FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE &
contact only: Dawn Flood (831) 755-6976 firstname.lastname@example.org Please see release for all appropriate public
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE & BROADCAST
Press contact only: Dawn Flood (831) 755-6976
Please see release for all appropriate public information
Salinas, CA — May 7, 2006
Shakespeare in Hollywood is definitely not your high school teacher’s Shakespeare.
This hyperactive, intoxicated, bawdy, and madcap tour
de force by playwright Ken Ludwig is the kind of farce that will have every
seat in the house rocking with laughter. Its very premise, in fact, sounds like
the set-up for a joke. What happens when Oberon and Puck from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream accidentally
stumble onto a 1934
As with last season’s production of John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, The Western Stage will be
sharing this play’s manic fun with the entire
According to director William J. Wolak, who recently had the opportunity to meet and hear the playwright speak at the Kennedy Center’s annual American College Theatre Festival Conference, Ludwig uses one of the most tried and true comedic devices to create his mayhem in Shakespeare in Hollywood: the clash of opposites.
“Ludwig juxtaposes the ridiculous, improbable, and the profane,” says Wolak. It is a play that not only explores the clash of mythical literary characters with equally mythical tinsel town stars, but also the clash of Max Reinhardt, a sophisticated German director whose English is rudimentary at best, as he tries to direct one of the greatest works in English literature with a motley cast that consists of the dim-witted girlfriend of studio mogul Jack Warner, the mischievous woodland faerie Puck who has gone totally Hollywood (sunglasses and all), and James Cagney, known for his tough guy parts in gangster films, suddenly sporting form fitting tights as Bottom, the Weaver.
Yet for Wolak, a professor of theatre arts at the University of the Pacific, the play is not just fun and games. The characters have legitimate, if fanciful, conflicts. “There’s genuine romance,” says Wolak. “Oberon, a god, falls in love with a mortal woman on the movie set. Now that poses a problem.” This conflict Wolak refers to in the play, of course, not only mirrors the plot of A Midsummer Night’s Dream itself, but also the Greek and Roman myths Shakespeare used as source material for his own play. (For more, see supplemental article.)
For Ludwig, a former corporate lawyer turned
playwright who devotes an hour every weekend to reading Shakespeare, writing
this play was a labor of love…and, at times, loss. Although originally
commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) to write the play, Ludwig’s
work never got off the ground at Britain’s most revered theater due to
political changes in the company—namely the dismissal of Adrian Noble, the
artistic director who had taken the risk of commissioning this off-beat play
for such a traditionally conservative company. Luckily, the Arena Stage in
To reserve seats for Shakespeare in Hollywood during its
Tickets for the
The Western Stage continues its 2006 season this fall with Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing in September, Big River: the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the classic courtroom drama Inherit the Wind in October; and Lionel Bart’s beloved musical Oliver!
Dan Tarker Literary Associate