Now I Am in Arden
Love and the possibility of change
As You Like It
Rosalind and Orlando engage in a glorious game of love, lust, and mistaken identities in a magical forest in Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Kelly Kitchens directs the production which runs April 23 through May 19 at the Center Theatre at Seattle Center.
“I am very much looking forward to the vision that Kelly has for this production. She’s been a friend and collaborator for many, many years,” said Seattle Shakespeare Company Artistic Director George Mount. “She knows this play quite well having performed the role that I’m playing. This is now the third role that Kelly and I have both shared.” Mount will play the character of Jacques in As You Like It. Kitchens previously played the role in a Wooden O production of As You Like It in 2015. Mount and Kitchens have also played Kate in The Taming of the Shrew and Saturninus Titus Andronicus in separate productions.
Kitchens has put a sharp delineation on the two worlds of As You Like It: The dangerous realm of the court and the world of “what if” in the forest of Arden. “The thing I’m most interested in exploring in this play is the pulsing, beating human heart and that sense of humor we all have,” said Kitchens. “And our ability for redemption and re-creation.”
In As You Like It, Rosalind seeks out her exiled parent by escaping from an oppressive court, disguised as a boy. She flees with her cousin and a clown to the Forest of Arden. The woods offer not only freedom, but also a motley crew of characters and the chance to experience life and love with a fellow outcast, Orlando, from a whole new perspective.
Kitchens has restructured scenes in the play. “One of the things I really want to do is pressure cooker us into Arden, and make that journey urgent and necessary. The two spaces (Court and Arden) really need to talk to each other because most of these people will end up returning to court,” said Kitchens. She and her design team will create a stage world inspired by current fashion and wintery landscapes.
Jonelle Jordan and Quinlan Corbett will play Rosalind and Orlando. They are joined Peter Crook as Duke Frederick/Corin, Bobbi Kotula as Duke Senior, Sunam Ellis as Celia, and Rebecca M. Davis as Touchstone. Set design for the production is by Julia Hayes Welch, costume design by Chelsea Cook, lighting design by Thorn Michaels, sound design by Rob Witmer, and original music by Tim Symons and Leslie Wisdom.
The Crossroads of Love, Power, War, and Forgiveness
Characters at the crossroads of love, power, war, or forgiveness populate Seattle Shakespeare Company’s upcoming season just announced by Artistic Director George Mount. Plans for the company’s 2019-2020 season include The Tempest, The Rivals, Troilus and Cressida, and Macbeth. “Each of these plays in their own way has a moment when it comes down to a singular choice,” said Mount. “The course of the action is set by that defining decision out of which things will never be the same.”
In the spring of 2019 Seattle Shakespeare Company will tour 90-minute, small cast productions of Hamlet (a bilingual English/Spanish adaptation) and Romeo and Juliet to schools and venues across Washington State.
Seattle Shakespeare Company’s indoor season has been shortened from five to four mainstage productions for the 2019-2020 season. “As a theatre company without a permanent home, we have to rely on and negotiate with organizations that have stages. While we made every effort to try to secure a fifth venue for this season, we just were not able to make it happen,” said Managing Director John Bradshaw. “Either space wasn’t available at the times that we needed to produce, wasn’t suitable to our needs, or venues weren’t able to commit.” Seattle Shakespeare Company has produced a 5-play indoor season since 2014. All plays in the 2019-2020 indoor season will perform at the Center Theatre at Seattle Center.
“To accompany the four play mainstage season, I’m working on lining up three one-person shows from national/internationally renowned Shakespeare performers who will give their unique and personal perspectives on performing and living with Shakespeare,” said Mount. Artists, dates, and venues for the series will be announced at a later date.
Seattle Shakespeare Company will launch their new season with The Tempest directed by Annie Lareau, co-artistic director at Seattle Public Theater. “Personally, The Tempest is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays,” said Mount. “Every time I see it, or work on it, or read it, I get hopeful about people and our power to change and let go of what may be holding us back.” The Tempest will perform October 15 – November 10, 2019.
Mount will direct the 18th century comedy The Rivals by Richard Brinsley Sheridan January 7- February 2, 2020. “The Rivals is a celebration of wit and language,” said Mount. “Goofy characters skewer romantic expectations in an utterly charming way. Audiences will see shades of As You Like It and The Merry Wives of Windsor in the play, as well as see the roots of Oscar Wilde and Shaw. I’m really looking forward to getting silly with Sheridan’s broad characters and circumstances.”
