Having completed the Shakespeare canon with its current season, the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Va., is reaching for a new plateau for the upcoming 2014–2015 Artistic Year, expanding to 17 plays in five rotating repertory seasons, six of them Blackfriars Playhouse premieres.
The calendar includes six William Shakespeare plays: Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors, Pericles, The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing, and Hamlet. Shakespeare's contemporaries account for five other scheduled plays: Edward II and Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe; The White Devil by John Webster; Every Man in His Humour by Ben Jonson; and Mother Bombie by John Lyly. Also on tap is the Restoration comedy The Rover by one of England’s first female playwrights Aphra Behn, the French masterpiece Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmund Rostand in a translation by Anthony Burgess, and Wittenberg, a modern play by David Davalos featuring Hamlet, Doctor Faustus, and Martin Luther as characters. The holiday season will reprise in its entirety: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris, and The Twelve Dates of Christmas by former ASC actress Ginna Hoben.
“Our patrons can see more Shakespeare and early modern plays right here in Virginia than anywhere else on the planet,” ASC Artistic Director Jim Warren said in the announcement of the upcoming Artistic Year. “In the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, we perform 52 weeks a year in true repertory using Shakespeare’s staging conditions that bring out the fun, excitement, and heartbreak in some of the greatest plays in the English language.”
The addition of a 17th title will come in the Blackfriars' spring season, April 8–June 14, when the ASC's Method in Madness Tour troupe takes up residence after more than six months on the road and Wittenberg will join its touring productions of Hamlet, Doctor Faustus, and Much Ado about Nothing for that residency.
The summer season kicks off in June with Macbeth, Cyrano de Bergerac, and The Comedy of Errors. In the fall, Edward II and Pericles join the repertory. The Actors' Renaissance Season, in which the company of actors uses Shakespeare's original production process of staging each play with about a week's worth of rehearsals and without a director or costume designer, runs from Jan. 2 to April 5 and will feature The Taming of the Shrew, The Rover, The White Devil, Every Man in His Humour, and Mother Bombie.
January 27, 2014