What’s onstage at Shakespeare theaters in March

"Julius Caesar" in the FIrst Folio, the first collected edition of Shakespeare's works. Folger Shakespeare Library.
“Beware the Ides of March.” “Julius Caesar” in the First Folio. Folger Shakespeare Library STC 22273 Fo.1 no.68.

“Beware the Ideas of March” has got to be theater’s greatest “I-Told-You-So.” This March, there’s lots of Shakespeare’s Caesar to go around: Pennsylvanians can catch Gamut Theatre Group’s production, while New Yorkers can see the play at Theatre for a New Audience. Maybe this March, Caesar will actually listen. . . though it doesn’t seem likely.

Elsewhere, you can watch the entire life of Henry V across two stages: Baltimore’s Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2) and the Atlanta Shakespeare Company (Henry V). Plus, there’s Macbeth, As You Like It, and more. Keep reading to find out what the Folger’s theater partners have onstage this month.

At the Atlanta Shakespeare CompanyHenry V runs through March 24. Then, don’t miss William Luce’s Barrymoreopening March 29. It’s 1942 in Luce’s play, and stage and screen star John Barrymore—just a few months before his death—reflects on his life as he rehearses a revival of his Broadway performance of Richard III. 

Brent Vimtrup (King Leontes). "The Winter's Tale" at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.  Mikki Schaffner Photography.
Brent Vimtrup (King Leontes). “The Winter’s Tale” at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Mikki Schaffner Photography.

At Baltimore’s Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Henry IV, Part 2 runs March 15 – April 7. Catch it in repertory with Henry IV, Part 1 through the end of March.

The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s The Winter’s Tale runs through March 23. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Christopher Luscombe directs a production set in Britain’s elegant Regency Era.

Gamut Theatre Group’s touring educational outreach production of Julius Caesar comes home for three public performances on March 15, 16, and 17.

“As You Like It,” Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Photo: Jenny Graham.

In Ashland, Oregon, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s As You Like It runs through October 26. Rosa Joshi, a co-founder of Seattle’s upstart crow collective and the director of last season’s OSF production of Henry V, directs. In an interview, she talks about the production and her approach to conceptualizing Shakespeare’s plays:

I tend not to put plays in a specific period. I try to create a world that is its own unique, imagined, theatrical, usually some kind of abstract world, that hopefully has a sense of timelessness and also feels like something for our time. The place on stage in an imagined world that also resonates for us specifically in terms of what’s going on socially, culturally, and politically in our world. . . I’m always asking, “Why is this on the stage? Why is this not a film?” You could see a film of As You Like It, for instance, and you could really go to a real forest and you could have that kind of realism. I’m less interested in that on the stage and I’m really interested in how the audience has to actively engage their imagination.

What’s next for Joshi? She’s coming to Folger Theatre to direct the first show in our 2019 – 20 season! Stay tuned to find out what she’ll be bringing to the Folger stage.

There’s still time to register for the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre’s free lecture on “Shakespeare and the Law” on March 20. The lecture, led by Winder University Delaware Law School’s John Culhane, is part of Philly Shakespeare’s Shakespeare in the World Lecture Series. The lecture will explore the famous trial in The Merchant of Venice, questions of justice and mercy in Measure for Measure, and issues of authority in King Lear and Julius Caesar.

Lexi Chipman (Juliet) and Rafael Molina (Romeo) in "Romeo and Juliet," Seattle Shakespeare Company, 2017. Photo: Spencer Bertelsen.
On tour with the Seattle Shakespeare Company: Lexi Chipman (Juliet) and Rafael Molina (Romeo) in “Romeo and Juliet,” 2017. Photo: Spencer Bertelsen.

At the end of this month, the Seattle Shakespeare Company’s touring production of Macbeth drops by the Seattle Center’s Center Theatre for two public performances. This taut 90-minute, bilingual adaptation of the Scottish Play features just six actors playing all of the roles.

Shakespeare at Notre Dame and Actors for the London Stage’s tour of King Lear is another all-hands-on-deck production: just five actors take on all of Lear’s parts. Even Tricia Kelly, who plays Lear, is on double-duty: she also plays Cornwall. Next up for the five British actors are stops in Florence, AL; Salem, VA; Burlington, VT. The tour ends on April 7 after a week at Sheridan, Wyoming’s Sheridan College.

At the end of this month, the Southwest Shakespeare Company brings The Death of Kings: Seize the Crown, created by Irwin Appel and the UC Santa Barbara Department of Theater and Dance, to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Death of Kings: Seize the Crown condenses eight of Shakespeare’s histories into one 90 minute production, concentrating the War of the Roses into an evening of thrilling, theatrical battle.

In New York City, Theatre for a New Audience’s Julius Caesar opens on March 17. Director Shana Cooper makes her Off-Broadway debut with this re-imagining of her hit 2017 production of Caesar for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Cooper’s production “explores what happens when violence is used to govern, and theatricalizes a mythic cycle that combines the political, psychological, and phantasmagorical… a cycle that has happened before and will happen again. Initially, the violence is rhetorical, but it then becomes a disease, a contagion, and a conflagration destroying what is loved the most.” Take a look at photographs from rehearsals for Caesar:

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Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Gamut Theatre Group, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare at Notre Dame, Southwest Shakespeare Company, and Theatre for a New Audience are theater partners of the Folger Shakespeare Library. 

 

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