It's Shakespeare's birthday again, and to celebrate, my students are taking a test on The Tempest. Lest they be less than enthused, when they finish it I will present them with "Shakespeare cookies," decorated with the faces of characters in the plays we have read this semester.
Playhouse director Jerry Eaton is all about pushing the envelope. This man of the theater -- whom DNA evidence has shown to be a twenty-sixth cousin to Richard Plantagenet, or King Richard III -- was
the driving force behind his company’s 2010post-nuclear, dystopian Annie, 2012’s all-female La Cage Aux Folles, and the controversial 2013 Arcadia Elementary
School production of Full Metal Jacket. This
time, however, he’s got Shakespeare companies from Chicago to New York sitting
up and taking notice.
He's chosen to set
Hamlet in late-sixteenth-century Denmark,
and to cast a 30-year-old man in the title role.
“It took a
while to convince the cast,” Eaton confesses. “When I sprang it on them at the
first read-through, they were incredulous. Several stormed out. Our key actress
had of course assumed she