“We are so excited to announce that we are moving ahead with our revised season, and we are working to responsibly invite audiences, actors, and staff back into our theatres,” said Shakespeare Theatre Company Executive Director Chris Jennings, as he and Artistic Director Simon Godwin held a virtual Town Hall to share the lineup for STC’s revised 2020/21 season last week.
“We are planning for online and immersive productions for Phase 2 of ReOpen DC in accordance with the Mayor’s office, and returning to live theatre events when we reach Phase 3.”
The first show of the season All the Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented the Villain is a study in Shakespearean villainy. All the Devils Are Here will launch STC Digital, the theatre’s new online platform.
The immersive sound installation Blindness invites audiences back into Sidney Harman Hall for an engrossing story of a pandemic that causes blindness. This timely piece, which is limited to 40 guests per show, features a haunting recorded performance by Juliet Stevenson (Truly, Madly, Deeply) that patrons will experience through headphones.
“We want you to come back to Sidney Harman Hall and just focus on the performance, to enjoy your night out at the theatre again,” said Godwin. “And, we also realize that some of even our most dedicated patrons may not be ready… so we are offering the rest of the season’s shows—The Crucible, The Chairs, Red Velvet, and As You Like It—as both online or in socially-distanced theatrical options when we reach Phase 3.”
STC’s new Associate Director Whitney White (The Amen Corner, Our Dear Dead Drug Lord) returns to direct Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Godwin says, “She has an ambitious plan for this production. Whitney is going to revitalize Miller’s political drama for our times.”
STC’s Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul (Camelot, Peter Pan and Wendy) will direct Eugène Ionesco’s classic of absurdist theatre The Chairs. “This play is about isolation, loneliness, the end of life–and yet it’s very funny,” Godwin offers. “It’s sweet and sardonic, exactly what we need right now.”
“We are excited to present Lolita Chakrabarti’s Red Velvet, the history of the great Black American actor Ira Aldridge who famously played Shakespearean heroes across Europe when slavery was still legal in the United States.” Godwin states. “This is a season of works that confront our moment, our anxieties, our hopes.”
“Finally, I am excited to direct As You Like It, one of my favorite Shakespearean comedies, an escape from the politics of the court into a green world of wonder, love, and family reunions. This is a play we had planned for the original 2020/21 season, and I’m pleased we will be able to retain the production for this season.”
It almost goes without saying that performance dates for the season, which will be released later, are subject to change, as are all artists and titles.