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Brave Spirits Theatre Presents In Upcoming Season THE KING'S SHADOW

During a tumultuous period of less than a hundred years, England experienced civil war and political upheaval as the throne switched hands nine times. Shakespeare dramatized these events over the course of his career in eight remarkable plays: Richard the Second, Henry the Fourth Part 1, Henry the Fourth Part 2, Henry the Fifth, Henry the Sixth Part 1, Henry the Sixth Part 2, Henry the Sixth Part 3, and Richard the Third. With an ensemble of twenty actors, Brave Spirits Theatre will stage these eight plays over the next two years, culminating in marathon performance weekends during July 2021.

Shakespeare's epic eight play saga captures the cyclical nature of violence and history while showcasing poignant domestic stories of families and their divided loyalties. Each chapter in this saga is extraordinary in its own right; together, they become a theatrical event unlike any other. Over the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Brave Spirits Theatre will make history by becoming the first professional American theatre company to mount full productions of Shakespeare's two tetralogies and perform them in repertory. Performing near the nation's capital, Brave Spirits will bring a distinctly American stamp to these plays and stage them in the company's signature actor-driven, intimate, and dark style.

BST's Artistic Director Charlene V. Smith will be the first woman in the world to lead an eight-play cyclical staging of these plays. Following BST's mission and values, Shakespeare's Histories will consider them through a specifically feminist lens, placing the two halves of the cycle in direct contrast, asking how race and gender influence the struggle for power in American society.

In this season, The King's Shadow, Brave Spirits Theatre presents Richard the Second, Henry the Fourth Part 1, Henry the Fourth Part 2, and Henry the Fifth. These first four plays follow the troubled passing of the English crown from the philosopher King Richard II, to the conqueror King Henry IV, to his rogue son, Prince Hal. With his father's deeds looming over him, Hal indulges in a reckless adolescence that tarnishes his reputation. But when the time comes to rule, Hal must take control of how history will remember him, unite his country, and become the legendary King Henry V.

In the next season, The Queen's Storm, Brave Spirits Theatre will present Henry the Sixth Part 1, Henry the Sixth Part 2, Henry the Sixth Part 3, and Richard the Third. These second four plays dive headfirst into the ferocious conflict spawned by a cruelly bought peace. Confronting the tempest is Margaret of Anjou, a princess from lands abroad who rises to become England's queen. Faced with threats and treachery from every direction, Margaret's is a tale of resilience, ambition and, finally, the very nature of evil, with the rise of Shakespeare's most famous villain, King Richard III. The Queen's Storm will mark the first time in the DC-metropolitan region that full productions of the three parts of Henry the Sixth have been professionally staged.

The King's Shadow is directed by BST Artistic Director Charlene V. Smith. The ensemble cast includes Michael Bannigan Jr., Justin J. Bell, Zach Brewster-Geisz, Dean Carlson, Jaqueline Chenault, Gary DuBreuil, Brianna Goode, Lisa Hill-Corley, Tom Howley, Caroline Johnson, Brendan Edward Kennedy, Annette Mooney, Duane Richards, Jillian Riti, Ian Blackwell Rogers, Nicole Ruthmarie, John Stange, Molly E. Thomas, and Joshua Williams. The production and design team includes Kristen P. Ahern (costume designer), Jason Aufdem-Brinke (lighting designer), Megan Behm (intimacy choreographer), Jenna Berk (dialect coach), Caolan Eder (props designer), Hannah Fogler (makeup designer), Amanda Forstrom (movement director), Jordan Friend (associate director, composer, music director), Marshall B Garrett (dramaturg), Megan Holden (set designer), Casey Kaleba (fight director), Jen Katz (production stage manager), Claire Kimball (project dramaturg), and Emily MacLeod (dramaturg).

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