April 12, 2004
Shakespeare Santa Cruz unveils new season
By Scott Rappaport
Comedy is the operative word for the new summer season just announced
by Shakespeare Santa Cruz (SSC).
The acclaimed UCSC company will present one of Shakespeares most
popular comedies, The Taming of the Shrew, in a rare double bill
with John Fletchers 1611 sequel, The Tamer Tamed. SSC will
also serve up three-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Edward Albees 1962
dark comedy Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, with the ancient
Greek comic play Lysistrata rounding out the summer season as
the festivals first-ever fringe production. The festival runs
on campus from July 21 to August 29.
The 2004 season marks the return of artistic director Paul Whitworth
after a prolific two-year sabbatical that included acting, directing,
and research. Whitworth received rave reviews last December in the San
Francisco Chronicle for his direction of the world premiere of Irish
novelist Edna OBriens play Triptych at the Magic
Theater. He said that he was delighted to be back at the helm of SSC
for an innovative new season of theater.
Ive chosen four comediesbut very different comedies,
Whitworth noted. Comedies usually end with marriagethese
four plays plunge right into the thick of it. Today, the definition
of marriage is being debated on the front page of every newspaper. Is
it a contract to unite property? A marriage of true minds?
A license for sex? A context for procreation? A sacrament? Libertyor
lifelong bondage? One thing is certain: Getting wed for life takes less
time than watching a play, but the drama goes on forever.
The Taming of the Shrew and its companion piece, The Tamer
Tamed, will both be presented in the outdoor Sinsheimer-Stanley
Festival Glen. The former will be directed by Tim Ocel, returning for
his fourth season at SSC, and the latter by Danny Scheie, chair of UCSCs
Theater Arts Department and former artistic director of SSC from 1993
to 1995. The productions will be performed in full repertory.
Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, a coproduction with Syracuse
Stage, will be performed in the Mainstage Theater. A modern American
classic, the play will be directed by SSC associate artistic director
Michael Edwards, with Paul Whitworth starring in the role of George.
Edwards also serves as an associate director of Syracuse Stage, and
this play will move to upstate New York for a four-week run after it
closes in Santa Cruz.
Lysistrata, written by Greek playwright Aristophanes in approximately
410-415 BC, will additionally be presented a limited number of times
during the festival as a fringe production. The famous political satire
tells the story of women from opposing states who come together to end
a war by refusing to sleep with their husbands. Desperate for intimacy,
the men eventually agree to lay down their swords and achieve peace
through diplomacy. This comedy has inspired a wide variety of adaptations,
as well as the 2002 Lysistrata project, where readings of the play were
staged simultaneously in hundreds of cities around the world to protest
the Iraq war and promote international peace (See Currents: http://www.ucsc.edu/currents/02-03/02-17/play.html).
Building on the success of their earlier collaborations, Cinderella
and Gretel & Hansel, playwright Kate Hawley and director
Whitworth will also reunite for their third world-premiere holiday show,
The Princess and the Pea, running from November 19 to December
12. General admission holiday show tickets go on sale August 6, but
season subscribers may order in advance when purchasing their summer
For more information, visit the Shakespeare Santa Cruz web site, shakespearesantacruz.org,
or call the UCSC Ticket Office at (831) 459-2159.
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