Love the classics, but think they’re old hat? WSC Avant Bard has something for you this year: two brand-new reimagined classics (one by the Bard), plus one classic from our own time.
The WSC season starts with a fresh take on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, called Illyria, or What You Will. Playwrights Jonelle Walker (who took on The Taming of the Shrew for WSC Avant Bard and created an original play, Tame) and Mitchell Hèbert, who also directs, have taken Shakespeare’s gender-bending comedy and recast it in a 1980’s Manhattan dive bar, where a thousand genders bloom, and a thousand schools of thought contend. From October 18 to November 19, 2018.
The company will give us the straight take on a modern classic when it produces Suzan-Lori Park’s Top Dog/Underdog in March of next year. The Pulitzer-winning drama tells the story of two African-American brothers, named Lincoln and Booth, who relentlessly try to outdo each other while going through the worst times in their lives. “What, at first, starts off as a rousing comic drama makes a conversion to searing social commentary, all in the span of its last few moments,” said DCTS’ Amitra Khalid, reviewing a production of the play at Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre five years ago. Top Dog/Underdog will run from March 14 to April 14, 2019.
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Having given us comedy from England and drama from the States, WSC Avant Bard will turn to France for its final production: A Misanthrope, a re-do of Moliere’s The Misanthrope in slangy modern couplets by Matt Minnicino, a frequent adapter of classics. A Misanthrope will run from May 30 to June 30 of next year.
Although most tickets to WSC Avant Bard productions are $40, Artistic Director Tom Prewitt has announced that the company will set aside a “limited number” of pay-what-you-will tickets for each show.