The ambitious resident Equity theatre Triad Stage, in Greensboro, NC, presents artistic director Preston Lane's version of the comedy through June 26. The title concludes Triad's tenth season. The production contains adult language and themes. Opening night is June 10.
In the play, directed by Lane, "the hot new place to party is a masquerade where the young and hip go wild," according to Triad. "Two fathers arrange the marriage of their children, but when the kids fall in love behind masks with someone they think they've never met, everything that can go wrong is almost certain to get even worse. Add in a mother who just wants to dance, faithful servants determined to protect young love and enough disguises to make your head spin."
Lane discovered Masquerade during a trip to Norway a few years ago. He said in production notes, "I was surprised to see Holberg's name engraved next to Ibsen's above the doors to the National Theater. I had no idea who he was. But the question of why he deserved his place next to Ibsen became clear when I actually discovered his work in a brilliant production of Masquerade."
Born in 1684, Holberg, known for his comedies, is sometimes called the Moliere of the North. His great works include Jeppe of the Hill, Masquerade and Erasamus Montanus, which were later translated for performance in France, Germany, Holland and England during his century, according to Triad.
"Masquerade is two hours of absolute delight that should be as popular with American theatres as it is with Scandinavian companies. Masquerades turned the world upside down. In the very restricted world of 18th-century society, they allowed people to engage with each other behind the safety — and equality — of a mask. In the celebration of the night, everything they claimed as essential to their identity in the daylight was gone and they could be whoever they wanted. As a result, masquerades were radical and dangerous to the status quo." The 13-member cast is a mix of professional actors and University of North Carolina Greensboro acting students and includes Brad Bellamy, Mark Boyett, Molly Grey Davis, Katie Esswein, John Feltch, Dierdre Friel, Cheryl Koski, Rosser Lamason, Thomas Mendolia, Brittany Polk, Chris Raddatz, Lorraine Shackelford and Phillip Wright.
The creative team includes scenic designer Fred Kinney, costume designer Kelsey Hunt, lighting designer John Wolf, sound designer David E. Smith, projections designer Nicholas Hussong and wig designer Michael Ferguson. The dramaturg is Drew Barker, the fight director is Jim Wren, and the movement director and choreographer is Denise Gabriel. Cindi Rush is the casting director, the stage manager is Bree Sherry and the assistant stage manager is Emily J. Mails.
Triad performs on a unique three-quarter thrust stage carved out of a former department store in Greensboro's shopping district. For more information, visit www.triadstage.org.
In 2011-12, Triad will produce Preston Lane's adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's classic A Doll House.