Summer of Shakespeare

Jun. 17, 2009
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 When William Shakespeare’s work debuted in England in the late 16th century, it’s safe to say that it probably wasn’t popular in Wisconsin. Neither was the English language. The only people living here at the time were the Oneota and though little is known about them, it seems highly unlikely that they would’ve launched productions of Hamlet, Merchant of Venice or . . . anything else for that matter. It was a different culture. It was a different time.

Half a millennium later, Shakespeare’s work is quite popular in the state west of Lake Michigan as witnessed by a summer in which no less than 7 of his 39 plays (or roughly 18% of his total surviving work for the stage) will be presented in various places in Wisconsin. Here’s a quick list:

Twins In The Woods:

The American Players Theatre has already started its season with a production of one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays—The Comedy of Errors. It’s the tale of two pairs of men who were not aware that they had twins. The celver bit here is that Both Andrew and Marcus Truschinski will be playing Anipholus of Ephesus and Syracuse, respectively. Actual brothers, as I understand it . . .

APT’s production of  The Comedy of Errors runs now through October 4th

The Prince of Denmark By The Shores of Lake Michigan:

Loose Canon’s Hamlet should be a particularly intimate staging of the classic tragedy June 19th – 27th  at the Marian Center for the Non-Profits on South Superior Street. All shows are at 7pm.. 


Tragedy in a Post-Modern Frame:

BERZERK!!!—The King Lear Edition with Insurgent Theatre:
Insurgent Theatre presents a deconstruction of the classic tragedy that focuses rather heavily (okay—almost exclusively) on the fifth act, which appears in the program four consecutive times, (a couple of which have even been written by Shakespeare.) 

Insurgent Theatre’s production of LEARZERK!!! Runs for one performance only this coming Saturday, June 20th at 8pm at the Alchemist Theatre.
Interested parties should probably reserve tickets . . . SOON.

At last count, there were only 11 seats left for the show.


Close, Dark Romantic Comedy:

Carte Blanche Studios will be presenting its production of one of Shakespeare’s most popular lighthearted romantic comedies. June 25th through July 7th. All shows are at 7pm except for the Sunday shows, which run at 3pm. Carte Blanche’s Jimmy Dragolovich directs a production that plays-up on the darker side of the comedy. On 1024 South 5th Street.

Sicilia and Bohemia in Spring Green:

The American Players Theatre has already opensits production of Shakespeare’s classic romance next week. David Daniel stars as Leontes, King of Sicilia, who asks his wife (Queen Hermoine, played by Colleen Madden) to convince the visitning king of Bohemia (Matt Schwader) to stay a little longer. When it becomes apparent that Hermoine is pregnant, Leontes becomes suspicious . . . 

APT’s The Winter’s Tale runs June 25th through September 26th.

A Pound of Flesh in Bailey’s Harbor:

A moneylender requests  particularly harsh payback as Door Shakespeare presents its production of The Merchant of Venice July 27th through August 16th The show features a cast professional cast including Sean Dooley, Matthew Ecclestone, Amy Ensign, Suzanne Graff, Michael Sander, Steve O'Toole.


A War With France West of Madison:

One of the final production to open with the American Players Theatre this season, Henry V had recently been staged closer to home with a production of Quasi Theatre. The production there was a pretty solid conclusion to an annual sequential production series of the Henriad in Milwaukee. Taken out of that context with solid production values on the APT’s outdoor stage, this should be an interesting way to end the summer season . . .

APT’s production of Henry V runs August 15th through October 5th


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