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Theatre Erindale Mounts Neglected Masterpiece

 

 

 

 

The Maid's Tragedy was a popular fixture in the repertoire for hundreds of years, during which its authors' works were often preferred to Shakespeare's. But the play was far too racy for Victorian tastes, and virtually disappeared from the stage. Only in the late twentieth century did its exciting possibilities begin to be recognized again. After a couple of pioneering productions (in one of which Pierce Brosnan played the King!), it was chosen for the first full season of Shakespeare's New Globe in London in 1996. There have been multiple London productions since, as well as others in Glasgow, New York, Washington, Syracuse, and Kansas City. To date we know of no others in Canada. It is just possible that Theatre Erindale is mounting the Canadian Premiere! 

 

 

As The Guardian demanded after a recent London production, "Why isn't Beaumont and Fletcher's Jacobean tragedy better known? It deals with sex and power, is full of strong situations and written in fluidly accessible language." And the Syracuse New Times wrote, "Verdi and Puccini could not have asked for a grander death scene."  

 

 

The works of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher feature easy and mellifluous verse, spicy sex, sensational situations, and abundant humour. In The Maid's Tragedy, a powerful king abuses his own subjects by marrying his mistress off to a young nobleman who is trying desperately to stay loyal. As a result the kingdom's leading warrior foments rebellion, while the young man's jilted fiancee makes drastic plans of her own. Also featured are the most elaborate song-and-dance sequence in all of Jacobean drama, multiple swordfights, and a climactic confrontation on the battlements of a castle. The play asks the questions: what is the difference between a ruler and a tyrant? Who will be compelled to do something about it? And what could be the consequences if they do? Current events in our own world suggest that these issues are still far too relevant for comfort. 

 

 

Artistic Director Patrick Young is at the helm, with original music by Christopher Dawes, choreography by Sarah Jane Burton, and fight direction by Daniel Levinson. Period costumes by Joanne Massingham reflect the exotic mix of Greek, Byzantine, Persian, and Crusader influences in medieval Rhodes. 

 

 

Theatre Erindale mainstage productions feature the performances of senior Acting students in the joint Sheridan-UTM Theatre and Drama Studies Program with the design and direction of seasoned professionals. They take place in the intimate state-of-the-art Erindale Studio Theatre on the campus of the University of Toronto at Mississauga. Some performances sell out, so early booking is recommended. For further information, or to order tickets, call the Erindale Studio Theatre Box Office at 905-569-4369 or visit www.theatreerindale.com

 

 

The Maid's Tragedy by Beaumont & Fletcher
directed by Patrick Young, with Music by Christopher Dawes, Choreography by Sarah Jane Burton,
Fight Direction by Daniel Levinson, Costumes by Joanne Massingham 

Erindale Studio Theatre,

3359 Mississauga Road North
between Dundas and Burnhamthorpe 

Previews February 8, Opens February 9, runs to February 17 

Tuesday - Thursday 7:30PM, Friday - Saturday 8:00PM, matinee February 17 2:00PM 

$14.00 Adults, $9.00 Students/Seniors (Parking in Lots 1 or 2: $5.00) 

Box Office: 905-569-4739 or www.theatreerindale.com 


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