Shakespeare's PRISONS Comes to TheaterLab

Performances run June 15 - 18.

By: Jun. 06, 2023
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Smoking Mirror Theatre Company, dedicated to producing Shakespeare's plays in the New York City area, announced that it will present the pre-Off-Broadway engagement of Shakespeare's Prisons: Tales of Conscience and Illusion, June 15 - 18, as a (TLab Shares Hosts) guest production at Theaterlab, 357 West 36th St. (3rdfloor).


Conceived, produced and directed by John Gordon and Nancy Rich, the production is a theatrical collage of select scenes from a number of Shakespeare plays that feature literal or psychological prisons and has a fitting resonance with our times, coming after years of covid isolation.

Shakespeare explores the psychological prisons that life imposes or that we unconsciously accept, robbing us of experiencing reality, says Co-Director John Gordon. “Illusions about ourselves and the world we live in keep us imprisoned as surely as physical bars. Everybody has their own list of these that are increasingly prominent in today's world. Perhaps the fact of seeing that we are in prison is the first step toward freedom.”

The cast of Shakespeare's Prisons: Tales of Conscience and Illusion features Martin Challinor, Soraya Dabdoub, Brian Jennings, Julia Klinestiver, Gregory Kowlessar, Anna Marzullo, Bellamy Woodside Ridinger, and Mira Singer.


Performances of Shakespeare's Prisons: Tales of Conscience and Illusion are on Thursday & Friday, June 15th - 16that 7:30 pm; Saturday, June 17th at 3:00 pm & 7:30 pm; and Sunday, June 18th at 3:00 pm.


Tickets are $15 - $25 (plus fees), and can be purchased online at


John Gordon has performed, directed and studied acting in New York City for over 25 years, with an emphasis on Shakespeare.  He has played leading roles in New York including in Hamlet (Claudius) and Timon of Athens (Timon) and directed Timon of Athens at Theatre Row in the City, and more recently conceived and directed a production of Shakespeare's Clowns and Fools at Playwrights Horizons, a collage of scenes from various Shakespeare comedies featuring clowns and fools.  He has performed improv in New York City and over the years directed numerous theatrical short pieces for special occasions, including for charitable and educational organizations in the city.


Nancy Rich is a member of Actor's Equity and has performed in numerous roles throughout the NY/NJ area for the past 25 years, including -- Princess Kosmonopolis in Tennessee Williams, Sweet Bird of Youth, Queen Margaret in Shakespeare's Richard III, the Nurse in Euripides, Medea (Gallery Players, Brooklyn); Ranevskaya in Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard (Arc Light Theater, NYC), the Nurse in Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, (Pax Amicus, NJ); as well as Gertrude (Hamlet), Arkadina (The Seagull), Olga (Three Sisters), Mme. Voynitsakaya (Uncle Vanya) Elizabeth (Richard III), Portia/">Portia (Julius Caesar), Hecate (Macbeth), Elizabeth I in Robert Bolt's Vivat! Vivat Regina! and as Theodosia Dudgeon in George Bernard Shaw's The Devil's Disciple at the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. She was assistant director of Shakespeare's Timon of Athens at the Kirk Theater, NYC and Shakespeare's Clowns and Fools at Playwrights Horizon's, NYC.  Nancy has studied with Patsy Rodenberg, Ben Steinfeld (Fiasco Theater), Michael O'Keefe, (Bedlam Theater), George Bartenieff and Katarina Sergava (HB Studios).  


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