BEDLAM: HAMLET + SAINT JOAN Come to The Broad Stage, 4/5-15

BEDLAM: HAMLET + SAINT JOAN Come to The Broad Stage, 4/5-15

The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica presents Bedlam, the acclaimed New York based theatre company, with a fresh kinetic look at two plays with four actors, playing 49 characters in William Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw's most famous creations, side by side, Hamlet and Saint Joan, in repertory April 5 to 15 at The Broad Stage. This engagement will be the company's West-Coast debut.

These iconic figures are brought vividly to life in two riveting, unexpectedly funny, stripped-down stagings by four actors from Bedlam: Aubie Merrylees, Aundria Brown, Kahlil Garcia and Sam Massaro. The actors rocket from character to character at a lightning-bolt's pace. And even the stage and the audience will shift from show to show, and from act to act. These productions from the high wire, adrenaline fueled New York City theater company are directed by Artistic Director Eric Tucker.

Tucker said in an interview with The Boston Globe, "When you know a play pretty well and you come in and see four actors do it, you're going to hear the text differently. I think anything we can do to make people really hear it is a good thing. Andrus Nichols, the company's producing director adds, "We do it essentially with two chairs and in jeans, and with a very small handful of props. The staging and the set and all of that really puts the impetus on the imagination of the audience, which of course can create way better special effects than we can on the kind of budget we operate on. And it also makes us all partners in the trip of it."

Ben Brantley in The New York Times said, "The troupe calls itself Bedlam, which gives you some idea of its ferocious energy, but none at all of its clarity, precision and blissful good sense. They give us Shakespeare and Shaw with the enthusiasm of youth, yes, but also with a level of insight that is usually arrived at only through years of close reading and exploratory performance. As far as I was concerned, the warmth and effervescence of what I had just witnessed had turned winter into springtime. Anyone who listens to the eminently sane and persuasive voices of Bedlam is destined to become a convert."

Terry Teachout in The Wall Street Journal, said, "Bedlam's off-off-Broadway version of 'Saint Joan' is the most exciting George Bernard Shaw revival I've ever seen, bar none. Eric Tucker has reconfigured the script for a woman and three men ... Tucker's staging fuses Shakespearean speed with Brechtian directness. Stately it isn't, but thrilling it most definitely is.".

John Timpane in The Philadelphia Inquirer said, "Bedlam's Saint Joan is a flat-out masterpiece. I don't care how you go, just go. Their rendering of Saint Joan, perhaps the most worldly play ever written involving religion, is aglow with humanity, wisdom, and a tragic awareness of history. Bedlam preserves the crackling tension throughout, particularly in the fabulous Act 3, a mini-play in which Joan's destroyers argue out their clashing reasons. It could be a disaster on stage, but Bedlam infuses it with hair-raising force."

For Bedlam, Prince Hamlet is depressed, a dark, enigmatic prince obsessed with seeking revenge for his father's death. Having been summoned home to Denmark to attend the funeral, he is shocked to find his mother already remarried to his father's brother, Claudius. Worse still, Claudius has had himself crowned king despite the fact that Hamlet is heir to the throne. No wonder Hamlet suspects foul play.

In Saint Joan, an epic story, Shaw paints Joan of Arc not as a saint, witch or madwoman, but a farm girl, who is an illiterate intellectual, a true genius whose focus on the individual rocked the Church and State to their core. She is a steadfast rebel who challenged the powers of the church to restore France to greatness.

Tickets are on sale now at www.thebroadstage.org and by calling 310.434.3200. In addition to traditional house seating, patrons have the opportunity to purchase seats on stage for a closer, more intimate relationship to the action. In each production, some audience members will be seated on risers on the stage for two of the three acts. For the other act, these audience members will be in the rear of the orchestra. Learn more about onstage seating here.

As Bedlam Artistic Director, ensemble member, and director of both Hamlet and Saint Joan describes, "For us, it's about making the audience know they're part of the play. Their own placement feeds the energy of the story. As the audience gets moved around, they're sharing the space with us. There's no 'this is your area, this is our area.' This is at the heart of what we do."

The set design is by John McDermott (associate set designer is Clifton Chadick). The lighting design is by Les Dickert. The fight direction is by Trampas Thompson.

