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Curtain Calls XTRA

By |2003-04-03T09:00:00-05:00April 3rd, 2003|Uncategorized|

STRATFORD, Ontario – The Stratford Festival of Canada will explore the diverse and fascinating influence of classical Greek theatre in its 2003 season, Artistic Director Richard Monette announced recently.
“These are wonderful, ancient tales told, and retold,” said Monette, explaining that Greek tales have fed the imagination of many playwrights, including William Shakespeare. “As we begin our next 50 years at the Stratford Festival, we’re taking this golden opportunity to honour the genesis of Western theatre and explore how the Greeks have influenced us all.”
Of the five Shakespearean plays planned for the 2003 season, three – “Pericles,” “Troilus and Cressida” and “Antony and Cleopatra” – are rooted in Greek history and legends. “While people think of Cleopatra as an Egyptian, she was in fact a descendant of the Macedonian leader, Ptolemy, and was the first of the Greek Ptolemies to learn the Egyptian language,” said Monette, who traveled and studied in Greece on a recent sabbatical. Two plays by Ancient Greek writers – “The Birds” by Aristophanes and “Agamemnon” by Aeschylus – will be joined by two modem adaptations of tales from the House of Atreus legend: “Electra” by Jean Giraudoux and “The Flies” by Jean-Paul Sartre. Rounding out the Shakespearean offerings are “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Love’s Labour’s Lost.”
Monette, who is committed to mounting the entire Shakespeare canon during his time as Artistic Director, has now programmed 33 of Shakespeare’s 38 plays.
The Festival will also put on two musicals in the 2003 season – “The King and I” by Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Festival Theatre and “Gigi” by Lerner and Loewe at the Avon Theatre. “We are, as I always say, a festival, which means we are rooted in our founding playwright, William Shakespeare, but we also offer a wide range of theatrical experiences for our audiences,” said Monette. The show specially chosen to appeal to family and young audiences is “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” a Canadian adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris.
The Stratford Festival’s commitment to new play development and Canadian plays continues in the 2003 season both in the playbill and in an ambitious workshopping program. The second part of Peter Hinton’s Swanne trilogy – “The Swanne: Princess Charlotte (The Acts of Venus)” – will be mounted in 2003, and the Festival will revive a classic of Canadian theatre, the Governor General Award-winning “Quiet in the Land” by Anne Chislett. “We remain committed to developing new work here and are delighted to continue Peter Hinton’s extraordinary trilogy,” said Monette. Public workshop readings of new plays will be announced at a later date.
And finally, beloved Festival veteran Brian Bedford returns as both director and actor in one of the great classic comedies of the modem era, Noel Coward’s “Present Laughter.”
“This is a beautifully balanced playbill that will build on the momentum of our 50th season,” said Executive Director Antoni Cimolino. “It literally has something for everyone, from a child to the most experienced theatergoer.”

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