ATC’s new project, The Shakespeare Underground, is an exuberant, fun, unpredictable take on classic plays from Shakespeare and a variety of authors. The concept of the project is a combination of guerrilla street theater and traditional Elizabethan staging methods. What’s more “underground” than that? Please join us to hear something that you’ve probably never heard before.
The 2018 Shakespeare Underground season is presented by PNC Arts Alive.
Upcoming (through 2018):
December 17, 2018: EXILES
EXILES by James Joyce: Exiles is James Joyce’s only extant play and draws on the story of “The Dead,” the final short story in Joyce’s story collection Dubliners. The play was rejected by W. B. Yeats for production by the Abbey Theatre. Its first major London performance was in 1970, when Harold Pinter directed it at the Mermaid Theatre.
November 19, 2018: MYSTERY-BOUFFE
MYSTERY BOUFFE by Vladimir Mayakovsky: Written on the first anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, Mystery-Bouffe is an absurdist, satirical take on early 20th century Russian class struggles. The play follows fourteen proletarians and fourteen bourgeois fleeing flooding in their home countries from around the world as they embark on an epic biblical journey to find Paradise – or at least, something to eat. Along the way, we meet all-too-familiar characters such as the obnoxiously apolitical Compromiser, who can’t understand why everyone won’t just get along, and the know-it-all Intellectual, who would rather pontificate on the meaning of the world’s problems rather than enact change. The play balances its socialist morals with dark humor, witty aphorisms, and a healthy dose of over-the-top musical numbers, creating a script that still feels relevant and side-splittingly funny a century after it was written.
Director- Rowan Winterwood
November 10, 2018: NO HOLDS BARD
NO HOLDS BARD: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S FIGHT NIGHT
A TSU SPECIAL EVENT! Kings and Clowns will duke it out in swaggy, saucy Shakespearean swordplay with wrothful wit and warlike wordplay. Place your bets with Bard Bucks on who you think will drink from the cup of victory!
October 29, 2018: THE VAMPIRE
THE VAMPIRE by James Robinson Planche’: 201 years ago, on a rainy evening in Geneva, Lord Byron challenged his guests to a contest to see who can pen the most enthralling “ghostly tale.” Most people know that on this night a 19-year-old Mary Shelley would conceive her iconic Frankenstein. What is lesser know is that evening in Switzerland, Byron would plant the seed for the modern Vampire as we know him. Basing the melodramatic play, The Vampire, on Byron and Polidori’s short story, Planche’ drags the vampire lore out of the damp and cold shadows of the Hungarian grave and drops him in the heart of Scotland. For the first time the world is introduced to a vampire with style, breeding, manner, and charm. Using highland folklore, low brow comedy, romance, spectacle, drama, and music, Planche’ creates the blockbuster hit of 1820 and forever changes how we perceive The Vampire.
Director- Amanda Phillips
September 17, 2018: JEHANNE d'ARC
JEHANNE d’ARC by Mercedes de Acosta: This dramatization of Joan of Arc’s life was written in 1922, prompted by the feminist cultural upheaval surrounding the women’s suffragette movement, which coincided with the long-overdue recognition of Joan’s sainthood by the Catholic Church in 1920 – nearly half a millennium after Joan was burned at the stake for crimes of heresy and cross-dressing. The playwright, Mercedes de Acosta, was an outspoken women’s rights activist and a “notorious lesbian” who wrote the role of Jehanne for her then-lover, actress Eva Le Gallienne. Director- Sonda Staley
August 20, 2018: RAM-ALLEY: OR MERRY TRICKS
RAM-ALLEY: OR MERRY TRICKS by Lording Barry: This bawdy comedy by Lording Barry, a contemporary of Shakespeare, takes place in a disreputable London lane where lawyers, lords, and ladies rub shoulders with prostitutes and vagabonds. The play is full of crazy antics including a man scheming to get his inheritance back from a crooked lawyer, a rich widow looking for her new husband, and a young lady masquerading as a page to follow around the man she loves. The production bankrupted Barry, landed him in debtor’s jail, and set him off on a life of piracy. Ram-Alley has only been revived three times since 1611, but recently came close to topping a poll of academics to find the best “forgotten” play by an Elizabethan/Jacobean dramatist.
Director- Sara Bodde
July 16, 2018: THE RECRUITING OFFICER
THE RECRUITING OFFICER by George Farquhar: Come join us for a hilarious Monday night! This comedy, one of the most popular of the 18th century, follows the feats, failures, and foibles of a group of officers in England.