About Bedlam
Eric Tucker and Andrus Nichols co-founded Bedlam in 2012, presenting George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan on a shoestring budget with only four actors playing over 25 characters. The show received instant recognition and was extended four times. In 2013, Bedlam produced William Shakespeare's Hamlet with the same four actors, again playing over 25 characters amongst themselves. Hamlet ran in repertory with Saint Joan and both productions were then transferred for a commercial Off-Broadway run at The Lynn Redgrave Theater in the winter of 2013/2014.

During the 2014 and 2015 seasons, Bedlam produced two Off-Broadway remounts, two World Premieres, one American Premiere and two different productions of Twelfth Night running in repertory with one another, all receiving additional acclaim. Bedlam's Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, adapted by Bedlam company member, Kate Hamill and directed by Artistic Director Eric Tucker was extended three times. Another major hit with the critics, Peter Hempstead of Theatermania explained it best: "This hysterical, endlessly inventive production captures Austen's penchant for satire while inducing laughs with an ever-changing set and 10 brilliant actors who never seem to stop moving. It's one of the funniest, most engaging productions now running Off-Broadway."

Additional past shows include Peter Pan, The Seagull, Dead Dog Park, and New York Animals.

Bedlam's productions have been noted as Ben Brantley's "Critics' Picks" for The New York Times six times, are were included on The New York Times "Top Ten Best Show Lists" two times, as well as those of The Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine respectively. The Wall Street Journal also named Eric Tucker as "Director of the Year" in 2014. Bedlam has won three Irne Awards, two Off-Broadway Alliance Awards and an Obie Grant. Bedlam has also been nominated for two Lucille Lortel awards, a Drama League award, and five Elliot Norton awards, winning for Outstanding Visiting Production and Best Ensemble for Saint Joan and Outstanding Visiting Production for Twelfth Night / What You Will. Bedlam also offers a free Veteran Outreach program and adult education workshops in acting, producing and directing. www.bedlam.org

Theatre at The Broad Stage made possible in part by a generous gift from Bill and Laurie Benenson and Susan Stockel.

ABOUT THE CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM

Eric Tucker (Director) The Wall Street Journal "Director of the Year 2014." Off-Broadway: Peter Pan (Bedlam, Duke on 42nd); Vanity Fair (The Pearl); Bedlam's Sense and Sensibility (Off-Broadway Alliance Award, Lortel nom, Best Director, Drama League nom, Best Revival); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Drama League nom Best Revival, WSJ Best Classical Production 2015; NY Times Critics Pick), Bedlam's Saint Joan (NY Times/Time Magazine top 10; Off-Broadway Alliance Best Revival 2014), Bedlam's Hamlet (NY Times top 10; Time Out NY and Backstage Critics' Pick), Tina Packer's Women of Will. For Bedlam: Sense and Sensibility A.R.T.; Hamlet/Saint Joan McCarter Theater; Central Sq. Theater (Elliott Norton Outstanding Visiting Production/Outstanding Ensemble, Boston Globe Top Ten); Dead Dog Park, New York Animals (World Premiere by Steven Sater/Burt Bacharach), Twelfth Night and What You Will (NY Times Critics Picks), The Seagull (WSJ Best Classical Production 2014). Other: The Merry Wives of Windsor (Two River), Disney's Beauty & The Beast (OSF); Pericles (APT, WSJ Best Classical Production 2017); Sense and Sensibility (The Folger Theater, 4 Helen Hayes awards including Best Director and Best Production), Copenhagen (Central Square Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Two Gentlemen of Verona (HVSF), Mate (The Actors' Gang). Eric received his M.F.A. from the Trinity Rep Conservatory. He resides in New York City where he is Artistic Director of Bedlam.

AUNDRIA BROWN (Gertrude/Ophelia and others in Hamlet; Joan in Saint Joan) Regional: Actions & Objectives (Triad Stage) Crumbs from the Table of Joy (Martha's Vineyard Playhouse). Local: CRH (The Kraine Theater); Aint No' Mo (New York Theater Workshop); Mary/Stuart (BAM); What I Tell You in the Dark (National Black Theater Of Harlem). Voice over work: Man in the High Castle: Resistance Radio. Education: University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Give a listen to me as Miss Evangeline for Man in the High Castle:Resistance Radio @ www.resistanceradio.com website coming soon @ driabrown.com.

