Aaron Posner Stages Rare KING JOHN At Folger Theatre

By: Sep. 20, 2018
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Aaron Posner Stages Rare KING JOHN At Folger Theatre Secret deals. Threats of mass destruction. Shifting loyalties. Folger Theatre follows its sold-out run of Macbeth with King John, Shakespeare's rarely performed history play chronicling King John's turbulent reign from 1199 to 1216. Directed by six-time Helen Hayes Award-winner Aaron Posner, the production features Kate Eastwood Norris (Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew) as Philip Faulconbridge (the Bastard) and Holly Twyford (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Arcadia) as Arthur's tragic mother, Constance. Brian Dykstra, last seen on the Folger stage in Romeo and Juliet, will play the inscrutable King John.

King John is on stage from October 23 through December 2, 2018. Tickets are available online at www.folger.edu/theatre or by calling the Folger Box Office at (202) 544-7077.

King Richard "the Lionheart" is dead. His younger brother John gains the throne to become King of England, an inheritance that is instantly questioned by the King of France and Constance, who both declare that Arthur, John's nephew, is the true heir to the throne. Against this backdrop of suspicious legitimacy, John maneuvers among a sea of ambitious pretenders, religious politics, familial corruption, and deceptions that threaten the kingdom and his reign. Taking his audience back to the time of the Magna Carta, Shakespeare slyly commented on the politics of his own day in a toxic brew of ambition and indecision in this rarely staged but timely history play.

"One of the great gifts of King John is that the language is rich, evocative, and really powerful. The action and energy of the play really live in its language," says Aaron Posner. King John Marks Posner's 20th production at Folger Theatre. "It is a fascinating, complicated, wonderfully flawed play, full of fascinating, complicated, and wonderfully flawed people. Nearly everyone is after power, and no one is very good at getting it or keeping it. This ancient tale of kings and conquest is personal, political, and very human."

Helen Hayes Award-winners Kate Eastwood Norris and Holly Twyford last shared the Folger stage in 2015 as dueling queens in Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart.

The cast of King John also features Akeem Davis as Louis the Dauphin, son of King Philip of France; Maboud Ebrahimzadeh as the noble English Lord, Salisbury; Kate Goehring as Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, mother of King John; Megan Graves as Arthur, nephew of John and the rightful heir to the throne of England; and Howard W. Overshown as Philip, King of France. Alina Collins Maldonado (Blanche of Spain), Sasha Olinick (Cardinal Pandulph), Brian Reisman (Prince Henry and others), and Elan Zafir (Hubert) round out the cast.

Andrew Cohen (Studio Theatre's Murder Ballad) is scenic designer, marking his Folger Theatre debut. Costumes are by Sarah Cubbage who was assistant costume designer of Folger's Sense and Sensibility. Max Doolittle is the lighting designer, and Lindsay Jones (Folger's The Tempest) designed the sound and composed original music for King John.

"In this 2018/19 season showcasing theater's ability to 'shake the world,' as Constance says, we are giving King John the royal treatment," Janet Alexander Griffin, Folger Theatre's Artistic Producer, says. "We are thrilled to have the talents of Aaron Posner and this extraordinary cast bring a timely history play of political posturing and covetous transgressions to life just blocks away from the Capitol building."

King John is presented in concert with the Folger Shakespeare Library's exhibition Churchill's Shakespeare, on display in the Folger's Great Hall October 6, 2018 through January 6, 2019. A towering leader during World War II, who gave hope to wartime Britain in its most difficult years, Winston Churchill was a lifelong admirer of Shakespeare, whose work shaped his writing and his ideas. This exhibition, curated by the Folger's Georgianna Ziegler, brings together photographs, posters, theater programs, letters, manuscripts, and other rare items from the Churchill Archives Centre at Cambridge, the Folger Shakespeare Library, Churchill's home Chartwell, and other collections. Visit www.folger.edu/exhibitions for details; free.

King John is on stage at Folger Theatre from October 23 through December 2, 2018. Tickets are $30-$85. Discounted preview performances and special rates for patrons under 30, students, seniors, members and family of the military, educators, and groups may be purchased through the Folger Theatre Box Office at (202) 544-7077 or online at www.folger.edu/theatre.


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