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Royal Shakespeare Company

What Country Friends Is This?

Four of Shakespeare's plays center on characters cast into a foreign land, and as part of the World Shakespeare Festival, the Royal Shakespeare Company is tackling all four, three in repertoire.

Led by RSC Associate Director David Farr, one ensemble company of RSC actors will stage The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, and The Tempest at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and in a one-month residency at the Roundhouse in London. RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd will stage a site-specific production of Pericles, recreating Shakespeare's tale of journeying through the Eastern Mediterranean in promenade production at the Roundhouse.

The three productions in Stratford explore migration, exile, shipwreck, and the discovery of brave new worlds. Comedy of Errors is one of Shakespeare's earliest plays; The Tempest, one of his last; and Twelfth Night comes in the middle of his chronological canon, indicating how he returned to these themes of migration and strangers in strange lands. “While each production can be enjoyed on its own, seen together they are an epic trilogy by the world's greatest dramatist, exploring issues that are as relevant today as they were 400 years ago,” says the RSC program notes.

Farr will direct Twelfth Night and The Tempest, with Jonathan Slinger cast as, respectively, Malvolio and Prospero. Amir Nizar Zuabi, founder of the Palestinian theater company ShiberHur, will direct the Comedy of Errors. The three plays run from March through May, 2012, then move to the Roundhouse for June, then back to Stratford from July into October.

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October 2, 2011


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