Shakespeare fans have much to celebrate this winter, with four Shakespearean productions between now and the end of April. The Shakespeare Theatre's "Cymbeline;" the Folger Theatre's "The Comedy of Errors;" and Synetic Theater's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "King Lear." The first production is the Shakespeare Theatre's "Cymbeline," which is directed by Rebecca Bayla Taichman. Cymbeline, the king of Britain, is busy warring with the Romans, but not too busy to notice that his daughter Imogen has eloped with a commoner. When Cymbeline banishes Imogen's husband, Imogen sets off on a journey to join him, amidst a background of war and destruction. The play is full of themes of reconciliation and transformation and this production emphasizes the rebirth of the natural world in its design by Riccardo Hernandez. Ted van Griethuysen plays Cymbeline. Imogen, one of Shakespeare's most spirited, gentle and determined heroines, will be played by Gretchen Hall. "Cymbeline" will be at the Lansburgh Theatre through March 6.
On Jan. 25, Synetic Theatre remounts its lyrical, award-winning production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," this time performed in Synetic's home in Arlington until Jan. 30.
"The Comedy of Errors" depends on one of Shakespeare's favorite devices, mistaken identities. Based on a Roman comedy, Shakespeare doubled the fun, turning one set of twins into two and compounding the mass confusion that arises when Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant Dromio journey to find their brothers in Ephesus. Their arrival leads to endless mishaps as the twins are mistaken for each other.
The Folger production will be directed by Aaron Posner, who is capitalizing on the farcical aspects of the show, using a set full of doors, ? la French farce, and masks created by Aaron Cromie. The production stars Darragh Kennan, Nathan Keepers, Bruce Nelson and Darius Pierce."The Comedy of Errors" plays from Jan. 25 to March 6.
The final Shakesperean production of the winter will be Synetic's "King Lear," which will be performed at the Lansburgh Theatre. Like many previous Synetic shows, it will use a physical, non-verbal approach.
"This 'Lear' will be set somewhere in the Middle East," says Artistic Director Paata Tsikurishvili, who will direct the Synetic production. "It won't be the Middle East in a straightforward, literal way, but in an abstract, suggestive, surreal way. There will be sand and dust and wind.
"For 'King Lear,' the wind and the storm are iconic symbols that serve to represent the confusion of Lear's soul. This is a great example of a metaphor that I can play with to connect nature with King Lear himself. I always try to find surprises, something unusual and I will do that this time, too. But I believe that the story flow will be very accessible to the audience."
King Lear will be acted by Irakli Kavsadze. Synetic's "King Lear" will run from March 24 to April 24.