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Robert Cuccioli, Chukwudi Iwuji, Socorro Santiago and More to Star in Benefit Reading of A KING AND NO KING

Red Bull Theater's Benefit Reading will take place on Monday December 14th at 7:30 PM EDT.

Robert Cuccioli, Chukwudi Iwuji, Socorro Santiago and More to Star in Benefit Reading of A KING AND NO KING

RED BULL THEATER today announced that its fall offerings will continue with a benefit reading of A King and No King by Francis Beaumont & John Fletcher, directed by José Zayas and featuring Rajesh Bose, Robert Cuccioli, Edmund Donovan, Franchelle Stewart Dorn, Topher Embrey, Chukwudi Iwuji, Teresa Avia Lim, Cara Ricketts, Socorro Santiago, Reagan Tankersly, Craig Wallace, and CJ Wilson, on Monday December 14th at 7:30 PM EDT.

"One of my personal favorite house playwrights for Red Bull is actually two playwrights -- the much talked about but rarely performed duo of Beaumont & Fletcher, who together quilled some of the most delightful and surprising plays of the Shakespearean era. Alongside the natural pleasures of a surprisingly funny tragedy, A King and No King also offers some particularly piquant allegory for this time of transition from one administration to the next. With a wildly wonderful cast under the top-notch direction of José Zayas, I think we're all in for a wonderful holiday treat - the kind of festive play only the Jacobeans can offer!," said Artistic Director Berger.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely in this delicious Jacobean tragicomedy. Arbaces, the King of Iberia, conquers Tigranes, King of Armenia, and offers him noble treatment -- and his sister, Panthea, for a wife. But it's been awhile since Arbaces has seen Panthea, and when he does, he is seized with incestuous passion. Arbaces resists this forbidden love with all his might -- until Panthea professes she loves him too! But now, what to do about Tigranes?

This event will premiere LIVE at 7:30 PM EDT on Monday, December 14th. A recording of the livestream will be available until 7PM EDT on Friday, December 18th - then it disappears forever. This is a free event, but advance reservations are recommended. Make a tax-deductible donation today to support Red Bull and invest in the vitality of classical theater for a contemporary audience.

Red Bull Theater is committed to continuing connection during this historic time. Your support will help make that possible. A donation of $25 or more per viewer is suggested. On Thursday December 17th at 7:30 PM EDT, there will be a free post-performance Bull Session, an interactive discussion of the play and its themes with director José Zayas, scholar Mario DiGangi, and some of the other artists involved. Registrants will receive a link to participate.

Scholar Mario DiGangi offers, "For many twentieth-century critics, A King and No King (1611) is the prime example of a Beaumont and Fletcher play: a certain kind of sensationalistic, artificial, and amoral tragicomedy that depicts extreme sexual scenarios and provides implausible resolutions for seemingly intractable problems. In The Pattern of Tragicomedy in Beaumont and Fletcher (1952), Eugene Waith finds in A King and No King all the defining formal characteristics of seventeenth-century tragicomedy, including stylized language, intricate plots, protean characters, and a focus on strong passions. For other critics, scandalous themes and exaggerated characters make tragicomedy a 'decadent' genre, a falling off from the tragic grandeur and dignified romance of late Shakespeare. Writing in 1960, Robert Ornstein compared Fletcher's thematically daring plays not to the edgy, urbane drama of Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller but to Hollywood hackwork that indulged the 'housewife's escapist desire for romance and adventure.' More recent scholarship has taken tragicomedy more seriously, illuminating how Beaumont and Fletcher engaged with pressing contemporary social and political issues such as militarism, monarchical government, and changing gender roles."

Francis Beaumont (1584-1616) and John Fletcher (1579-1625) were the famous "double act" of Jacobean playwriting. They began their careers independently, but by 1606 they produced their first collaboration, The Woman Hater, a satire on London life. Together, they would write at least twelve plays, including their two most successful, Philaster, or Love Lies a-Bleeding (1608) and The Maid's Tragedy (1611). Although Beaumont retired from the theater in 1613, Fletcher continued writing for the stage until his death. He wrote plays alone and with other partners (including Shakespeare, whom he replaced as the leading playwright for the King's Men), but it was his collaboration with Beaumont that endured in the public memory. Together, they made popular the tragicomedy, a mixed form that audiences adored.

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