The behind-scenes-blog of Bare Theatre and its affiliates.

Out of the Gates in 2014!

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With a powerfully transformative year behind us, we launch into this Year of the Horse at full gallop.  An original Bare Theatre production begins to tour, three other productions explore oft-overlooked plays by William Shakespeare, and we begin to delve into some of the other noted Jacobean writers.

Five full productions are on tap for this year, three to finish out our ninth season and two in our our tenth.  We will return to some of our favorite places to play as well as discover new spaces.  Here’s a quick rundown of things to come:

February 21 – March 16: Let Them Be Heard (In Winter)

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The original slave quarters cabins at Horton Grove, Historic Stagville.

The critically-acclaimed original drama based on real slave narratives returns to Historic Stagville in Durham, this time with new characters and stories from North Carolina history.  The program is a walking tour that moves in and out of the original slave quarters at Horton Grove, stopping by the bonfire pit outside.  Narratives detail life during slavery and The Civil War, and they give insight into life during Reconstruction and beyond.

After a two-week run at Historic Stagville, Let Them Be Heard moves to The ArtsCenter in Carrboro for our first-ever performance there.  ArtsCenter Stage Director Jeri Lynn Schulke will take over directing to adapt the show to the theater space and the show will expand to 75 minutes with more narratives.  Let Them Be Heard runs at The ArtsCenter March 7 – 16.

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The ArtsCenter in Carrboro.

Later in the year, in June and July, we will also begin to tour Let Them Be Heard to other historic plantation sites, including Hope Plantation and Historic Somerset Place.

March 27 – April 12: Cymbeline

At the end of March, we take on an oft-overlooked gem from William Shakespeare.  Cymbeline is a true favorite of some of our company members, and has been referred to by some as “Shakespeare’s greatest hits.”  The play is epic, spanning locations and genres, and thus it is difficult to categorize.  As such, scholars have listed it among Shakespeare’s comedies or tragedies.

We place it among the comedies because it fits the original sense of the term “comedy” – meaning that the protagonists succeed and there is a happy ending.  There is still plenty of humor, however, often provided by the villains of the play.  There is betrayal and sadness as well, and the play culminates with a huge battle.  There’s romance, laughs, tears, even a beheading…This is a play well worth taking in!

Laura Bess Jernigan, who performed in the very first Bare Theatre production ever, directs Cymbeline with a cast of nine who will double and triple-up roles.  She is very interested in the recurring theme of rebellion found in the text, and is taking this production “underground.”  We will be performing for our first time in the Cordoba Arts Center at Golden Belt in Durham.

Cordoba Arts Center
The cavernous Cordoba Arts Center space.

May 23 – 31: Two Noble Kinsmen: Fire & Shadows

This Spring we return to Stephenson Amphitheatre at Raleigh Little Theatre for the third time with a play not usually included in Shakespeare’s canon.  The Two Noble Kinsmen is attributed to both Shakespeare and John Fletcher, another renowned writer of the era who took over as house playwright for The King’s Men after Shakespeare.

“Kinsmen” is a re-telling of Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Knight’s Tale” from The Canterbury Tales, and the story centers around two cousins of nobility who both fall madly in love with the same woman and are eventually forced to fight each other to the death.

The theme of this production, “fire and shadows,” reunites Bare Theatre with fire and pyrotechnics artists from Cirque de Vol Studios and Mesmerizing Arts, and will also include shadow play mixed in with live action.  The mix of light and dark, fire and shadow, along with a gripping script will captivate audiences in the beautiful outdoor setting.

Mundi Broda with fire fans in last year's "The Comedy of Errors."
Mundi Broda with fire fans in last year’s The Comedy of Errors.

Season X

Our tenth full season kicks into high gear with another lesser-known work by Shakespeare: Coriolanus.  This time Bare Theatre will team up with parkour/freerunning athletes from the newly-opened Enso Movement to perform an unforgettable outdoor experience.  Inspired by the Moral Monday protests at Halifax Mall in downtown Raleigh (which tie in remarkably well with the political climate in the play), we will turn the government complex into our stage and lead audiences on a thoroughly modern take of this gripping tragedy.

parkour silhouette

We then turn to the pool of other Jacobean playwrights that get overlooked because of Shakespeare’s prominence.  Veteran actor Matt Schedler, who last directed The Merchant of Venice for Bare Theatre, directs a bloody tale called The Revenger’s Tragedy.  The play, originally published anonymously in 1607, was performed by The King’s Men and attributed later in the century to Cyril Tourneur, although modern scholars believe it more likely to have been written by Thomas Middleton.  Nonetheless, fans of violent revenge dramas will enjoy this show next October.

revengers title

It’s going to be an exciting year.

We want to thank everyone who has participated with Bare Theatre in 2013 – the actors, directors, crew members, Kickstarter supporters, and of course, audience members!  Theatre is about community – live, in person, visceral and intimate – and it is about memorable experiences that cannot be duplicated in the same way on film or television.  The community we have found in the Raleigh-Durham area has been wonderful, and we simply could not do any of this without all of you.

2014 stands before us.  Come join us for the fun!

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