Chicago Shakespeare's World's Stage Series Presents Multilingual
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Director Tim Supple's Adaptation—a Vivid Dream from India
featuring Acrobats, Dancers, Martial Artists and Musicians
November 25 through December 7, 2008
ChicagoOctober 3, 2008Chicago Shakespeare Theater's (CST) international programming initiative, the World's Stage Series, brings Tim Supple's bold, breakthrough adaptation of William Shakespeare's
A Midsummer Night's Dream to Chicago following critically acclaimed, sold-out performances across India, the UK, Australia and North America. The show's diverse cast, composed of artists from across India and Sri Lanka, will
perform in Chicago Shakespeare's Courtyard Theater for 16 performances only, November 25 through December 7, 2008. For more information, to purchase tickets and to watch the video trailer, visit www.chicagoshakes.com/dream.
Discovered and recruited over a year of travel throughout India, the cast of 23 dancers, musicians, actors, street performers and martial artists reflects a wide range of backgrounds. Alongside Shakespeare's English, the performers incorporate their native languages of Tamil, Malayalam, Sinhalese, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi and Sanskrit. The result is a beautiful and thrilling re-interpretation of the play, which casts aside familiar traditions of performing Shakespeare and replaces them with an epic, visceral and emotional power. The production first captivated audiences at its 2006 debut in India, followed by appearances at Italy's Verona Festival, the Royal Shakespeare Company and on tour throughout the world.
In each of its world destinations, this multicultural adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream has received standing ovations and critical acclaim. In London, the Telegraph called it a "magical, mysterious, unforgettably sexy production" while the Guardian praised it as "the most life-enhancing production of Shakespeare's play since Peter Brook's." The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that this Dream seems "to belong to a culture where gods, goddesses, demons and warrior queens are still very much alive," and the Toronto Star described the play as a "work of profound worldwide artistic significance."
Tim Supple is the former artistic director of London's Young Vic and a regular director at the Royal Shakespeare Company and The National Theatre. The play's production elements are coordinated by the Indian creative team of Sumant Jayakrishnan (set and costume designer), Zuleikha Chaudhari (lighting designer) and Devissaro (music director).
"This production arose from the extraordinary artistry and range of contemporary Indian theater," said Supple. "Only in India does one find 2,000 year old traditions alive alongside an entirely modern approach to performance. We chose to work on Shakespeare's Dream because we knew that modern India would illuminate and refresh the experience of this most famous play for audiences in India, the UK and across the world. Myth and urban reality; lovers' trials and workers' struggles; the supernatural, the spiritual and the joyously earthbound; soaring beauty and filthy truth. All this is thrillingly alive in India and Indian theater today."
Chicago Shakespeare Theater is Chicago's foremost destination for international theater artists, forging global connections through cultivation of international cultural events for Chicago audiences. Through the World's Stage Series, CST has brought to its stage 21 international productions, and has shared its own uniquely American brand of Shakespeare performance with the world. For Chicago audiences, the World's Stage Series is a passport to experiencing exceptional stage work. CST has hosted many iconic troupes from across the globe; examples include The Abbey Theatre from Dublin, Shakespeare's Globe from London, the Chekhov International Theatre Festival from Moscow, La Comédie-Française from Paris, the Farber Foundry from South Africa and Transe Express from Crest, France.
A Midsummer Night's Dream begins its limited engagement on November 25, with performances scheduled through December 7, 2008 in Chicago Shakespeare's Courtyard Theater. The performance schedule is: November 25, 26, 28, 29, and 30, and December 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m.; with 2:00 p.m. performances on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesday, November 26. Tickets are $60 and $75 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. To purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 312.595.5600 or log on to www.chicagoshakes.com/dream.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater's 2008/09 World's Stage Series continues with Sweet William, Michael Pennington's large-spirited, one-man show that pays homage to Shakespeare's life and work, performed February 3–22, 2009, Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. Additional 2008/09 World's Stage productions will be announced soon.
Notes of Interest
- Created in India with Indian and Sri Lankan performers and creative team, this new production has been marked out by critics and audiences around the world as a seminal staging of Shakespeare's play.
- The production is the culmination of a project that began in autumn 2004 when the British Council in India and Sri Lanka commissioned Tim Supple to create and direct a theatre production to tour. The production took over a year to cast and includes 23 dancers, musicians, actors and performers.
- Through the World's Stage Series, CST has brought to its stage 21 international productions, and has shared its own uniquely American brand of Shakespeare performance with the world.
Tim Supple (Director), renowned director of theater, film and opera throughout Europe makes his Chicago Shakespeare Theater debut with A Midsummer Night's Dream. As an assistant director, Supple began working at York's Theatre Royal. Between 1988 and 1991, he directed at the Crucible Theatre, including Billy Budd, and the Haymarket, where his credits include Oh, What A Lovely War! and Guys and Dolls. For Kenneth Branagh's Renaissance Theatre Company, Supple directed Coriolanus at the Chichester Festival Theatre with Branagh and Dame Judi Dench. In 1993, Supple was appointed Artistic Director of London's Young Vic and established a reputation for the reworking and adaptation of classic works. A string of successes followed: Oedipus; Grimm Tales, which toured abroad and appeared on Broadway; Jungle Book; the Ted Hughes translation of Lorca's Blood Wedding; Twelfth Night and a co-adaptation of As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner.
For the National Theatre Supple co-adapted and directed Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories and directed The Villains' Opera, a new version of A Beggar's Opera with music by Stephen Warbeck. For the Royal Shakespeare Company, Supple directed a production of Wedekind's Spring Awakening translated by Ted Hughes; The Comedy of Errors; a co-adaptation of Hughes' translation of Tales from Ovid; a reworking of Goldoni's A Servant to Two Masters by Lee Hall which toured internationally and transferred to the West End, and also a co-adaptation with Salman Rushdie of Midnight's Children which attracted enormous attention, toured, and transferred to Harlem's Apollo Theatre in New York.
In Europe, Supple has directed Much Ado About Nothing at the Maxim Gorky Theatre in Berlin, two works for the National Theatre of Norway and Les Miserables in Tel Aviv. Tim Supple's exploration of opera began with a production of Hansel and Gretel for Opera North and he returned in 2003 to direct their new production of Mozart's The Magic Flute. He also directed Babette's Feast by John Browne for The Linbury Theatre at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
International programming at Chicago Shakespeare Theater is supported, in part, by the Julius Frankel Foundation and The Rhoades Foundation.
American Airlines is the official airline of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
ComEd is the official lighting design sponsor of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Artistic productions in the Courtyard Theater are supported, in part, through a generous grant from the McCormick Foundation.