the audience; Wrath took on the bodies of four demons, each wielding two rapiers like some Renaissance Kali; Lechery inspired an orgiastic frenzy in the other devils that filled the thrust stage. Needless to say, the Sins emphasized the Groundling experience at the Globe: Wrath is a bit more sinister when one has to nearly duck beneath his rapiers.

A notable addition of the B Text: I’m used to Faustus’ final soliloquy in the A Text (printed in the Norton Anthology of British Lit). There, Faustus struggles to repent while continuing to cling to his magic, futilely conjuring the elements to protect him from the Devil. In the Globe production, Mehistopheles interrupts Faustus’ soliloquy to gloat: Faustus’ damnation is Mephistopheles’ victory. The devils emerge from a yawning, smoke filled portal, tiny puppets of tormented souls in their hands (half comic, half disturbing), trailed by a leather-decked, whip-wielding Beelzebub. The devils carry out Faustus lifting him high in their hands, and Mephistopheles beams with pleasure. The stage is empty, save an old Satan, who wears the stained armor of a good angel. Throughout the play he has leaned upon other devils, barely standing. Now he stands alone. Devils approach him, carrying a pair of massive white wings, which they unfold and hold up to his back. Satan earns the wings that Faustus aspired to.

/shiver

And then, in Globe Theatre style, the play ends in a dance filled with the puppets of the damned, megaphones projecting howls and chants, and a dueling lyres between Faustus and Mephistopheles. The Globe knows how to put the “spectacle” in spectacular.

Warhorse
New London Theatre
June 25, 2011, 7:30pm

A ecocritical, animal-centric tale of the first World War that follows the life of a horse and weighs the suffering of man and beast, English, French, and German equally. When I read the plot synopsis I laughed a bit, astounded at the amount of overbearing political correctness such a plot must contain. Surely one can’t represent suffering across nationalist and speciesist divides without overburdening the play. And with puppets!!!

I couldn’t have been more mistaken. Warhorse is the single most moving piece of theatre I’ve seen all year, both emotionally and intellectually thrilling.

The stylistic master note here is, of course, the puppetry. The two main horse protagonists in the piece, Joey and Topthorn, are each operated by three puppeteers. Although I feel that operate is the wrong term: played would be more accurate. One puppeteer for the front legs (heart), one for the back (hind), and one for the head (…head). The puppeteers are quite visible throughout the show, wearing simply period dress (1910s) that matches the color of their horse. In an early scene, Joey grows from a foal to an adult stallion: the foal is about as tall as the teenage boy Albert that cares for him, and all the puppeteers are visible beside the wood frame of the horse; when the stallion gallops onstage, the heart and hind puppeteers easily fit inside this warhorse whose shoulder stands as tall as any actor in the cast. Albert mounts Joey, and the subsequent victory lap around the stage (which on occasion revolves mid-stride) is sublime: a majestic animal made flesh out of wood, wire, and human creativity. When Joey neighs, his voice is not some synthetic recording: it is the combined voices of his three puppeteers. Just thinking of it gives me chills.

I heard one spectator complain after the show that the puppeteers were a distraction: that was not my experience. True, I occasionally mistook the “head” for an actor holding the halter of a horse, but at was generally only in moments when the horses were idle or the action onstage was chaotic with lots of human actors running about. When the horses were the center of attention, the puppeteers became a piece of the animal, the ghost in the machine, as it were. When a horse dies onstage, its puppeteers slowly stand and back away, the soul of the animal leaving the body.

Warhorse’s puppetry creates the terrifying as well as the sublime. The play stages several cavalry charges with Joey, Topthorn, and a few more static horses (with puppet riders). These charges embody so much of war: the majesty many wish to see in it; the dehumanization of war (while the horses feel fully embodied, the people-puppets seem less than human, intentionally so); and war’s ultimate futility. And while such a failed cavalry charge (against machine guns and trench warfare) is the climax of the first act, for me the climax of terror involves a tank. This puppet is merely the exposed skeleton of a tank frame that pivots on a central platform to imitate the shifting angles of the tank as it traverses the terrain of the battlefield. There are no visible guns. The tank is operated (the right word) by a half dozen or so puppeteers dressed in an anonymous black. They have become part of the machine. This is war. No guts or glory, only cogs.

Fortunately, this play is also about a boy’s love for his horse, and a horse’s love for his boy, and it opposes the terrors of war with the victories of spirit: human and animal.

The Rude Mechanicals presents Shakespeare’s Tempest

6 PERFORMANCES!

Opening night is Thursday June 2! The run is Thur-Sat June 2-4 and the next week June 9-11.

Music at 7pm, show at 7:30pm.  The Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=211874568843780

Free Admission.

Shakespeare’s last full-length play, approx. 90-100 minutes. Bring chairs or blankets for seating, also bring bug spray.

RAIN: performance will take place in the Allen Bales Theatre on the UA campus, in Rowand-Johnson Bldg, Stadium Drive off Marr’s Spring Rd.

The cast includes Deborah Parker (Prospero), Mark Hughes Cobb (Caliban), Abby Jones (Ariel), Ashley Kontos (Miranda), Rebecca Kling (Alonso), Wescott Youngson (Gonzalo), Jerrill Bowden (Ferdinand), Russ Frost (Stephano), Peyton Conley (Trinculo), Matt Lewis (Antonio), Nic Helms (Sebastian), Laurie Arizumi (Adrian), Jonathan Hinnen (Boatswain, Francisco), with original music by Mark Hughes Cobb. Directed by Steve Burch.

Poster by Paula Dennis.