Director- Andy Falter
June 18, 2018: ELECTRA
ELECTRA by Benito Perez Galdos: Originally staged in the Teatro Español in 1901, Electra is a controversial Spanish drama that documents the trials and tribulations of its innocent heroine. Electra is a young woman of unknown parentage who is raised in a convent in France and, after the death of her mother Eleuteria, adopted by her aunt and uncle. Electra soon falls in love with the scientist Maximo, but an intricate web of rumors and lies threatens to ruin their relationship. In this play, Benito Pérez Galdós tackles a number of hot-button themes: fanaticism, superstition, social justice, rationalism, and the powers of science. Director- Jennifer Feather Youngblood
May 21, 2018: THE WOMAN'S PRIZE
THE WOMAN’S PRIZE by John Fletcher: The Woman’s Prize; or The Tamer Tamed, is John Fletcher’s classic Jacobian comedy. It is a witty response to Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, at once a sequel and a re-empowerment of the women of Shakespeare’s problematic story of power and control in marriage. Director- Adam Simon
April 16, 2018: UBU ROI
UBU ROI by Alfred Jarry: Come celebrate the absurdities of politics by seeing our rendition of Ubu Roi this spring! Alfred Jarry’s 1896 satirical farce was originally performed as a puppet show and pilloried contemporary politics, literature, and stage convention. Nominally about a selfish, cowardly, gluttonous, vulgar, hot-tempered dotard compelled to violently overtake Poland by his ambitious wife, the play’s free-form nature guarantees a zany evening. Viewer discretion advised: This reading might not be suitable for children under the age of 13 or adults with any sense of decency or civility.
Director- David Harewood
March 19, 2018: MACHINAL
MACHINAL by Sophie Treadwell: Machinal is a 1928 play by American playwright and journalist Sophie Treadwell, inspired by the real-life case of convicted and executed murderer Ruth Snyder. Its Broadway premiere, directed by Arthur Hopkins, is considered one of the highpoints of Expressionist theatre on the American stage. Director- Jennifer Feather Youngblood
February 19, 2018: R.U.R.
R. U. R. by Karel Capek: R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) by Karel Capek is the influential 1920 science fiction play that introduced the word “robot” to the English lexicon in its sense of “artificial intelligence.” The comic-tragic script deals with issues of growing automation, oppression of the working class, the future, and what it means to be a person. Producer- Adam Simon Director- Philip J. Hickman Stage Manager- Megan Lear House Manager- Jordan Estose Harry Domin- Scott Douglas Wilson Sulla & Other Robots- Christina Yoho Marius & Radius- Ben Sostrom Helena Glory- Beth Josephsen Dr. Gall & Primus- Jordan Fehr Dr. Fabry- Jason Speicher Dr. Hallemeier & Other Robots- Samuel Bowen Partridge Mr. Alquist- Chris Austin Counsul Busman- Ken Erney Nana- Cat Erney
November 20, 2017: THE WITCH OF EDMONTON
THE WITCH OF EDMONTON by William Rowley, Thomas Dekker and John Ford: This 1621 play was inspired by the true story of the trial and execution of Elizabeth Sawyer, accused of practicing witchcraft in the town of Edmonton, England. Persecuted by the repressive Puritan community in which she lives, Elizabeth Sawyer summons the Devil in the guise of a dog to seek revenge on her tormentors. Produced with Tipping Point Theatre Company Director- Sonda Staley Stage Manager- Ellie Allen Cast- Anne Ratcliffe- Michelle Weiser Cuddy Banks- Stephen Hanna Elizabeth Sawyer- Josie Merkle Frank Thorney- Scott Douglas Wilson Winnifred- Nikki Davis Kate Carter- Michelle Sandler Master Carter- Greg Hoffman Master Ratcliffe- Bob Stein Master Thorney- Ken Erney Sir Arthur- Scott Wilson Sommerton- Philip J. Hickman Susan Carter- Ella Palardi The Devil Dog- Ben Sostrom Warbeck- Adam Simon
October 16, 2017: VOTES FOR WOMEN!
VOTES FOR WOMEN! by Elizabeth Robins: The first suffragette play, Votes for Women! was Elizabeth Robins’ most famous work for the stage. Set in England in 1907 the protagonist, Jean, is engaged to an older politician, Stoner, who is up for election. At a society gathering Jean meets the mysterious Miss Levering, who shocks Jean by telling her about the plight of poor and homeless women in England. This leads Jean to attend a suffragette rally and experience the politics of her day up close and personal for the first time. The rally wakes Jean to more than just politics, though, as Miss Levering’s past is revealed.
