Folger Theatres’ 2017-18 season, announced yesterday morning, will be full of plays by the usual gang: Shakespeare, Congreve, Shaw. But not everything will seem familiar.
The theater that sits in the shadow of the Capitol will begin with the great political play, the bard’s Antony and Cleopatra. This is the story of a Roman politician’s most profound love — for power and position. Cody Nickell (most recently in School for Lies) plays the man who would be Emperor, and Shirine Babb (Folger’s Julius Caesar) is the Queen for whom love is a tool of State in this Robert Richmond (Timon of Athens)-directed production. Antony and Cleopatra will run from October 10 to November 19, 2017.
Theresa Rebeck (Mauritius), who was one of the first well-recognized theater figures to complain about how women are underrepresented in the community of produced playwrights, will be represented in this year’s Women’s Voices Theater Festival with her original adaptation of William Congreve’s The Way of the World. Congreve’s play is an early 18th-century comedy in which property rights as much as love drives the complicated pairings. In Rebeck’s adaptation, set in the present day, one percenters revel in inheritance rights and high-dollar real estate as an adjunct to outspoken lust. With Luigi Sottile and Elan Zafir; Rebeck will direct. From January 9 to February 11 of next year.
From March 13 to April 28, 2018, Aaron Posner will be directing Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, the story of a King whose jealousy and insecurity triggers a tsunami of rage, grief, exile and death, followed by a swamp of remorse. Featuring Michael Tisdale, Katie duBuys, Kimberly Gilbert and Eric Hissom.
Finally, Bedlam Theater will once again be in town, this time to perform George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan. The play, which Shaw wrote three years after Joan of Arc’s canonization, sought to strip some of the mythology around her by placing her in the middle of a rich tapestry of political and military leaders. Bedlam, having presented a well-received production of Sense and Sensibility for Folger last year, will do some stripping of its own: the 22 characters in Shaw’s play will be played by four actors. Eric Tucker will direct Saint Joan, which will run from May 12 to June 3 of next year.
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