The American Shakespeare Center’s 2012/13 Tempt Me Further Tour has returned to Staunton to perform the three titles in the Blackfriars Playhouse 2013 Spring Season. Beginning April 10, the troupe performs William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, and Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost in rotating repertory.
Twelfth Night, one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, fills the Blackfriars Playhouse with music, laughter, and a bad case of mistaken identity. Directed by John Basil (producing director of the American Globe Theatre in New York City), this production features ASC veteran Rick Blunt as the comically conniving Sir Toby Belch. Sublime and subversive, Twelfth Night breaks rules and bends gender to show love in all its guises and disguises.
Next, John Webster’s brutal and astonishing tragedy The Duchess of Malfi explores sibling relationships gone off the rails. The play investigates the meaning of love, family, class, madness, and desire on a roller-coaster ride that audiences won’t soon forget. Eric Minton of Shakespeareances.com writes “I unequivocally consider [this] production of the play….a theatrical tour de force.”
Finally, the troupe performs Love’s Labour’s Lost. Written around the same time as Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this popular romantic comedy is one of Shakespeare’s most exuberant wordfests – a joyful carnival of love, loss and hope. Featuring a plethora of Top 40 pop love songs during the pre-show and interlude (including songs by One Direction, Smoky Robinson, ‘NSync, and The Supremes), audiences will be tapping their toes and falling head-over-heels for the irresistibly charming characters.
ASC Co-Founder and Artistic Director Jim Warren directs both The Duchess of Malfi and Love’s Labour’s Lost. “It is a thrill for me to direct some of the best actors in the country in these plays and I know it is a joy for audiences to come see the same actor play wildly diverse roles in each of the plays,” says Warren. “On Friday, you can see an actor play the witty and wise maid Maria in Twelfth Night and on Saturday, see her play both a reluctant noble lover and a flirtatious country maid in Love’s Labour’s Lost at the matinee, and a calculating seductress in The Duchess of Malfi after dinner. Rotating repertory is wicked good.”
Patrons may Pay What You Will on April 10, 11, and 12 at the Opening Night performances of all three shows. Patrons who attend the April 12 Pay What You Will Opening Night of Love’s Labour’s Lost are invited to join ASC Actors and Staff in the Cutaia Lounge at the Blackfriars Playhouse for the Spring Season Opening Night Celebration. Tickets to the Blackfriars Playhouse start at $25 and can be purchased by calling 1.877.Much.Ado (1.877.682.4236) or visiting the ASC website.
The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA, recovers the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. The ASC’s Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, is open year-round for productions of classic plays, which have been hailed by The Washington Post as “shamelessly entertaining” and by The Boston Globe as “phenomenal…bursting with energy.” Founded in 1988 as Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the organization became the American Shakespeare Center in 2005 and can be found online at www.americanshakespearecenter.com.