Quantum Theatre Explores The Universe Of One Woman With SHAKESPEARE'S WILL
Quantum Theatre presents Canadian writer Vern Thiessen's poetic and modern play that gives voice to Anne Hathaway, the enigmatic wife of William Shakespeare. Very few facts are known about her, but he remained married to her until his death, and in his oddly-specific will bequeathed the house in which Anne had lived and reared their family to his sister; to Anne he left "my second-best bed." The play offers Anne in the moments after his funeral, giving her a full-throated voice and every emotional color imaginable, putting Anne at the center of her own story instead of relegating her to a footnote in Will's. The production is directed by Melanie Dreyer, returning for the first time since directing Yerma in 2008. Melanie is the Chair for the Department of Drama, University of Alberta.
Continuing Quantum's long history of transforming non-theater spaces, the performance will take place in a Mon Valley hidden treasure (as opposed to the nearby, very visible Carrie Furnace, site for King Lear). West Homestead United Methodist Church provides a cozy and intimate setting that references the contested house in Stratford-Upon-Avon. It is transformed by Quantum's team of visual artists: Steffi Mayer-Staley (set), Joe Seamans (projections), C. Todd Brown (lights), and Bonnie Siefers (costumes). Water figures heavily in both the most cherished and the bitterest of Anne's memories, and inspires the design team, which includes violinist Dawn Posey, performing a live violin score that is extended by Steven Shapiro's sound design.
Sheila McKenna portrays Anne, bringing an understated ferocity to this intriguing character, offering a glimpse into the inner life of a woman about whom the world wonders much. Thiessen's Anne is endowed with longings and recriminations that make the play a robust exploration of feminist themes resonant even in the #Me Too present. And it provides a tour-de-force for McKenna, a cherished staple of Pittsburgh theatre and former Post-Gazette Performer of the Year. Joining McKenna is Simon Nigam, who alludes to Anne's son, Hamnet, drowned tragically at a young age.
Shakespeare's Will performances are November 8th - December 1st, Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 PM; Sundays at 7 PM. No performance Tuesday November 12. No performance Thanksgiving Nov. 28. An additional closing weekend matinee Saturday November 30th at 3 pm. Free parking is available in a municipal lot 2 blocks from the church, and street parking is available. Tickets can be purchased by calling 412-362-1713 or online at www.quantumtheatre.com/will. Prices range from $38-$55. Discounts available for students and groups of 10 or more by calling 412-362-1713.
- Pay What You Can Night on Wednesday, November 6th
- Community Night on Thursday, November 7th, with free tickets for Homestead residents
- Opening/Press Night on Friday, November 8th, with a post-show champagne reception.
- Post-Show Q&A on Sunday, November 10th, Q&A session with the cast and team.
- Social Q sponsored by Reed Smith LLP on Wednesday, November 13th, a preshow reception and look at Pittsburgh through Quantum's eyes.
- Quantum Quaff on Thursday, November 14th, a pre-show wine tasting event.
- Quantum-on-the-Couch on Saturday, November 23rd, a post-show discussion of the psychology of the characters with Dr. Manuel Reich
Now in its 29th season, Quantum Theatre is a company of progressive, professional artists dedicated to producing intimate and sophisticated theatrical experiences in uncommon settings, exploring universal themes of truth, beauty, and human relationships in unexpected ways. Quantum Theatre is devoted to eclectic experimentation, staging its works in environmental sites that inspire directors, designers, and performers, and delight audiences. They reflect Pittsburgh's character, history and architecture, and are as different from one another as a monumental blast furnace, grand museum, an abandoned industrial site, a modern office tower, a beloved City lake, and a waterless indoor swimming pool. The company is influenced by theater artists working in new ways around the world, often bringing such artists to its Pittsburgh laboratory, where Quantum assembles unusual artistic teams, empowers creativity, and nurtures bold ideas.