Friday, January 7, 2011

RSC in Repertory

By Jack Simony

I've been meaning to write for a while about this, so when a dear friend called this morning about this very matter, it gave me the impetus to up and do it:
This friend and I have been planning for ages to fly to England for a long weekend and go on a long Shakespeare tour, taking in as many productions -- both in London and at Shakespeare's home town of Stratford-on-Avon -- as possible.  It seems, though, that the Royal Shakespeare Company has decided to bring the productions to us instead.
From the NY Times article about it:
“King Lear” and “Antony and Cleopatra,” two Shakespeare plays that are not frequently produced in New York City, will be among the five productions that the Royal Shakespeare Company will mount in next summer’s Lincoln Center Festival, the organizers announced on Monday.
The other plays will be “As You Like It,” “Romeo and Juliet” (directed by Rupert Goold of “Enron”) and “The Winter’s Tale.”
Actors in the company’s 44-member ensemble will play various roles in the productions, with 7 to 10 performances scheduled for each show. The entire run, July 6-Aug. 14, will be held at the Park Avenue Armory on a thrust stage (with seats on three sides) that the Royal Shakespeare Company is now building to the specifications of its Courtyard Theater in Stratford-Upon-Avon. All five plays are now running at the company’s home base in England.
OK, it's a rather tragedy-heavy line up.  Three tragedies, a comedy, and a Romance (and this particular Romance is split right down the middle -- the first half is straight-up tragedy, while the second half is full-blown comedy).  I admit to preferring slightly lighter fare for my summer Shakespeare, but for whatever reason, the folks at the RSC and Lincoln Center didn't call Jack Simony to ask for his opinion.  Regardless, it will be a memorable experience to see the same fine actors tackling very varied roles over the span of only a few weeks.  I don't know about you, but my friend and I will be buying tickets to all five performances.  Stay tuned -- I know I'll have more to comment on the subject between now and then (as well as about each play in the line up)...and I'll have plenty to write once I've seen the plays.

-By Jack Simony

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