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Shakespeare & Company Announces 2020 Summer Season

Shakespeare & Company is excited to announce its 2020 summer season, May 21 - October 18, 2020. Under the theme "The Labyrinth of Love" the season includes Shakespeare titles: King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, The Comedy of Errors, and, in a special workshop production, Measure for Measure. The contemporary plays this season are The Lifespan of a Fact by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell, and Gordon Farrell; What Rhymes With America, by the Obie Award-winning playwright Melissa James Gibson; Row After Row by Jessica Dickey; Susan Smith Blackburn Award and Obie Award winner My Left Breast by Susan Miller; and Laurence Olivier Award winner Betrayal by Harold Pinter.

"We're eager to dig into the stories we have planned for this summer," said Artistic Director Allyn Burrows. "It's a great honor to welcome Christopher Lloyd to our mainstage in the title role of King Lear, directed by the wonderful Nicole Ricciardi. We pop into the Roman Garden Theatre with Much Ado About Nothing, directed by the talented Kelly Galvin, and are excited for the Comedy of Errors, directed by the master of clown, Michael F. Toomey."

Under the leadership of Burrows and Managing Director Adam Davis, Shakespeare & Company is proud to present a season with award winning actors and playwrights. King Lear will be directed by long-time Company member Nicole Ricciardi (Time Stands Still, Creditors, 4000 Miles) and features the Drama Desk and Emmy Award-winning Christopher Lloyd (Taxi, Back to the Future trilogy) and Burrows as the Fool. This summer the Company is also excited to welcome back Company actors including: Elizabeth Aspenlieder (Elliot Norton and Berkshire Critics Award winner), MaConnia Chesser, Tamara Hickey (IRNE and Elliot Norton Award winner), Nigel Gore (Elliot Norton Award winner), Corinna May, Annette Miller (Berkshire Critics Award and Elliot Norton Award winner), Jonathan Epstein (Berkshire Critics Award and Elliot Norton Award winner), Michael F. Toomey, and Ryan Winkles.

"The Labyrinth of Love is the overarching theme of the season, as just about every show explores some aspect of love-the hope for it, the sting of it, the joy of it, the ache of it," continued Burrows. "The modern plays continue in that vein with the accomplished James Warwick directing The Lifespan of a Fact, the estimable Tina Packer directing Row After Row, and the amazing Regge Life directing Pinter's classic, Betrayal. We'll present the sublime What Rhymes with America directed by the gifted Normi Noel, and are thrilled to have the superb Alice Reagan back to direct a workshop of Measure for Measure, as well as the brilliant Nela Wagman to direct a reading of the powerful piece, My Left Breast."

"The Lifespan of a Fact engaged me immediately," said Warwick. "Even with a discerning ear and analytical eye on all the news that we get fed every day, how do we know what to trust? What are the facts, and how are they distilled, spun, and marketed-to sell, engage, and entertain? This play asks all this and more, with dialogue that is funny, thought-provoking, and incredibly current."

"Row After Row is a multi-layered play that looks at our desire to exalt in the past and perhaps understand our present, as we fumble our way to the future," said Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer. "Set in this present moment in time, we get flung back into the Civil War and struggle to understand not just the mentality that makes us want to fight, but how we might possibly find a way to peace, unity, and a desire to be with people we are suspicious about."

"I'm thrilled to be taking on this piece by fellow Canadian, Melissa James Gibson," said Noel. "Her writing evokes Samuel Becket for me, nuanced, funny, aching to make connection."

"Betrayal is a favorite of mine," said Life. "I saw the original production on Broadway and was fascinated by the twist in the storytelling that starts with the end and unpacks the story in reverse. Marriage is a bond, a bond consummated by vows-vows of fidelity, honesty and trust. Partners share and celebrate their love, but what about that primal energy that can drive us beyond these bonds-lust. There is a 'law of attraction' that cannot be resisted, a law that creates secrets and lies. Betrayal is about these primal feelings where we betray not only the ones we love, but also ourselves."

"In Measure for Measure, young people are thrust into positions of power for which they are ill-equipped, with disturbing and violent result," said Reagan. "Angelo is suddenly appointed sovereign of a chaotic and debauched city. He restores order with repressive laws and an iron fist of justice. Isabella, one of the most interesting and complex women Shakespeare created, is given a brutal choice: to save her brother's life she must give up her body, and consequently, her soul. When sex becomes the ultimate tool of manipulation, relations between women and men become twisted, perverse-and trust disappears on both sides."

"I have had the privilege to direct Susan Miller's play My Left Breast since it's first developmental workshop, its premiere at Actors' Theatre of Louisville, and it's Obie-winning Watermark Theater production in New York City," said Wagman. "This astonishing play continues to inspire me with its wry, often laugh-out-loud humor, courage, and insight. A contemplation of love, loss, self-acceptance, and survival, the play charts a journey that speaks to everyone, men and women, lovers and friends, parents and children."


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