Suffolk University and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre Present Mortal Terror
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by BWW News Desk
Suffolk University and Boston Playwrights' Theatre present Robert Brustein's Mortal Terror, directed by Daniela Varon from September 15 through October 2 at the Modern Theatre at Suffolk University, 525 Washington Street, Boston. The production will be available for press viewing on Saturday, September 17 at 8pm.
Playwright Robert Brustein brings the spirit of William Shakespeare back to the stage with his imaginative story of political upheaval set during the ignition of the Gunpowder Plot. In 1605, William Shakespeare, trapped by political intrigue, violence and betrayal, is persuaded by King James to create a play that justifies the new king's right to the English throne and his idiotic belief in witches. Torn between his commitment to his art and his need to placate the king, Shakespeare creates one of his greatest works-Macbeth-meanwhile contemplating an affair with the King's young dissatisfied wife.
Mortal Terror is the second in a trilogy of plays about the life and work of Shakespeare by Robert Brustein, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Suffolk University. The first installment, The English Channel, focusing on Shakespeare's affair with the Dark Lady, Emilia Lanier, was produced at the Abingdon Theatre in 2009, where it was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. The third part of the trilogy, The Last Will, about Shakespeare's return to Stratford Upon Avon towards the end of his life, will be produced by the Abingdon in New York in the Fall of 2012.
The company of Mortal Terror includes Stafford Clark-Price as William Shakespeare, joined by Dafydd ap Rees as Sir John Harington, Michael Hammond as King James, Jeremiah Kissel as Ben Johnson, John Kuntz as Marston/Guy Fawkes, Georgia Lyman as Queen Anne, and Christopher James Webb as Catesby.
SPECIAL PANEL DISCUSSION
A special panel discussion on the future of Shakespeare productions in America will be held preceding the Friday, September 23rd performance of Mortal Terror, with panelists Robert Brustein, Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of The Public Theatre in New York, and Jenny Gersten, the newly appointed Artistic Director of Williamstown Theatre Festival. The panel discussion will begin at 6pm at the Modern Theatre at Suffolk University, 525 Washington Street, Boston. (Free with ticket to Mortal Terror or Suffolk University ID.)
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM
Robert Brustein (Playwright) is a recipient of the 2010 National Medal of Arts and Founding Director of the Yale Repertory Theatre and American Repertory Theatre. He served for 20 years as Director of the Loeb Drama Center where he also founded the ART Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard. Mr. Brustein retired from the A.R.T. position in 2002 and now serves as Founding Director.
Robert Brustein is the author of 17 books on theatre and society including The Theatre of Revolt, Making Scenes (a memoir of his Yale years), Reimagining American Theatre, The Third Theatre, Revolution as Theatre, Who Needs Theatre, Dumbocracy in America, Cultural Calisthenics, The Siege of the Arts, Letters to a Young Actor, Millennial Stages, The Tainted Muse, and his latest, Rants and Raves. He has also written extensively on Shakespeare. His book, The Tainted Muse: Prejudices and Presumptions in Shakespeare and His Age, was published in 2009. He has supervised well over 200 productions, acting in eight and directing twelve, including his own adaptations of The Father, Ghosts, The Changeling and the trilogy of Pirandello works: Six Characters in Search of an Author, Right You Are (If You Think You Are) and Tonight We Improvise. His Six Characters in Search of an Author won the Boston Theatre Award for Best Production of 1996.
He has written eleven adaptations for The American Repertory Theatre, including his Klezmer musical, Shlemiel the First, The Wild Duck, The Master Builder, When We Dead Awaken (directed by Robert Wilson), Three Farces and a Funeral, Enrico IV, and his final production at the ART, Lysistrata.. Shlemiel the First was recently produced at Theatre J in Washington, D.C. and then at the Montclair Meadowbrook Festival in 2010. It will be staged in New York at Theatre For a New Audience in December. In 2009, he conceived and created a presentation for the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, featuring F. Murray Abraham, Brooke Adams, and Tony Shalhoub, in Nashville called Doctor Hippocrates is Out: Please Leave a Message.
