Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Two Plays, One Stage, Every Day, All Month

Seattle Shakespeare Company presents

rotating repertory of Chamber Julius Caesar

and West Coast Premiere of Swansong

during January 2008

SEATTLE – Seattle Shakespeare Company’s stage will be well-used as the company will present two plays in rotating repertory seven days a week during January. Chamber Julius Caesar and the West Coast Premiere of Swansong will share the Center House Theatre stage and split the week for a month-long theatrical event. Adapted and directed by Gregg Loughridge, Chamber Julius Caesar opens on Friday, January 4 (low-priced preview on January 3) and will run through January 27. Chamber Julius Caesar is Shakespeare’s dazzling political thriller that explores the complexities of power as one man’s death causes a community to descend into violence and instability.

Swansong, written by Northwest native and Broadway star Patrick Page, will be directed by Artistic Director Stephanie Shine and will open Tuesday, January 8 and run through Wednesday, January 23. Swansong is the comic and remarkable story of the friendship and rivalry between two towering artists in their prime: William Shakespeare and poet/playwright Ben Jonson. (Please see attached calendar for complete performance schedule)

Support for Chamber Julius Caesar and Swansong is provided by 4 Culture, ArtsFund, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, TPS, Seattle Weekly, and 94.9 KUOW.

The idea to present Chamber Julius Caesar and Swansong in rotating repertory and in counterpoint to one another was conceived by Artistic Director Stephanie Shine when she heard a reading of Swansong for the first time at the home of friend and actor David Pichette. “I knew I wanted our audiences to be a part of this play. But how?” says Shine. “Because of our shared theatre situation, there was no room within the calendar year to expand our four play season, unless we worked on what are our traditionally off nights. And that’s when the idea arrived. We could, with two separate casts, perform two plays in rotating rep 7 days a week.” Chamber Julius Caesar will perform for the public Thursday through Sunday afternoon (the company’s traditional performance schedule) and Swansong will perform at 7:30 Sunday through Wednesday. Swansong will also have general admission $20 tickets for the run.

Director Gregg Loughridge takes a unique approach to Chamber Julius Caesar. Rome ” won’t be the Rome of togas and sandals, but more akin to a cross between a martial arts dojo and a utopian/spiritual community. Within this republic of Rome a new kind of leader has emerged, but his charisma and compassion threatens the rigid discipline of the old order. Under the rallying cry of “freedom” and “the common good,” two factions vie for the attention of the citizenry. As the community’s spiritual/religious practices of martial arts and swordplay blend with the political machinations, trouble ensues and the spiritual practices spin out of control and into war. In the aftermath, one man struggles with his choices and must figure out how to save the republic from crumbling into dictatorship.

The cast of Chamber Julius Caesar features Peter A. Jacobs (Julius Caesar), David Quicksall (Brutus), Hana Lass (Cassius), Brandon Simmons (Casca/Chorus), David S. Hogan (Antony), Kelly Kitchens (Portia), Gordon Carpenter (Cinna/Messela), Kate Witt (Calpurnia/Octavius), Gavin McLean (ensemble), Jessica Hatlo (ensemble).

In Swansong, the Bard of Avon has been dead for seven years and the public has all but forgotten him. On orders from King James, poet Ben Jonson must compose a poem introducing the first collection (First Folio) of his friend’s great plays while wrestling with feelings of guilt, envy, and the fear that history will forget his own work. Swansong is a story of love, loss, and regeneration that allows us to imagine one of the most extraordinary friendships of all time. Swansong was nominated by the American Critics Association for Best New Play.

Swansong playwright Patrick Page was born in Spokane and raised primarily in Monmouth , OR . As a young child, he watched his father perform Shakespeare at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland , and the theatre bug took hold. Patricks Broadway acting credits include Scar in The Lion King and three years as Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast. Other Broadway credits include Decius Brutus in Julius Caesar (starring Denzel Washington), Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (standby for Roger Daltrey) and multiple roles in The Kentucky Cycle. He has appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC; Long Wharf; Pioneer Theatre Company, The Utah Shakespeare Festival, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, ACT, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Missouri Repertory Theatre, and Cincinnati Playhouse, among many others. Patrick is married to actress and former Trading Spaces host Paige Davis.

The cast of Swansong features Tim Gouran (Will Shakespeare), Brandon Whitehead (Ben Jonson), and Ian Bell (John Heminges).

To purchase tickets to Chamber Julius Caesar and/or Swansong, call the Seattle Shakespeare Company box office (206) 733-8222 or go online at Regular box office hours are Tuesday through Friday 1:00-6:00 PM. During performance weeks, in addition to regular hours, the box office opens one hour prior to curtain. Seattle Shakespeare Company performs at the Center House Theatre at Seattle Center .

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