Anthony Heald Reprises "Shagspeare" Role in DC Run of Equivocation, Starting Nov. 18

News   Anthony Heald Reprises "Shagspeare" Role in DC Run of Equivocation, Starting Nov. 18
 
One great American resident theatre welcomes the work of another starting Nov. 18 when Arena Stage hosts the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of Bill Cain's Equivocation, featuring two-time Tony Award nominee Anthony Heald and the original 2009 cast.

Anthony Heald
Anthony Heald Photo by Jenny Graham

Performances of the fictional look at Shakespeare's encounter with political power play the Kreeger Theater, the proscenium space within Arena's Mead Center for American Theater in Washington, DC. This is the play's DC premiere.

This marks the first collaboration between Arena Stage and OSF. Directed by OSF artistic director Bill Rauch, Equivocation also reunites the original creative team of the 2009 world-premiere production.

Equivocation runs to Jan. 1, 2012.

Arena artistic director Molly Smith said in a statement, "As a national center dedicated to American theatre, Arena Stage is committed to presenting the best work from artists across the country."

Here's how Equivocation is billed: "In 1605 London, the worlds of King James and the Gunpowder Plot collide with William 'Shagspeare' and his theatrical troupe in a startling cat-and-mouse game of politics and art. This high-stakes political thriller reveals the complexities of the truth and the terrible consequences of compromise. Follow Shakespeare and his acting company as they create one of his most magnificent masterpieces." The cast of Equivocation features longtime OSF resident actors including Heald as Shag, Jonathan Haugen as Cecil, John Tufts as Sharpe, Richard Elmore as Richard, Gregory Linington as Armin and Christine Albright as Judith. OSF supports one of the largest resident acting companies remaining in the United States.

Director Bill Rauch, who last worked at Arena Stage 18 years ago on A Community Carol, said in a statement, "Equivocation is one of only a handful of times in my life as a director when I have read a new play where my heart started to pump faster, and I become obsessed with serving the playwright's vision by directing the play. Bill Cain chronicles a historical episode, but his play is completely contemporary in its language and its exploration of the intersection of politics, religion and art."

Cain, who wrote the play in the wake of 9/11, said, "What I know about history, I learned from Shakespeare. And that's dangerous because this man who has shaped our understanding of history was on the government payroll creating instant history to match a political agenda. 'Speaking truth to power' was not his goal. But mustn't he — late at night — have yearned to? Given his extraordinary skills — how might he have changed history — and our understanding of it — if he had?"

Cain's new play How to Write a New Book for the Bible launched this fall in a co-production between Berkeley Rep and Seattle Rep.

The creative team of Equivocation also includes set designer Christopher Acebo, costume designer Deborah M. Dryden, lighting designer Christopher Akerlind, composer and sound designer Andre Pluess, movement director John Sipes, voice and text director Rebecca Clark Carey, dramaturg Lue Morgan Douthit, assistant lighting designer Michael Maag, stage manager Randall Lum and assistant stage manager Mandy Younger.

For tickets and information, visit www.arenastage.org.

Jonathan Haugen, Richard Elmore, Gregory Linington and John Tufts
Jonathan Haugen, Richard Elmore, Gregory Linington and John Tufts Photo by Jenny Graham
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