Have you ever watched “The Good Place” on Netflix? The Tragical Comical Fool’s Game is kind of like that, but with Shakespearean characters.
Last year, five graduate students (studying Shakespeare at the aptly named Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-Upon-Avon) were tasked with creating an hour long play “inspired by Shakespeare.” The final product was The Tragical Comical Fool’s Game. For the UK production, they wrote, designed, produced and performed in the show at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s studio space: The Other Place. Now four of the original ensemble members are bringing the show to Washington, DC!
You’ll find yourself seated in an airport bar waiting for a delayed flight to Illyria. A man appears. He looks like a bartender, but he’s wearing a sign that says “Fool.” As the hour unfolds, you’ll realize that he is pulling the strings, so to speak. But what exactly are the consequences of his puppet mastery? What is he trying to do exactly?
Enter Bella, an almost nun. Bella has been snatched out of the ending of Measure for Measure, right before making the biggest decision of her life: fully commit to the sisters, or marry the Duke of Vienna. Easy peasy.
To help her make this decision, the Fool enlists the strategic duo of Tony (stolen from Twelfth Night) and Em (read: Emilia from Othello) to sway Bella one way or the other. As the two putter around the airport bar drinking margs and lecturing Bella on the pros and cons of the “rhythm method,” Bella tries her darnedest to wade through the malarkey and figure out what she truly is doing in this airport.
Meanwhile, the Fool explains to Katie (an homage to Kate from Taming of the Shrew) the methodology behind the madness: “Everyone needs a chance to create their own world. Somewhere that is right for them. And I help people do just that.”
And that’s just it, isn’t it? We all are constantly searching for who we are and where we are. All we can hope for is that when that plane finally takes off, we know where we are headed.
So, yeah, imagine a world where The Truman Show meets “The Good Place” meets your college philosophy class on Existentialism. The Fool’s Game is kind of like that. Plus the Shakespeare angle. Yeah. Just like that!
Susannah Eig is an actor and director in the Washington, DC area. A Maryland native, Susannah went to college in Houston, TX and then received her MA from The Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK. This past year, she served as the artistic apprentice at Round House Theatre. As director: The Tragical Comical Fool’s Game (UK production), The Altruists (Rice Theatre Program), and The Mystery Plays (Rice Players). As assistant director: The Legend of Georgia McBride (dir. Tom Story), Winter’s Tale (dir. Aaron Posner), Book of Will (dir. Ryan Rilette), and I’ll Get You Back Again (dir. Rachel Chavkin). As actor: Lynn in The Baby (Next Iteration Theatre Company), Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (Texas Repertory Company), and Morgan in All Girls (4th Wall Theatre Company). She is thrilled to be bringing TTCFG to DC and hopes to see you all at the Fringe!