George Bernard Shaw’s recipe for fun mixes smarts with silliness and adds just a dash of morality. Arms and the Man takes center stage at Seattle Shakespeare Company helmed by David Armstrong, former artistic director of the 5th Avenue Theatre.
“This is a really exciting project for Seattle Shakespeare Company,” said Artistic Director George Mount at the first rehearsal for Arms and the Man. “It’s our third show with Shaw, who is fast becoming a friend of the company, and I’m completely pleased and proud to welcome Allen Fitzpatrick and David Armstrong for their Seattle Shakes debuts.”
“One of my goals as I stepped down from 18 years at the 5th Avenue was to do some things I hadn’t had a chance to do in a long time. On the top of my list was to do a classic play,” remarked Arms and the Man Director David Armstrong. “I’ve always been drawn to Shaw. I think it’s the language, the big ideas, and the audaciousness. And I like audacious theatre. It’s why I like Shakespeare. It’s why I like musicals.”
One of George Bernard Shaw’s earliest successes, Arms and the Man is a comic send-up of the romantic notions of love and war. Raina Petkoff is young, beautiful, and filled with idealistic ideas about love. She’s all set to marry war hero Major Saranoff, but then the combat crashes through her window in the form a soldier fighting for the opposing side. Intrigued, Raina agrees to hide him, but only after learning he carries chocolates instead of bullets. After the war ends, both rival soldiers return for their love, and that’s when the real battle for Raina’s heart begins.
A frequent artist at Seattle Shakespeare Company, Brenda Joyner plays Raina Petkoff. Joyner last appeared in Bring Down the House and The Winter’s Tale. Sylvester Kamara plays Captain Bluntschli. Kamara recently appeared in Medea and Titus Andronicus. Major Saranoff will be played by Richard Sloniker who appeared last season in The Merchant of Venice. Joining them will be Allen Fitzpatrick (Major Petkoff), Suzy Hunt (Catherine Petkoff), Jonelle Jordan (Louka), and George Mount (Nicola).
The design team for Arms and the Man will invoke the rolling mountainous region of Bulgaria in the late 1880s.
Set design for the production is by Julia Hays Welch, costume design by Jocelyne Fowler, lighting design by Tristan Roberson, and sound design by Jay Weinland.
Tickets to Arms and the Man are available now through the Seattle Shakespeare Company Box Office at 206-733-8222 as well as online at www.seattleshakespeare.org.