BST Presents Two Solo Shows Based On Characters From Shakespeare
A pair of fascinating solo shows that strive to reclaim two controversial Shakespeare characters hit the stage at Catskill's adventurous Bridge Street Theatre from August 15 - 25. Roxanne Fay's "Thrice to Mine" and Gareth Armstrong's "Shylock" will be performed in rotating rep on the BST Mainstage under the umbrella title "...And Every Tale Condemns Me For a Villain".
Generally perceived as villainous in the plays in which they appear - "Macbeth" and "The Merchant of Venice", respectively - Lady Macbeth and Shylock receive far more probing and sympathetic scrutiny in each of these bracing theatrical inquiries. To quote yet another, more unambiguously malevolent Shakespeare character: "And what's he then that says I play the villain?" Were these two "villains" actually - villains?
Princess. Wife. Mother. Witch. Murderer. Queen. Roxanne Fay's "Thrice To Mine" opens a new door into the heart of Gruoch ingen Boite, the woman on whom Shakespeare modeled the character we know as Lady Macbeth. Based on the historical figure of Gruoch herself and of the times in which she lived, "Thrice To Mine" presents a woman denied power by society and gender politics who learns from the other women in her life how to fight back and to control and maintain her personal power. Through magic and lore, the story of her extraordinary life becomes a rich, fulfilling, and deliciously dark experience. Created during a residency at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland, where playwright/performer Roxanne Fay was a 2016 Hawthornden Writing Fellow, "Thrice To Mine" is being presented here in Catskill in its world premiere engagement.
Neither apologia nor indictment, Gareth Armstrong's "Shylock" is, instead, a celebration of the infinite possibilities inherent in Shakespeare's problematic play "The Merchant of Venice". Through its main character, Tubal (the only other Jewish man apart from Shylock in the whole of Shakespeare), the play takes a tummler's-eye view of the entire history of anti-Semitism (right up to the present), of the character of Shylock himself, and of the wildly varying ways in which the role has been interpreted through the years. It also incorporates large swaths of Shakespeare's original dialogue, holding it up to the light and revealing startling and unexpected facets and nuances. Actor Steven Patterson originally performed "Shylock" in 2007 at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, in a critically-acclaimed production directed by the playwright himself (the first time Armstrong had allowed the play to be performed in English by anyone else), and, co-incidentally, stage managed by Roxanne Fay! After viewing this funny, thought-provoking, and haunting piece, you'll never be able to look at "The Merchant of Venice" in the same way again.
"...And Every Tale Condemns Me For a Villain" is recommended for audiences ages 13+ and alternates performances on Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00 and 7:00pm from August 15 - 25, 2019 at Bridge Street Theatre, 44 West Bridge Street, in Catskill, NY, just a block and a half west of Main Street across the Uncle Sam Bridge, which spans Catskill Creek. You can view the shows individually or in "one fell swoop" at Saturday and Sunday Marathons (with a break in between).
General Admission is $25, Students 21 and under are only $10. Discounted advance tickets are available online at thrice.brownpapertickets.com and shylock.brownpapertickets.com or by calling 800-838-3006.
Tickets will also be sold at the door one half hour prior to each performance on a space available basis. "Pay What You Will" performances will be held on Thursday evening August 15, Friday evening August 16, and at both the matinee and evening performances of the Sunday Marathon on August 18 ("Pay What You Will" tickets are available only at the door one half hour prior to these performances). For more details, visit the theatre online at BridgeStreetTheatre.org.
Events at Bridge Street Theatre are supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and by Public Funds from the Greene County Legislature through the Cultural Fund administered in Greene County by the Greene County Council on the Arts.