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James Loehlin, Director 208 West 21st Street, Stop B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4726

Shakespeare at Winedale's 44th Season

Posted: May 12, 2014
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Shakespeare at Winedale’s 2014 Summer Class takes the stage this summer with performances of The Taming of the Shrew, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and, for the first time at Winedale, Troilus and Cressida. The season will open on Thursday, July 17th and run through Sunday, August 10th. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 7:30pm, with matinees on Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $10 for general admission or $5 for students as well as UT faculty and staff, and may be ordered online through the Shakespeare at Winedale website, www.shakespeare-winedale.org.

The Shakespeare at Winedale program, housed in the College of Liberal Arts at UT, offers students a unique opportunity to explore Shakespeare’s rich and complex texts through the creative act of play. Established in 1970 as an undergraduate English course, Shakespeare at Winedale has grown into a year-round program reaching many different groups across the state and country.  Students in the summer program spend two months living in the Texas countryside, studying and performing three plays in the nineteenth-century barn that has been converted into an Elizabethan theatre.

This summer’s plays focus on love; from the first exciting days of courtship, to the trials of marriage, to devastating heartbreak, Shakespeare wrote about it all. Shakespeare at Winedale Director, James Loehlin says, “The Taming of the Shrew, an early play, presents a boisterous and energetic account of wooing as an all-out 'battle of the sexes'; The Merry Wives of Windsor takes a more mature perspective on middle-aged couples, asserting that 'Wives may be merry, and yet honest too'; and Troilus and Cressida, from Shakespeare's tragic period, is a shrewd and complex look at love in the context of war.”

A perpetual audience favorite, The Taming of the Shrew, will delight with its fast paced humor. Shakespeare’s outrageous comedy follows the courtship of the clever and sharp-tongued Katarina and the facetious, fortune-seeking Petruchio. Petruchio is set on marrying the spirited Kate, but the road to matrimony is filled with scintillating sarcasm and tumultuous tomfoolery.

The comedy continues with The Merry Wives of Windsor. Experience the raucous antics of a love-struck Sir John Falstaff, Shakespeare's beloved fat knight, as he attempts to woo the housewives of Windsor. He gets more than he bargains for when he matches wits with Mistresses Page and Ford. Urban legend has it that Queen Elizabeth was so taken with the character of Falstaff  in Henry IV that she asked for a play to be written about “the fat knight in love.” Come see why everybody adores this big-bellied gentleman.

A darker side of love is examined Shakespeare’s epic Trojan tragedy, Troilus and Cressida, a heartbreaking tale of two young lovers torn apart by war and political turmoil. In the seventh year of the Trojan War, Troilus, a young prince, falls in love with Cressida, a traitor’s daughter. The two begin a doomed romance while war wages around them. Loehlin says, “Troilus and Cressida is a play that too few people know, and we are proud to be presenting this fascinating and sophisticated play for the first time.  It is both a great love story and an illuminating and rather cynical take on one of the great war stories, the siege of Troy recounted in the Iliad.  The fates of characters like Achilles, Hector, Agamemnon, and Helen of Troy are interwoven with the touching story of one of Shakespeare's most original star-crossed couples.”

In addition to the regular summer performances, there will be number of special events at Winedale this season. Thursday, July 24th, is our annual Fayette County Night. The performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor begins at 7:30pm and tickets for Fayette County residents are only $4. All attendees will be entered into a free raffle with door prizes given away after the performance.

On Sunday, July 27th, the summer class will perform a staged reading of John Fletcher’s The Woman’s Prize, or The Tamer Tamed, a sequel to Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. In The Tamer Tamed, Kate the shrew has died and Petruchio is now married to the even more difficult Maria, who will stop at nothing to teach her husband a lesson.The reading will begin at 7:30pm. Tickets are $10 for general admission or $5 for students as well as UT faculty and Staff.

Our annual Season Finale is Saturday, August 9th, beginning at 6:30pm with a special catered reception and special pre-show entertainment before the evening performance of The Taming of the Shrew; all tickets are $25.

After the students complete their work in residence, they will tour to Austin and Dallas, Texas, as well as the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia, home to the world’s only historical recreation of Shakespeare’s Blackfriars stage.

For a full schedule of performances or more information about the Shakespeare at Winedale program, please visit our website: www.shakespeare-winedale.org or contact the Program Coordinator Liz Fisher at (512) 471-4726 or lfisher@austin.utexas.edu.

 

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