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Drama Department to present 'Two Gentlemen of Verona'

February 09, 2010

Patrick Finlon
(315) 443-2636

Syracuse University’s Department of Drama in the College of Visual and Performing Arts will present Shakespeare’s “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” from Feb. 19-28 at the Arthur Storch Theatre at Syracuse Stage. The play will be directed by Elizabeth Ingram, associate professor of acting in the Department of Drama.

In this early comedy Shakespeare cheerfully skewers love and friendship as two best friends fall for and fall out over the same woman. A precursor to Shakespeare’s later great comedies (this is the first of the bard’s plays to feature a woman disguised as a man), the seeds of Shakespeare’s developing genius are on full display in this farcical romp.

Ingram says though the play was written more than 400 years ago, audiences will identify with its young characters’ search for identity and love.

“It’s a play about the impulsive nature of youth, the consequences of daring choices, and lessons learned about loyalty and love,” says Ingram. “The characters are very young, over the top, and everything that happens to them is deeply serious. This is where much of the humor lies.”

An air of romance fills the production. “There are fight scenes, music and dancing, colorful sets and a fairytale-like quality that all ends happily ever after, we hope,” Ingram notes. “We’ve had such a wonderful time working on this—the student cast and crew and other faculty who are serving on the artistic team.”

Shakespeare’s third comedy and eighth play debuted on Broadway in 1958. In 1971, the play was adapted by John Guare and Mel Shapiro into a rock musical that premiered in 1971. It ran for 614 performances and had eight Tony Award nominations, winning for Best Musical, and won eight Drama Desk Awards.

Though its earliest known performance occurred at Drury Lane in 1762, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” is believed to have been first performed between 1594 and 1595. In the Elizabethan era, there was a huge demand for new entertainment and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” would have been produced immediately following the completion of the play. Because Shakespeare never published any of his plays, the play did not appear in print until it was published by Shakespeare’s fellow actors John Hemminges and Henry Condell in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death.

Tickets for the production are $18 for adults and $16 for students and seniors. Rush tickets are available for $7 at the door, one hour before curtain. Wednesday, Feb. 24, is “Pay What You Can Night” for valid SU I.D. holders. For tickets and more information, contact the Department of Drama box office at (315) 443-3275 or visit http://vpa.syr.edu/drama.

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