American Players Theatre's James DeVita reprises <i>In Acting Shakespeare</i> for the 2012 season.
American Players Theatre, the 33-year-old company in Spring Green, has unveiled the lineup of its next season, which begins June 9, 2012.
APT is grounded in Shakespeare, and the troupe will present three plays by the Bard on the outdoor stage Up-the-Hill: Twelfth Night, Richard III and Troilus and Cressida. Also slated for the outdoor theater: J.M. Barrie's The Admirable Crichton and The Royal Family by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman.
APT has presented three plays per season in its indoor Touchstone Theatre since the space's 2009 opening, but next year the count goes up to four: Heroes, by Tom Stoppard; Skylight, by David Hare; Shakespeare's Will, by Vern Thiessen; and a reprise of In Acting Shakespeare, adapted from Sir Ian McKellen's Acting Shakespeare by APT Core Company member James DeVita.
Here are the plays, with APT's descriptions:
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by David Frank
Shakespeare revisits his favorite themes -- twins, mistaken identity and just a little cross-dressing -- in the comedy Twelfth Night. Mourning the loss of her brother, the lovely Olivia has vowed not to accept any suitors, much to the dismay of the Duke of Illyria, Orsino, who is intent on wooing her. So intent in fact that he enlists a castaway named Cesario to help him out. Of course Cesario is actually a young woman named Viola who has recently lost her twin brother in an accident at sea. Disguised as a boy, she agrees to help Orsino win Olivia despite the fact that she herself has fallen for him. And despite her vow to remain alone, Olivia quickly develops some strong feelings of her own…for Cesario. Combine that with a darkly comic subplot that finds the prim Malvolio locked in a basement by a group of ne'er-do-wells, and you've got the makings of a great Shakespearean comedy.
The Royal Family
Written by Edna Ferber & George S. Kaufman
Directed by Laura Gordon
Being famous isn't all it's cracked up to be in this clever comedy about artists and family. Acting runs through the veins of the Cavendish family -- with varying degrees of success. Julie, a beloved stage star, her larger-than-life, movie star brother Tony and world-renowned but less-than-healthy mother Fanny being among the more successful. But fame doesn't forego second thoughts on life choices. As Julie and her daughter Gwen struggle with whether or not to leave the limelight, Tony dodges his numerous scorned lovers and Fanny tries to corral everyone back to the stage, they and (and the rest of their family and friends) attempt to look after their own self-interest without really knowing it is.
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by James DeVita
One of history's (and Shakespeare's) greatest villains takes to the stage Up the Hill. The deformed Duke of Gloucester is as brutal as he is ambitious. In his blind will to become King Richard III, he unleashes a bloodbath, at the same time attempting to seduce those he's most wronged. And under guise of a devout and repentant man (coupled with an utter lack of conscience) he succeeds. For a time.
The Admirable Crichton
Written by J.M. Barrie
Directed by Kenneth Albers
The drawing room meets Gilligan's Island in this comedy by Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie. Lord Loam believes that class division is artificial, and does his best to ignore the lines between master and servant. The family's butler Crichton, on the other hand, is of the mindset that a person's station in life is "the natural outcome of a civilized society." All these notions get put to a real-life test when the family and servants are shipwrecked on a deserted island -- and only Crichton has the wits to keep them alive.
Troilus and Cressida
By William Shakespeare
Directed by William Brown
Making its APT debut, Troilus and Cressida follows the plot of The Iliad during the war waged over Helen's flight from Troy. Troilus and Cressida are war torn Trojans who declare their undying love for one another. But no sooner is their love consummated, that Cressida catches the eye of Diomedes, a Greek. As Troilus struggles with the validity of Cressida's faithfulness, the war itself comes to a screeching halt when Achilles refuses to fight. As the rest of the Greek camp attempts to coax their hero back to battle, love, lust and honor wage war in the background.
In the Touchstone Theatre
Written by Tom Stoppard
Translated from Gérald Sibleyras's Le Vent des peupliers
Directed by James Bohnen
Philippe, Gustave and Henri -- three World War I veterans (with differing degrees of mental and physical ailments) refuse to waste away their golden years playing bingo in the nursing home. There's adventure to be had, whether it's escaping to Indochina or visiting a nearby poplar patch. It will take some clever strategy, more than a little bickering and maybe a porcelain dog to get the momentum started, but in the words of Gustave: "one must strive a little for the epic, old boy."
Written by David Hare
Directed by J.R. Sullivan
Kyra, now a teacher living alone, finds her apartment haunted by ghosts of her former life as nanny (and lover) to a successful restaurateur Tom Sargeant. After a long absence Edward, Tom's son, shows up at her apartment asking difficult questions about her life and ties to his family. The situation complicates further when, after Edward leaves, Tom shows up himself. Together they try to work through their individual versions of the past, and find out if second chances are possible.
Written by Vern Thiessen
Directed by Brenda DeVita
Little is known about Shakespeare's wife Anne Hathaway, apart from three simple facts: she was older than he; she was pregnant when they married; and she rarely saw her husband after he left for London to make his fortune as an artist. In Shakespeare's Will, these few facts spin into a beautifully written tale about the many possible interpretations of marriage and love, and their unexpected consequences.
In Acting Shakespeare
Written by James DeVita
Freely adapted from Sir Ian McKellen's Acting Shakespeare
Returning to the Touchstone Theatre by popular demand, James DeVita's autobiographical show about finding your path returns home from abroad. An adaptation of Sir Ian McKellen's 1987 one-man show, actor Jim DeVita pulls back the curtain on his journey from fishing boats to the theater, revealing along the way that his biggest hurdle was convincing himself he was smart enough to understand Shakespeare.