Go Live this weekend – Shakespeare around town
Cinema, schminema. Who needs the Oscars when we have such an intriguing assortment of Shakespeare or Bard-related tales taking place on southland stages this weekend. Granted, a plethora of iambic pentameter dialog is not exactly earth shattering around these parts, particularly in the summer, but since 2016 is still young and the festivals are still several months away, it’s an interesting time to check in.
Starting in Pasadena where Damaso Rodriguez’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” enters its second weekend, offering weekend matinees on Saturday and Sunday and continuing in rotating repertory at A Noise Within. This is ANW’s first Shakespeare production since last spring’s “Julius Caesar” and it’s a homecoming of sorts for Rodriguez who used to run the Furious Theatre Co., was associate artistic director at the Pasadena Playhouse and is now the artistic director of the Artists Theatre of Portland.
The bulk of my readers will likely have experienced “R and J” multiple times. How will this incarnation be different? Here’s Rodriguez’s take based on a portion of an interview posted on ANW’s website:
“We’ll take this assumption as a starting point for our approach to the production: a ritual re-telling of an old tale for an audience gathered to share the story once again. Our design and concept will evoke a street performance in an economically and socially repressed, centuries-old city. We’ll streamline the story to focus on relationships of the principal characters and utilize minimal props and costumes. Our production will feature as diverse a company as possible and original music composition that will evoke a sense of heightened, near-operatic emotion and ceremony.”
So, contemporary costumes, a graffiti strewn set, and our young star crossed lovers played by played by Will Bradley and Donnla Hughes looking like present street kids.
The production continues through May 8 at 3352 E. Foothill Blvd. in Pasadena. (626) 356-3100 ext. 1, www.anoisewithin.org. Check the website for exact performance dates.
In this space, we noted a veritable tsunami of “Tempests” in 2014-15 (A Noise Within kicked in one of its own in the fall of 2014). The rough weather isn’t over. We now have director/adapter John Farmanesh-Bocca entering the fray with “Tempest Redux” at the Odyssey Theatre, co produced by the Odyssey Theatre and the New American Theatre.
The “redux” means the play is reconsidered, top to bottom. Farmanesh-Bocca has taken his lens to “Pericles,” “Titus Andronicus,” “Hamlet” and “Romeo and Juliet.” For “Tempest Redux,” which will feature Jack Stehlin as the aging magician Prospero, Farmanesh-Boca will use seven actors and three dancers spread out across multiple roles. You can learn more about the “Redux” method in the video segment here.
“Tempest Redux” plays 8 p.m. Frid.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun.; through April 10 at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. (310) 477-2055 or go to www.OdysseyTheatre.com.
Last but certainly not least, we have “Lear” at City Garage. This is not Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” but rather Lear as imagined by Young Jean Lee (author of “Straight White Men” which was recently staged at the Kirk Douglas Theatre). Frédérique Michel directs.
In fact, the old King doesn’t even put in an appearance in this one. Instead, we get a tale of Lear’s three daughters Cordelia, Regan and Goneril and Gloucester’s two sons Edgar and Edmund. This is part two in City Garage’s three-part examination of The Winter of Our Discontent: Shakespeare in the Digital Age.”
The performance continues 8 p.m. Fri-Sat., 3 p.m. Sun.; through March 13 at the Bergamot Station Arts Center, Building T1 2525 Michigan Ave. Santa Monica. (310) 453-9939, http://www.citygarage.org