It’s a season full of sound, fury and a lot of laughs as the Longwood University theater department gets ready to kick off 2017 with a trip to 12th-century Scotland—where murder, war and madness rule the day in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy—but one of his most celebrated and enduring works—Macbeth tells the story of a Scottish general who, by murdering the king, takes the throne for a short, tortuous and bloody rule. The consequent civil war sees both Macbeth and his wife descend into madness and ultimately death.
Macbeth’s run at the Main Stage Auditorium in the Center for Communication Studies and Theatre at the corner of Franklin and Race streets begins Sept. 27 and runs through Oct. 1. Performances on Sept. 27-30 begin at 7 p.m., with matinees on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 beginning at 2 p.m.
“Macbeth remains one of those timeless plays that is rich for exploration and discovery,” said director Bruce Speas, associate professor of theater history and directing. “Every actor who dives into these roles approaches them differently, and our Longwood production will showcase some of our best talent. Beginning with those famous opening lines—fair is foul and foul is fair—we are kicking this season off with a heavy dose of toil and trouble.”
A second fall play, Everyman, will be directed by adjunct professor Stephanie Howieson. Everyman is a morality play thought to date to the early 16th century and explores timeless themes of morality, life’s purpose and the afterlife. Everyman will run Nov. 8-11, with performances each night at 7 p.m. Matinees, beginning at 2 p.m., are set for Nov. 10 and 11.
The bawdiness and fun picks up in the spring with a humor-packed performance of Stephen Sondheim’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. A spectacle of farce at its best, the original Broadway run earned Sondheim several Tony Awards and cemented his place as one of the great American composers and lyricists.
Longwood’s performance of A Funny Thing will be directed by Lacy Klinger, assistant professor of acting, voice and movement, and performed in Jarman Auditorium. The four-day run takes place Feb. 21-25. Evening shows begin at 7 p.m. Feb. 21-24, with matinees at 2 p.m. on Feb. 24 and 25.
The final major production of the 2017-18 season is Longwood’s take on one of the most celebrated plays of the late 20th century, The Heidi Chronicles, which earned the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for writer Wendy Wasserstein.
The play, which follows its female protagonist from her heady high school days in the 1960s to a celebrated career as an art historian decades later, also won several Tony Awards and was made into a feature film starring Jamie Lee Curtis in 1995. Longwood’s production of The Heidi Chronicles, directed by Speas, will run from April 18-22. Showtimes are 7 p.m. April 18-21, and 2 p.m. on April 21 and 22.
The four major productions are supported by two other theater events: a student-directed production of Boom, which will run from Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in the LAB Theatre on campus; and the annual Zero to Sixty Ten-Minute-Playwriting Festival, which features numerous short productions. The festival will run from March 22-25 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are available at the Longwood Box Office, and the community is invited to come and enjoy the immense talent of Longwood University’s theatre students and faculty.