Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010

APT's 2011 Season

The American Players Theatre Announces its summer offerings

By Russ Bickerstaff
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As the weather begins to get colder, gradually descending into another winter, there are people West of here already planning for an outdoor theatre season that won’t start for another 7 months. The American Players Theatre recently announced its 2011 season. There are eight shows scheduled between indoor and outdoor components of the theatre. Here’s a look: 

UP THE HILL—

The outdoor theatre is a really exceedingly comfortable space in which to see live drama and comedy . . . the look, feel and smell of the big, outdoor theatre filled with people from all over the state and other places . . . here’s what they’ll be seeing:

The Taming of the Shrew—Tim Ocel  directs a production of Shakespeare’s classic The seasoned director is given the unenviable task of finding a fresh perspective ofsome sort on an old classic known to just about everyone. Should be fun, though . . . this is one of my favorites. It’s Much Ado without all the mucking about with masks—Romeo and Juliet without all the death. The APT hasn’t announced specific dates on any of its shows yet, but the director’s website lists the dates as June 4th – October 2nd. 

Blithe Spirit—Noel Coward’s story of love, loss and the spirit of a late wife will be directed by APT Producing Artistic Director David Frank. Coward’s distinctive voice cleverly delivers a particularly clever story here. 

The Critic—This is by far the most interesting choice the APT has made for the coming season—a satirical jab at the theatre from the late 1770’s by British playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. An author invites a few people to a rehearsal of his play The Spanish Armada. Features characters with names like “Mr. Puff,” and, “Sir Fretful Plagiary.” There are also a pair of theatre critics names “Dangle,” and “Sneer.” Directed By William Brown.

Of Mice and Men—John Steinbeck’s classic drama is a good choice for a modern drama with instantly recognizable characters, even for those who have never read the book. Kate Buckley directs. 

The Tempest—One summer after Optimist Theatre’s outdoor production of the classic drama, the APT brings another outdoor production to the stage under the direction of James Bohnen. This rounds out three of five Up The Hill plays with household names. Many of the indoor Touchstone shows have similarly famous names. It’ll be a summer of popular classics in Spring Green this year . . . 

THE TOUCHSTONE—

The tidy, little indoor studio theatre down the hill will offer indoor options for those who prefer a more intimate, less sunny space. Only recently built in a style reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright (who used to live just down the road,) the space is still new enough to feel like it just opened for the first time a few hours prior to show time . . . here’s what the space will be home to this summer:

Crime and Punishment—There have been a few different stage adaptations of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s classic novel. The APT lists only the author of the novel in its press release. The Milwaukee Chamber’s recent three-actor adaptation managed to be quite engrossing in a studio theatre environment. With the APT’s level of talent, this production should be no less gripping. Kenneth Albers directs. 

The Glass Menagerie—Aaron Posner directs one of the quintessential works of 20th century American drama in the studio theatre space. The intensity of the drama brought to the stage for this production should be really captivating . . .

The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes –Contemporary Irish poet and playwright Seamus Heaney’s adaptation of the ancient Greek story has been praised for its unique use of Irish speech and context…a unique fusion. 

The shows listed above are currently being cast—the names of the actors involved will be announced on the other side of winter.   

 

 

 

 

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