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LIKE TO A LONELY DRAGON: SHAKESPEARE'S ELECTION OF CORIOLANUS will be presented in-person and online Friday, October 9 at 8:00 pm (CDT).


Tennessee Shakespeare Company continues its "Essential" 13th performance season on Friday, October 9 with an election season look at William Shakespeare's most political and perhaps relevant tragedy in Like to a Lonely Dragon: Shakespeare's Election of Coriolanus.

The fourth entry of nine in TSC's new Dr. Greta McCormick Coger Literary Salon Series, Like to a Lonely Dragon is curated by TSC Founder and Producing Artistic Director Dan McCleary, who also leads the company of actors in the title role.

The Salon will be presented both in-person on TSC's Owen and Margaret Wellford Tabor Stage and simulcast online beginning at 8:00 pm (CDT), to be followed by a brief talkback with the actors. The Salon will run approximately 50 minutes.

The Acting Company also includes Michael Khanlarian, Lauren Gunn, Jasmine Robertson, Simmery Branch, Ural Grant, and Blake Currie.

Shakespeare's late-life play (1608) frequently is overlooked as a political powerhouse of both rhetoric and love, usually in favor of Julius Caesar. However, the raw modernity of Coriolanus has been appreciated by both political leaders and progressive theatre companies in the last two centuries for national propaganda and citizen protest mobilization.

"For a story that was ancient and well-known, the play's ending was and remains surprising and moving," says McCleary. "It is a harsh, bloody, painful look at a young Republic struggling with its checks and balances through the austere nurture of male Roman virtue. For all of the play's violence and glorification of military and political rule, it nevertheless is framed and influenced by a feminine perspective: the women in Coriolanus' family, and Caius Martius Coriolanus himself. This leads to a personal sacrifice that we do well to remember during our own election season. We all must be Tribunes of the people right now. We all must vote."

Based on Plutarch's Lives of Noble Greeks and Romans, which was going through first-time English translations as Shakespeare was growing up and writing, Martius was a real person who, at a boy's age, helped defeat Rome's Tarquin kings in 510 B.C.E. Shakespeare hews closely to Plutarch's story, which takes place from 493-489 B.C.E. The fatherless Martius is raised as a killing machine, "a thing of blood," and his mother extols the number of physical wounds in her son's body as she forces him to stand for political office, being of the patrician class. Martius cannot help but speak his disdain for the office and the plebian class; and with his potent threats and opposition in the Senate, he is banished from Rome only to join his arch enemy in laying vengeful siege to his home and his family. But when the women and children of Martius' family are deployed in supplication to him, what happens next is knowingly mortal.

"It isn't unusual that Shakespeare would use Plutarch for his Roman plays," says McCleary. "But it is compelling that he is likely penning most or all of Coriolanus during a quarantine period in London, also immediately following his own mother's death, as well as in the wake of England's corn riots and protests in the midlands. The peoples' voices, their rights, and the government starving them and preventing supplies from getting to them launch both the ancient Roman story and, potentially, Shakespeare's desire to dramatize it. While it is illegal for him to put current events on stage, Shakespeare's mortal examination of brutalized political systems and the people for whom they are created to serve reflects both sides of Fascist arguments that will be made in the centuries to follow."

The Salon will feature approximately ten scenes extracted from the play, interspersed with conversation about their creation and relevance.

Box Office

Purchase tickets online at or by calling (901) 759-0604 Monday-Friday from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. The Salon will be available to patrons as both an in-person and digital online experience.

Online option:

The online presentation will show only once via a one-camera setup on TSC's website with a time-stamped, specific password provided to patrons on the day of the Salon. The digital waiting room opens 15 minutes prior to curtain. All digital online tickets are $15.

In-person option:

In-person seating at the Tabor Stage is strictly limited to 54 socially-distanced patrons. Face coverings must be worn. Patrons must answer basic health screening positively and provide contact information prior to theatre entry. Patrons may select the preferred seating section, and TSC will then select socially-distanced seats based on the party's size and the order in which tickets were purchased.

Tickets in Seating Section One are $25 in-person (Students $18/Seniors $22). Tickets in Seating Sections Two and Three are $18 in-person (Students $15/Seniors $18). Tickets must be purchased in advance of the Salon (not at the door), printed, and brought with patrons to the theatre. The house will open 30 minutes prior to curtain.

Credit Card charges require a $1 per-ticket fee. Schedule subject to change with notice. Free parking at TSC. There are no refunds/exchanges.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company's 13th Performance Season Continues

FREE Shout-Out Shakespeare:

Romeo and Juliet

a modern, pandemic production

by William Shakespeare

directed outdoors by Stephanie Shine

sponsored by Evans/Petree, P.C. and Campbell Clinic

October 11-24

Halloween's Tell-Tale Heart: Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, and Flannery O'Connor

Salon curated by Stephanie Shine and Dr. Diane Dombrowski

Friday, October 30 at 8:00 pm

From Dublin to the Sea: John M. Synge

Salon curated by Stephanie Shine

in honor of Pat and Ernest Kelly

Sunday, November 8 at 3:00 pm

A Little, Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving: Louisa May Alcott

Salon curated by Stephanie Shine

Sunday, November 22 at 3:00 pm

A Christmas Carol: Charles Dickens' Dramatic Premier Reading in Boston

Salon curated and read by Dan McCleary

December 4-20

The Hunting Heart: Carson McCullers

Salon curated by Stephanie Shine

Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 3:00 pm

Twelfth Night

comedy by William Shakespeare

directed by Stephanie Shine

on the Owen and Margaret Wellford Tabor Stage

February 25 - March 7, 2021

The Elizabethan Feast: Gala Benefit

a fun, breezy party to benefit our Education Program

on the Owen and Margaret Wellford Tabor Stage

sponsored by TSC's Board of Directors

Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 6:00 pm

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