Director- Beth Josephsen Stage Manager- Rebecca Sharrer
September 18, 2017: OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD
OUR COUNTRY’S GOOD by Timberlake Wertenbaker: This Tony-nominated play is the true story of the first convicts transported to Australia – and their production of The Recruiting Officer, the hit comedy of the 1780s. It is a profound story on the nature of justice and class, and is deeply invested in how the “theater can be a humanizing force.” Director- Philip J. Hickman Stage Manager- Ellie Allen House Manager- Grace Reinhart Cast- Capt. Arthur Phillip/John Wisehammer- Shaun Brown Maj. Robbie Ross/Ketch Freeman- Casey Merkey Capt. David Collins/Robert Sideway- Adam Simon Capt. Watkin Tench/Black Caesar/Aborigine- Chris Casanova Jones Capt. Jeremy Campbell/Harry Brewer/John Arscott- David Harewood Rev. Johnson/Liz Morden- Colleen Nerney Lt. George Johnston/Mary Brenham- Alison Brogan Lt. Will Dawes/Meg Long/ Duckling Smith- Beth Josephsen 2nd Lt. Ralph Clark- Samuel Bowen Partridge 2nd Lt. William Faddy/Dabby Bryan- Ayla Stirnaman
August 21, 2017: FASHION, OR, LIFE IN NEW YORK
FASHION, OR LIFE IN NEW YORK by Anna Cora Mowatt (1845): A social satire on a young country and the follies that can befall a nation trying to find its identity. Fashion features social-climbing New Yorkers trying to imitate European manners, scoundrels trying to escape their misdeeds by fleeing to America, and a scattering of honest men and women chipping away at the affected pretensions of their countrymen. Although this play was written over 170 years ago, its ideas still hold true—all that glitters is not gold, sometimes what seems like coal is truly a diamond in the rough, and what’s in fashion can’t always be trusted. Director- Andy Falter Stage Management- Rebecca Sharrer House Management- Keely Heyl Cast- Adam Trueman- Robert “Mac” McDannold Count Jolimaitre- Stefan Langer Colonel Howard- John Vincent Quigley Mr. Tiffany- Victor Little T. Tennyson Twinkle- Stefan Farrenkopf Augustus Fogg- Jeb Bigelow Snobson- Justin Nawman Zeke- David Harewood Mrs. Tiffany- Alycia Yates Prudence- Emily Turner Millinette- Natalia White Gertrude- Chloe Beck Seraphina Tiffany- McLane Nagy
July 17, 2017: A BOLD STROKE FOR A WIFE
A BOLD STROKE FOR A WIFE by Susanna Centlivre (1717): In this comedy, Centlivre evaluates the social obstacles that come with money, power, and love. Four guardians, each possessing contradictory opinions and attitudes, hold Anne Lovely under their protection and refuse her to wed until they each approve of the same man. A spirited military officer is determined to outwit them all. Lovely joins his pursuit, and together they form a plan to manipulate the men. Centlivre writes with satirical, bold strokes. She critiques political and social systems in eighteenth-century England and reimagines the role of marriage in A Bold Stroke for a Wife. Director- Allison Brogan Stage Management- Alexa Raasch House Management- Grace Rinehart Cast- Freeman/Simon Pure- Shane Egan Mrs. Prim- Beth Josephsen Periwinkle- Stewart Bender Tradelove- Colton Weiss Col. Fainwell- Justin King Anne Lovely- Aileen Targett Obediah Prim- Trenton Weaver Betty- Karlie Kaizer Sir Phillip Modelove- Shaun Brown Sackbut- Jason Speicher
June 19, 2017: A MAN'S WORLD
A MAN’S WORLD by Rachel Crothers (1910): A great lead-in to this series, A Man’s World is the story of Frank Ware, a female author in Greenwich Village in 1910, who publishes under a man’s name in order to get ahead. Director- Adam Simon Stage Management- Alexa Raasch House Management- Ayla Stirnaman and Grace Rinehart Cast- Frank Ware- Susan Wismar Lione Brune- Aileen Targett Clara Oakes- Allison Brogan Kiddie- Gretchen Reed Malcolm Gaskell- Ross Shirley Fritz Bahn- Philip J. Hickman Wells Trevor- David Harewood Emile Grimeaux- Ben Sostrom