KAHLIL GARCIA (Polonius/Horatio and others in Hamlet; Dauphin/John de Stogumber and others in Saint Joan) Kahlil is thrilled for his Bedlam debut! Regional Theatre: Pride and Prejudice (Bingley), MacBeth (MacBeth), As You Like It (Oliver) New York Theater: The Tempest (Caliban), Hard Times (Blackpool) Film/TV: "The Newsroom," "The Goodwife," "The BlackList." Founding Member 15-501 Productions (@15501pros) Twitter/IG: @kg_garcia MFA: UNC Chapel Hill. BFA: Pace University.

SAM MASSARO (Claudius/Rosencrantz and others in Hamlet; Cauchon/Poulengey and others in Saint Joan) recently graduated from UC Irvine with his MFA in Acting. A NY based actor from Florida, he's worked regionally with companies including Mad Cow Theatre, Summer Repertory Theatre, New Swan Shakespeare festival and the B Street Theatre. Some favorite roles include Robert in Boeing Boeing, Touchstone in As You Like It, Lee in True West, Liam in Bad Jews, and Michal in The Pillowman. He will be making his film debut this year opposite Christian Bale in Adam McKay's Backseat. A proud member of Actors Equity and honored to be represented by the team at CLA Management!

AUBIE MERRYLEES (Claudius/Rosencrantz and others in Hamlet; Cauchon/Poulengey and others in Saint Joan) (Actor #1) Regional credits include Hand to God (Philadelphia Theatre Company), Caucasian Chalk Circle (Yale Rep), Stupid Fucking Bird, and Rachel Bonds' At the Old Place (Arden Theatre Company), The Aliens (Theatre Exile), The Liar (Lantern), My Romantic History (Inis Nua), and A Bright New Boise (Simpatico). Aubie is also a company member at People's Light & Theatre, where he has appeared in more than ten productions, including End Days, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Beautiful Boy, and Stargirl. He is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama. For Mom, always.

John McDermott (Set Design) For Bedlam: Hamlet, Saint Joan, New York Animals, Sense & Sensibility, The Seagull, Dead Dog Park. HVSF: Pride and Prejudice, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Measure For Measure, As You Like It, The Winter's Tale, The Arabian Nights. Shakespeare and Company: 4,000 Miles, Red Velvet, The Comedy of Errors, The Taming, Ugly Lies the Bone. Other shows include The Singing Forest (NYSF); Play Yourself (New York Theater Workshop); Dry Land, Everything is Ours, Fish Eye (Colt Coeur Company member). Rattlestick Playwrights Theater: 25 designs including 3C, Lady, The Undeniable Sound of Right Now, The Revisionist. Assistant Professor, Adelphi University.

Les Dickert (Lighting Design) Les Dickert designs for a diverse range of contemporary and classical theater, modern dance, ballet, and international performance art. Many off-Broadway productions include Bedlam's Sense and Sensibility, The Seagull, New York Animals, Twelfth Night, What You Will, and Cry Havoc; Regional: Shakespeare and Company, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Geva Theater, Perseverance Theater, Syracuse Stage, Triad Stage, Arden Theater, others. Dance: White Oak Dance Project, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, San Diego Ballet, Orlando Ballet. International: Le Louvre, Centre Pompidou, La Scala, and the National Ballets of England, Denmark, Australia, Belgium, Canada and Russia. Awards: Mahindra, Ovation, multiple Hewes nominations. Les is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

Trampas Thompson (Fight Director) is thrilled to be collaborating again with his friends from Bedlam. In addition to choreographing the original critically acclaimed run of Bedlam's Hamlet, his theatrical work includes Women of Will for Tina Packer and Richard III for Shakespeare Dallas. Trampas has been a professional stuntman and stunt coordinator in film and television for over 20 years. His 100+ credits include four Pirates of the Caribbean films, National Treasure, and Zombieland, among many others. Trampas was Michael Keaton's stunt double in the films Birdman and Spider-Man: Homecoming. He is a member of SAG-AFTRA and the Directors Guild of America. Complete credits can be found on IMDb.

Photo by C. King Photography



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