July 8 - August 9
ELIZABETH REX, by Timothy Findley
Directed by Paula Suozzi
This brilliant, award-winning play imagines Queen Elizabeth spending the eve of her lover's execution in the company of William Shakespeare and his players. Seeking distraction from her grief, she watches Much Ado About Nothing and afterward, banters with Ned, the actor who played Beatrice, about his playing a woman, and her playing a man. Meanwhile, Shakespeare is writing a new play called Antony and Cleopatra – about a Queen's tragic affair with her lover – which Elizabeth finds suspiciously familiar. Elizabeth Rex will be performed in repertory with both of these Shakespearean plays, making a trilogy of uniquely connected productions that cannot be missed.
Please note: this show contains adult themes, adult language, and suggestive dialogue.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, by William Shakespeare
Directed by Jonathan West
Messina's soldiers have returned from victory abroad to discover new battles at home! Sworn bachelor Benedick and his fiery counterpart Beatrice engage in a war of words and wit while their friends watch their attraction grow stronger with every skirmish. Meanwhile, Claudio plans to wed his true love Hero, unaware of the villainous Don John's desire to foil his plans. Will these battles end in victory? Our exciting production has the answers – and a whole lot more – featuring the same actors who play these parts in Elizabeth Rex. Our investigation of Shakespeare's original practices continues with a hilarious all-male production of MUCH ADO.
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, by William Shakespeare
Directed by Kevin Rich
Shakespeare's epic portrayal of Mark Antony's intoxication with the stunning Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. Drunk with passion, the Roman war hero and leader neglects his duties back home, ignores prophecies, and enrages his former allies by choosing Egypt and its beautiful ruler while the Roman Empire hangs in the balance. When Octavius Caesar turns on Antony, is his attack on Egypt enough to rouse the smitten soldier into action? Often requested and seldom performed, this production is as enchanting as its Queen. In our repertory, Cleopatra will be played by the same actress who plays Queen Elizabeth in Elizabeth Rex.
Note: Our printed brochure indicates that the staged reading of All's Well That Ends Well is being performed on April 21, when in fact it will be performed on April 28. For more information, see the description here.
Illinois Shakespeare Festival Cleverly Connects Three Plays
By: Laura Kennedy
Originally aired on December 4, 2013
It's holiday time, but the Bloomington-Normal-based Illinois Shakespeare Festival is already thinking of summer and their 2014 season. Festival Artistic Director Kevin Rich is currently casting for the three plays that are each uniquely connected to each other. WGLT's Laura Kennedy has more - Hear the interview
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