John Langs, artistic director at ACT Theatre, returns to Seattle Shakespeare Company to stage Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida. “This is going to be a play that most people aren’t familiar with or haven’t seen, but it’s one that Langs has wanted to do for some time,” said Mount. “This is an anti-war war play, and an unromantic romance wrapped up in a chunk of time out of Homer’s The Illiad. The thorniness of this play is so intriguing, and, in the hands of John Langs, I know it will be an event worth seeing.” Troilus and Cressida will perform March 17-April 12, 2020.
“2020 is going to be a very fraught, political year,” said Mount. “Misplaced ambition and the price of power exact a heavy toll in this play. Desdemona Chiang has knocked it out of the park for us with her stagings of Measure for Measure and The Merchant of Venice. While I don’t think her view of Macbeth will be overtly political, it will be a timely and worthy look at the consequences of abusing power for personal gain. And hopefully scary.” Macbeth will play April 21-May 17, 2020.
The largest audiences for Seattle Shakespeare Company are the more than 16,000 students who get to experience one of the company’s touring productions. Seattle Shakespeare Company’s touring program crisscrosses the state with two 90-minute, 6-actor shows that bring Shakespeare to communities that don’t often see professional productions. During the spring of 2020 Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet will tour to schools and venues from Pullman to Wenatchee to Port Angeles.
Season ticket packages will go on sale April 23 and range from $88 to $176 for all four indoor productions.
Mistaken identities, romantic entanglements, mischief-makers, and clowns, it’s easy to see hints of Shakespeare in Goldsmith’s raucous 18th Century hit She Stoops to Conquer, but you may not know the backstory to this play that some consider the savior of the English stage.
- City vs. countryside, men vs. women, rich vs. poor. She Stoops to Conquer is filled polarities and Goldsmith uses them to create comic opposition.
- Legend has it that the play was inspired by true events. Goldsmith was tricked into thinking that a friend’s country home was local inn. He didn’t realize the error until he asked for the bill the next morning!
- You can see Shakespeare’s influence (especially from the play Twelfth Night) in She Stoops to Conquer. Kate Hardcastle shares Viola’s cleverness and determination (and her penchant for disguises). Trickster Tony Lumpkin takes his playbook from the clown Feste.
- She Stoops to Conquer came along as the Industrial Revolution brought huge changes to England. City life took center stage and the old country traditions were threatened. The play comically reflected all the upheaval people were experiencing both socially and economically.
- Did you know there were joke books in the 18th century? They were called “jestbooks” and Goldsmith modeled their fast-paced dialogue and ludicrous events when writing She Stoops to Conquer.
- The play created a fundamental change in the theatrical repertory of the 18th century. She Stoops to Conquer was an antidote to the insipid Sentimental Comedies of the time with its fresh witticisms and new view of what comedy could be.
- Actors were initially reluctant to be associated with the “low” characters of Tony Lumpkin or Kate who likes being a barmaid. But by opening night of She Stoops to Conquer, the leading ladies were bickering over who got to speak the Epilogue!
- Goldsmith waffled back and forth on the title for the play. Originally called Mistakes of a Night, he changed the title at the opening night curtain to the more intriguing She Stoops to Conquer.
- She Stoops to Conquer was so popular that it became fashionable to bring the script to read along at performances and shout the jokes with the actors on stage.
- She Stoops to Conquer was the crowning achievement in Goldsmith’s all too short career. While had attained the public acclaim he desired, Goldsmith died at age 45, a year after the play opened.
Directed by Makaela Pollock, this new production of Oliver Goldsmith’s 18th century comedy of manners begins performances March 19 in the Center Theatre.
Featuring five original songs and a live band on stage, our She Stoops to Conquer recreates the comic spirit of the original, but gives the play a new spin for contemporary audiences.
Filled with pranks and hijinks, the play’s brilliantly comic characters deliver belly-laughs by the handful and wraps up with one of the cleverest cross matches in theatre.
The cast of 11 features Shanna Allman (Kate), Julie Briskman (Mrs. Hardcastle), Karen Jo Fairbrook (Stino/Madam Marlow), Basil Harris (Tony Lumpkin), Harry Todd Jamieson (Musician), Lamar Legend (Hastings), Jocelyn Maher (Constance), Evan Mosher (Musician), MJ Sieber (Marlow), Steven Tran (Musician), and R. Hamilton Wright (Mr. Hardcastle).