Assistant Director Will Bishop on “An Actor Prepares”

What does Assistant Director Will Bishop have to say about “An Actor Prepares?”

Learn more about the show here!

preview for spring quarter

Music Director Thomas Moore discusses Reefer Madness!

Emmett Rensin, Reefer Madness Dramaturg, tells us why weed is illegal.

Why is it a crime to take a toke? Why do the police hate the pipe? What cause
explains the restrictions on reefer? In short: why does The Man hate Marijuana?

As we prepare to answer all of these questions and more in our upcoming
production of Reefer Madness, we felt it was important to explain a little of this
country’s history. What follows is the true account – ripped, sometimes literally,
from the headlines – of why our beloved verdant vocation is verboten:

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Orsino, Feste and Viola on “Twelfth Night”

Graham Albachten (Orsino), Ted Gold (Feste) and Erin Kelsey (Viola) discuss their journey with “Twelfth Night,” running this week.

Dramaturg Jesse Roth on our 40s-Inspired “Twelfth Night”

Twelfth Night, or What you Will was likely written in 1601-1602 as entertainment for 12th night at court—the end of the Christmas season. There is a record of it being performed by the Lord Chamberlain’s men at Queen Elizabeth’s court on February 2nd 1602 (410 years ago).Twelfth Night is believed to have been written after As You Like It, but before Hamlet.

Twelfth Night was written and performed within the context of The War of the Poets. Starting in 1596-97, several popular playwrights of the day—primarily Jonson, Marston, and Decker—engaged in a war of poets. In this friendly and even mercenary war, they began to satirize each other’s works and styles in a series of plays. Marston, Decker, and Shakespeare satirized Jonson’s style of “Comedies of Humour,” While Jonson satirized the other playwrights’ Romantic Comedies. Jonson’s “Comedies of Humour” were plays in which each one of the major characters is epitomized by one of the “Humours” (Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic, and Phlegmatic). Stylistically, these plays followed the Aristotelian unities of time, place, and action (unlike Shakespeare’s romantic comedies). Thematically, these plays often didactically espoused morality and condemned indulgence. Finally, they tended to be city plays—set in London or London thinly veiled as other cities. These plays combated the Romantic comedy—which was in vogue due to Shakespeare’s plays like As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, and, Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Around fifteen plays were part of the war of the poets, but those most central to it were Jonson’s Every Man in his Humour (1598), Marston’s What You Will (1601), and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Hamlet. Jonson’s Every Man in his Humour solidified the genre of the “Comedy of Humour.” Marston’s What You Will (which either was inspired by, or inspired Twelfth Night’s subtitle told the story of two warring poets—a bitter, misanthropic, satirist vs. a generous, lighthearted epicurean. It is thought that the satirist in this play was a direct caricature of Jonson. )Twelfth Night is in the thick of this war both thematically and stylistically. Stylistically Twelfth Night continues in Shakespeare’s vein of Romantic comedies, however, it also plays with Jonson’s own themes of morality and indulgence through the opposition of Maria and Sir Toby with Malvolio (who was described as a direct caricature of Jonson). Finally, Hamlet was the final blow in the war of the poets.

By subverting and riffing on Johnson’s tragic conventions and using the play-within-a-play to directly comment on the contemporary world, Shakespeare executed the final stab in the war of the poets.

This production of Twelfth Night is set on a World War II-era Mediterranean island. Illyria—the mythical location of Twelfth Night–refers to a province of ancient Greece on the western coast facing Italy. During World War II, Mediterranean islands (such as Malta) and regions such as the Cape of Matapan were strategically important, particularly with North Africa in play. However, such Islands were also often indulgent or frivolous gathering places for officers. This play is draped in tragedy—from the separation and presumed death of Viola and Sebastian to the recent death of Olivia’s father and brother. However, all the characters endeavor to combat the tragedy surrounding them by embracing friends and family, hearing music, eating and drinking, and falling in love. This production tells the story of finding an island of joy amidst a sea of tragedy.

Bobby Huggins (Lighting Designer) on True West