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Saturday, August 30, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 73.0° F  Thunderstorm in Vicinity
The Daily

THEATER

Fermat's Last Theater Company makes a strong debut with The Merchant of Venice

Fermat's Last Theater Company knows that something interesting happens when Shakespeare is set in modern day. The themes feel more lively and less frozen in time. A play like The Merchant of Venice lends itself particularly well to adaptation. One of Shakespeare's "comedies," it explores motifs we still grapple with today, four centuries later: revenge, mercy, same-sex friendships, and, most famously, antisemitism. It's a fine choice for this new company's first production (through Aug. 4 at Overture Center). >More
 The new kid on the block: Meet Fermat's Last Theater Company

There's a new theater troupe in town, and they're out to shake things up. Named Fermat's Last Theater Company, the 12-person group has strong ties to the Young Shakespeare Players, where many of its actors gained experience. This early exposure to the Bard's works shows in the company's first production, a staging of The Merchant of Venice at Overture Center's Rotunda Stage (through Aug. 4). >More
 Rainbow Bookstore's Voices of a People's History clamors for change at Broom Street Theater

Writing history is a political act. Even a small edit can diminish the power of an entire group of people. That's one reason Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative presented Voices of a People's History at Broom Street Theater last weekend. Loosely based on Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, it directed the spotlight at marginalized individuals who've clamored for change over the past 300 years. >More
 Audrey Lauren Wax plans to challenge conventions as StageQ's new artistic director

When StageQ opens its 2013-2014 season this September, it will have a new artistic director for the first time since 2005. Audrey Lauren Wax has taken the reins of the LGBT theater troupe from Tara Ayres, who held the position until April. >More
 Robots, robberies and relationships go awry in Playwrights Ink's 21st annual showcase Coming of Age

Coming of Age, the 21st anniversary showcase from local writing collective Playwrights Ink, finished its run at the Bartell Theater Saturday night. Seven short plays written by six local playwrights were presented over the course of two acts. A committee chose the presented works from a pool of 30 submissions. >More
 Music Theatre of Madison's Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is a bloody good time

I'm sure somewhere at the UW, ensconced in a library full of books, there's a Ph.D. student writing a great, analytical dissertation on American history. Music Theatre of Madison's Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (through July 27 at the Bartell Theatre) is history for the rest of us, in the form of a rock musical. It's a populist tale based on a populist president. >More
 University Theatre's Hound of the Baskervilles is an entertaining romp with a sharp Sherlock Holmes

University Theatre is smart to tap into Sherlock Holmes' resurgence in popularity by presenting Hound of the Baskervilles (through July 28 at UW Vilas Hall), Tim Kell's play based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel. The dynamic between Dr. Watson and the famed detective, whether on the big screen with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law or the small screen with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martine Freeman, or Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, is always appealing. Holmes enthusiasts will enjoy this pair's repartee in this production as well. >More
 American Players Theatre's Too Many Husbands is an appealingly absurd tale about falling out of love

No side of the love triangle that is Too Many Husbands is left unmarred by Victoria, the wily star of W. Somerset Maugham's play about marriage, violence and adultery. What sounds like a soap opera is actually a lighthearted domestic comedy set in post-World War I Britain and performed on American Players Theatre's Up-the-Hill stage (through Sept. 14). >More
 American Players Theatre shows off Hamlet's wit as well as its wisdom

A 30-minute rain delay on Saturday couldn't dampen the Dane at American Players Theatre's opening performance of Hamlet (through Oct. 4). Huddling under my poncho in a freezing downpour seemed the perfect way to watch Shakespeare's most well-known and oft-quoted tragedy. That is, until the people behind me started singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" at the top of their lungs. >More
 American Players Theatre's Dickens in America highlights the author's talent for cultivating empathy

You don't have to be a huge fan of writer Charles Dickens or actor James Ridge to appreciate the talents of both in American Players Theatre's Dickens in America (through Oct. 19). The play opened Saturday in the indoor Touchstone Theatre. >More
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