Daniela Varon (Director) is a New York-based director and acting teacher and a longtime member of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA. Her work has been seen in New York at Abingdon Theatre Company, Blue Heron Arts Center, Culture Project, Ensemble Studio Theater, HERE, Joe's Pub, Lincoln Center Theater Directors' Lab, the Public, 78th Street Theatre Lab, T.W.E.E.D., and the Vineyard Playhouse, among others. Regional credits include Boston Playwrights' Theatre, Connecticut Repertory, LA Women's Shakespeare Company, Nora Theatre Company, and the Vineyard Playhouse, among many others. She has developed new work at the American Repertory Theater, Cherry Lane, A.C.T. Seattle, Crossroads, Hartford Stage, Immigrant Theater Project, National New Play Network, New Dramatists, New Georges, Performance Network, Playwrights Horizons, the Public, Transport Group, and Voice & Vision.
Ms. Varon is co-producer, director and moderator of the series Conversations with Shakespeare, which played three seasons at Symphony Space and is in development for public radio. She was co-founder and Associate Director of The Company of Women. She is a Shakespeare specialist with Lincoln Center Theater's Open Stages, a founding member of the Linklater Center for Voice and Language, a Usual Suspect at New York Theater Workshop, and a Drama League Fellow.
Recent productions include Romeo and Juliet and Sea Marks at Shakespeare & Company, and Jodi Rothe's Martha Mitchell Calling at the Nora Theatre Company in Cambridge. She directed the NY premiere of Robert Brustein's The English Channel at the Abingdon Theatre, and has had the great joy and privilege of working with Mr. Brustein in developing his Shakespeare trilogy in readings in Boston, Cambridge, New York, and Martha's Vineyard.
ABOUT THE CAST
Dafydd ap Rees (Sir John Harington) Theatre: Entertaining Mr. Sloane (Elliot Norton Award Outstanding Production by a Small Company); Humble Boy, Travesties, The Seagull, Hay Fever (Publick Theatre); Breaking The Code (Underground Railway Theater/Catalyst Collaborative@MIT); The Importance Of Being Earnest, 1776 (Lyric Stage); Gagarin Way, Talking To Terrorists (IRNE Nomination Best Supporting Actor - Small Company, Súgán Theatre Company); The Mousetrap (Stoneham Theatre); Noises Off, Shining City, Public Jokes, Private Places, The Homecoming, Closer (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre). Film: Noelle. Radio: The Case Of The Four Little Beatles (Cape Cod Radio Mystery Theatre). Dafydd is also the author of some 30 books on rock music, and currently working on the Rock Diary series available on most e-book platforms.
Stafford Clark-Price (William Shakespeare) Off-Broadway: William Shakespeare in The English Channel (Abingdon Theatre) also by Mr. Brustein; Robert Graves in The Oxford Roof Climber's Rebellion (Urban Stages); Regional: Jan in Rock 'N' Roll (Studio Theater, DC); Claudio in Measure for Measure (Denver Center); Charlie in Mary's Wedding (Delaware Theater Company); Orsino in Twelfth Night (Arizona Theater Company); Laertes in Hamlet (Geva Theatre); productions with the Orlando Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Arkansas Rep., The Magic Theatre (San Francisco), and Southwest Shakespeare Company as well as narrating numerous books for Recorded Books Inc. Training: MFA from The American Conservatory Theatre. Love to Daniela, Bob and Erin for letting me do this play. Proud Equity member and even prouder cancer survivor.
Michael Hammond (King James) appeared recently in Boston in the Huntington Theatre's productions of Circle Mirror Transformation and Prelude to a Kiss. Broadway credits include Exit the King, Big Bill, Long Day's Journey Into Night, M. Butterfly and Search and Destroy. He spent fifteen seasons with Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA as an actor, director and faculty member. Roles there have included Iago in Othello, Mister Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Porter in Macbeth, Prospero in The Tempest, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, and Leontes in The Winter's Tale. Directing credits include Shakespeare & Company's productions of Antony and Cleopatra, The Vienna Project, and A Tanglewood Tale; Girl's War and Scenes from a Bordello at Boston Playwrights' Theatre.
Jeremiah Kissel (Ben Jonson) has previously appeared in Robert Brustein's The Last Will, read at The Vineyard Playhouse with Tony Shaloub and Three Farces and A Funeral on the ART mainstage, and as a staged reading featuring Alan Alda. Over the past thirty years he has been featured at The Huntington, ART, The Lyric, New Rep, MRT, and other area stages, including Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops and the basement of The Charles Playhouse in Shear Madness. He is the recipient of several Elliot Norton and IRNE awards, and in 2003 was given Boston's top theater honor, the Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence.
