Chicago Shakespeare Theater Presents TRISTAN & YSEULT March 30 – April 13, 2014

Chicago Shakespeare Theater Presents TRISTAN & YSEULT March 30 – April 13, 2014

What has audiences and critics alike falling in love in theaters around the world? Kneehigh's Tristan & Yseult is a theatrical force of nature that combines vibrant storytelling with breathtaking spectacle, set to a rich musical tapestry of original songs and familiar scores performed by a roving ensemble of musicians. Lauded internationally for its trademark vitality, the artistic collective, Kneehigh makes its long-awaited Chicago debut at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) with the iconic work that first catapulted the company to international fame. Tristan & Yseult will delight audiences for a limited run March 30 through April 13 in CST's Courtyard Theater.

Marrying gorgeous music and ingenious staging with cheeky humor and Wagnerian intensity, Kneehigh re-imagines an age-old tale of forbidden love and betrayal: Tristan & Yseult. Cornish King Mark attempts to maintain order, even in the midst of a war, by ruling with his head, not his heart. But he does not expect to fall head over heels for his enemy's sister, Yseult, and cannot anticipate the love that blooms between the beautiful Yseult and enigmatic Tristan.

Director and adapter Emma Rice reflects, "As the story unfolds, I realize there is not one person in that audience who doesn't profoundly recognize something in the situation: to love someone that you shouldn't, to betray someone you love, to be betrayed, to be left and, most painful, to be unloved. This suddenly is not an epic tale of grand romantic love, held at arm's length from our own experience, but a tender unraveling of love in all its beautiful and painful forms...These are at the heart of this production, because, if we have all known love, we have also known the opposite."

Inventive and spirited, Kneehigh is renowned for its unique brand of wonder-filled ensemble storytelling. Hailing from Cornwall, England, the company has originated such runaway hits as The Wild Bride and Brief Encounter. Kneehigh has left their mark internationally from London's National Theater and the Sydney Festival, to the Royal Shakespeare Company and Broadway's Studio 54. Chicago Shakespeare Theater welcomes Kneehigh as part of CST's World's Stage series, which brings the best of the world's theater to Chicago and CST productions to stages around the globe.

The London Guardian raves, "If this show doesn't make you fall in love with theater, there's no potion on Earth that can help you...this evening is like a great gulp of refreshing sea air. I loved it with a passion." The BBC declares, "Kneehigh is back-quirky and larky, magical and wild. A spectacular yet intimate show in which the comical, the classical, the heartfelt and the sultry all become one...Did I mention that I loved it?"

Tristan & Yseult is directed and adapted by Emma Rice with writers Carl Grose and Anna Maria Murphy. The production features an ensemble of eight performers: Carly Bawden (Whitehands), Gareth Charlton (Lovespotter/Brute/Animator), Andrew Durand (Tristan), Stuart Goodwin (King Mark), Craig Johnson (Brangian/Morholt), Giles King (Frocin), Róbert Lu?kay (Lovespotter/Brute/Animator) and Etta Murfitt (Yseult). Live music composed by Stu Barker is performed by Russ Gold, Pat Moran, Ian Ross, and Lizzy Westcott. The creative team includes Music Director Ian Ross, Designer Bill Mitchell, Lighting Designer Malcolm Rippeth and Sound Designer Gregory Clarke.

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