All The World's A Stage

All The World’s A Stage

“All the world’s a stage,” penned the Bard, and the American Shakespeare Center (ASC) should know – they “put on the show” six days a week, 51 weeks a year.

The Washington Post praises ASC as “shamelessly entertaining” and the Boston Globe says, “phenomenal… bursting with energy.”

Shakespeare’s plots and characters are as alive today as they were when the plays were originally staged. Universal themes of love, tragedy, treachery, audacity, honor, bravery, betrayal, despair, and political intrigue all combine into entertainment of legendary proportions.

In Shakespeare’s day and age, the lights did not go down as the curtain came up. That’s why ASC’s motto is “we do it with the lights on.”  Across the board, ASC walks the walk when it comes to Shakespeare’s original staging conventions – expect to find universal lighting, minimal sets, brisk pace, audience interaction, and gender bending actors.

ASC’s actors are amazingly versatile. They are adroit with nuance, scholarly in language, and skilled in swordplay – and they also sing, play musical instruments, and dance! (Plan to arrive 30 minutes before the performance starts to enjoy the informal music performed by members of the play’s cast.)

Plays are staged in the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, the world’s only authentic re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre. Frommer’s Travel Guide insists that “this stunning re-creation of the first indoor theater in the English-speaking world… is, in itself, a reason to visit Staunton.”

winter: the Actor’s renaissance season

January 11-April 14

The 2019 Winter Season lineup includes Shakespeare classics Henry IV, Part 1 and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Also showing is Arden of Faversham, written by an unknown author. This play is an Elizabethan true-crime drama about ordinary people that is sure to captivate you. Finally, Amy E. Witting’s Anne Page Hates Fun, is a new, modern companion piece to The Merry Wives of Windsor, part of the Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries program. The program intends produce 38 new plays, inspired by Shakespeare, by playwrights of all backgrounds and perspectives.

The Winter Season comes to a close on Renaissance Weekend (April 12-14) prior to the start of the Spring Season. During this special weekend you’ll be able to see the final performances of all four productions and a staged reading of The Belle’s Stratagem. Other weekend events will include workshops, lectures, and the Band Candy Benefit Concert to raise money for ASC music.

Spring: Tour Homecoming

April 17-June 9

The ASC welcomes home the 2018/19 Hand of Time Tour  in April. The touring troupe takes up residency, performing stories of mistaken identity and slapstick humor in Comedy of Errors, furious jealousy on a roller-coaster ride that is both comedic and tragic in The Winter’s Tale, and the story of one of drama’s earliest heroines, Antigone. The second installment of Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries, 16 Winters, or the Bear’s Tale, will also premiere. 

summer: festival season

June 25- November 30

 

Billed as three great plays by two great authors that tell one great story, the 2019 Summer Festival Season will feature Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar; his own sequel, Antony and Cleopatra; and George Bernard Shaw’s “prequel,” Caesar and Cleopatra.  See them in any combination—or make a weekend of it—but don’t miss this epic journey in the life of Caesar, Cleopatra, Antony, and the history of the Roman Empire.

For first-timers looking for a taste of the Blackriars experience, a perfect summer sampler is the ASC’s Midsummer 90an hour-and-a-half-long production of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy specifically created for families. 

Fall Repertory

september 25-december 1

The Fall Repertory Season officially begins after Labor Day and will include all three of the summer’s Roman Trilogy while heralding the arrival of a world premiere musical (ASC’s first): The Willard Suitcases by Julianne Wick Davis—and directed by Artistic Director Ethan McSweeny—Davis, best known for Southern Comfort at the Public Theatre for which she received the Jonathan Larson Award and GLAAD Media Award, is also a York Theatre NEO 9 emerging writer, a Dramatist Guild Fellow and a 2015 Sundance Fellow.

For all the details visit American Shakespeare Center’s website.

The Washington Post praises ASC as “shamelessly entertaining” and the Boston Globe says, “phenomenal… bursting with energy.”

Insider's Tip:
Playhouse tours of the 300-seat theater are available several times each week. Tours begin at the box office, and last approximately one hour.
Insider's Tip:
Playhouse tours of the 300-seat theater are available several times each week. Tours begin at the box office, and last approximately one hour.