John Kuntz (Marston/Guy Fawkes) is a founding company member of Actors' Shakespeare Project. Recent Boston credits: Heisenberg in Copenhagen, Communist Dracula Pageant (ART); Janet/Frick in After School Special (which he also wrote), the title role in Mr. Marmalade (Company One); The SantaLand Diaries (IRNE Award - Best Solo Performance); Katurian in The Pillowman, Estragon in Waiting for Godot, the title role in Scapin, Austin in True West, the Emcee in Cabaret (New Repertory Theatre); Aston in The Caretaker, 20 roles in How I Got That Story, Mere Mortals (Nora Theatre); Jane/Lord Edgar in The Mystery of Irma Vep, Carl in The Baltimore Waltz, Nathan Leopold in Never the Sinner, 40 roles in Fully Committed (Lyric Stage); Voice #1 in Betty's Summer Vacation (Huntington); three seasons with Commonwealth Shakespeare including Henry V, 12th Night and Hamlet. John has written 14 full-length plays, including three Elliot Norton Award winners Sing Me to Sleep, Freaks and Starfuckers (also a New York International Fringe Festival Award winner).
Georgia Lyman (Queen Anne) was most recently seen as Molly in Orfeo Group's Love Song. Previous credits include John Kuntz's Hotel Nepenthe (Actors' Shakespeare Project); the Seamstress in after life: A Ghost Story (New Rep); The Real Inspector Hound (Publick Theater); Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Clea in The Scene (Lyric Stage); Helena Charles in Look Back in Anger (Orfeo Group, Best Fringe Production); MaraLynn Doddson in White People (New Rep Downstage); and Crystal Allen in The Women (Speakeasy Stage). She has received three consecutive nominations for the Elliot Norton Best Actress Award. A core member of Orfeo Group, she co-produced the award winning The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) last summer. Her film and TV credits include three seasons as Cassie Giggs on Showtime's Brotherhood and a current recurring role on Law & Order: SVU, as well as The Town, Bride Wars, My Best Friends Girl, The Mulberry Tree, and The Women.
Christopher James Webb (Catesby) is making his Boston Playwrights' Theatre debut with Mortal Terror. Boston credits include: The Understudy (Lyric Stage); Gaslight (Stoneham Theatre); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Actors' Shakespeare Project); Picasso at the Lapin Agile (New Rep); Angels in America (Boston Theatre Works); As Bees in Honey Drown and Complete Works of Shakespeare, Abridged (Foothills Theatre); and A Tall Order, Headbanger, Ritz Rendezvous, and The Trophy (Boston Theater Marathon). Regional credits include New World Repertory Theatre, Starving Artists Theatre Company, Borealis Theatre Company, and the Denver Center Theatre Company. Film credits include: Shutter Island, Wardogs, Meat Me In Plainville, Hands of the Nocturnal Clock, Weight, Meet the Mayfarers, and Bad Guy Guide. Directing credits include productions for The Boston Conservatory, New Repertory Theatre, New Rep on Tour, The Peterborough Players, Foothills Theatre, Worcester State University, GAN-e-meed Theatre Project, and the Boston Theater Marathon. He is a member of the Acting faculty at the Boston Conservatory, and holds a MFA in Acting from The National Theatre Conservatory.
About Suffolk University
Suffolk University, located in historic downtown Boston, with an international campus in Madrid, is a comprehensive global institution distinguished by the teaching and the intellectual contributions of its faculty. Suffolk University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in more than 90 areas of study. Its mission is to provide access to excellence in higher education to students of all ages and backgrounds, with strong emphasis on diversity.
About Boston Playwrights' Theatre
Founded in 1981 at Boston University by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, Boston Playwrights' Theatre is an award-winning professional theatre dedicated to new works. At the core of our five programs is the Playwriting MFA offered as part of Boston University's prestigious Creative Writing Program. Our award-winning alumni have been produced in Regional and New York houses as well as in London's West End, and our alumni productions have garnered many regional and Boston awards, including 11 IRNE Awards for "Best New Script" and four Boston Critics' Association Elliot Norton Awards.
$40/General Admission - $25/Seniors (62+) - $10/Students (with valid ID)