Press Release

For Immediate Release 

 

Event Dates: June 19th to September 1st, 2014

 

Portland Actors Ensemble kicks off its 45th summer season of free Shakespeare-in-the-Parks

 

44-Year-Old Shakespeare Company to Kick Off 450th William Shakespeare's Birthday Bash with innovative outdoor productions of two of Shakespeare's most beloved works, including the only production of Antony and Cleopatra scheduled during the two-year Complete Works Project.  

 

Antony and Cleopatra, Matt Dibiasio as Antony and Andrea White as Cleopatra. Portland Actors Ensemble, Photography by Russell J. Young  View Larger Image

 

 

Garry Louie features the last production of A Midsummer Night's Dream from 2003, featuring Shannon Green as Titania.

View Larger Image

 

Portland, Oregon, June 2nd, 2014 (McKenzieNewsService.com) - In a city famous for its whole-hearted and enthusiastic embrace of the Bard of Avon, where you can see a production of at least one Shakespeare play nearly every weekend, it is no surprise that the theatrical community has come together for a project in which every play, sonnet and narrative poem attributed to William Shakespeare will be publicly performed in Portland within a two-year period. The beginning of the Complete Works Project coincides with the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth, and will conclude on the 400th anniversary of his death.  Portland's oldest continuously operating Shakespeare company, Portland Actors Ensemble (PAE), will be helping to kick things off this summer with innovative outdoor productions of two of Shakespeare's most beloved works, including the only production of Antony and Cleopatra scheduled during the two-year project.  All shows are free.
 
Opening on June 19th at Laurelhurst Park will be PAE's first-ever production of the romantic historical tragedy, Antony and Cleopatra. This production promises to be unique and epic, as director Elizabeth Huffman presents this timeless and complex love story in a startling new version that will illuminate the clash between modern and ancient cultures as well as the Machiavellian politics in ways that are more relevant to modern audiences than ever before.
 
Ms. Huffman, former artistic director of The Classic Greek Theatre of Oregon and a Drammy Award recipient, is no stranger to multicultural relations and conflicts. Drawing on her own Arab roots and in-depth knowledge of Imperial Rome, she weaves together elements of three distinct time periods – the Hellenistic world of the ancient Mediterranean, the English Renaissance during which the play was written, and the geo-political and cultural landscape of the 21st Century. “[This production] explores themes and questions embedded in the play,” Ms. Huffman says. “What happens when two powerful rulers from vastly different cultures, ideologies and political agendas dare to fall in love? Is it romantic destiny or political suicide?  Have we changed the way we deal with that question today?”
 
Antony and Cleopatra, PAE's tenth Twilight Tragedy, will feature live Arabic and contemporary music, additional text from Kahil Gibran and John Dryden and a stellar international cast, including Matthew DiBiasio and Andrea White in the title roles. It runs Thursday through Saturday evenings from June 19 until July 26 at Laurelhurst and Woodstock Parks. Visit www.portlandactors.com for specific dates, times, and locations.
 
Portland Actors Ensemble’s 45th annual Shakespeare-in-the-Parks touring production will be the popular A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Douglas Lay, who returns for a second season after last year's successful Cymbeline. An award-winning, classically-trained actor, director and educator, Mr. Lay is a member of AEA/SAG/AFTRA who has appeared in productions on Broadway, London's West End, and Paris. He has played more than thirty Shakespearean roles over the course of his distinguished career, and brings his own special insights as a veteran actor as well as an educator to this summer's production.
 
“[This] production reflects Portland's diverse communities and society's current infatuation with royalty and celebrity,” says Mr. Lay. This summer's production promises to be boisterous and hilarious, juxtaposing grandeur and intimacy, comedy and tragedy, and wisdom and absurdity – all while breathing with the miraculous charms and powerful illusions of love in all its forms. As part of PAE's new educational outreach program, this production will also feature an ever-changing cast of fairies drawn from elementary and middle school students from across the Portland metro region.
 
A Midsummer Night's Dream runs July 12 through Labor Day at parks around the area. Some performances will be ASL interpreted or audio-described. Visit
www.portlandactors.com for specific dates and times of both productions.
 
ABOUT PORTLAND ACTORS ENSEMBLE:

Founded in 1970, PAE is Portland's oldest continuously operating Shakespeare company, and one of the oldest theatre companies in the area. In the past decade alone, over 50,000 audience members have enjoyed PAE performances. For the past 45 years, this group of professional actors has presented plays in parks throughout the metro region free of charge thanks to the generosity of members, corporate and individual sponsors, and audience members. Visit the newly updated website at www.portlandactors.com for more information.

 

Jocelyn Seid as the Soothsayer.  View Larger Image

 

Matt Dibiasio as Antony and Andrea White as Cleopatra.  View Larger Image

 

Panorama of the audience at the closing performance of Twelfth Night at Reed College on September 3, 2012. 

 

 

 

 

Note: The "Drammy" Award is a local theatre tradition (should not be "Grammy").  
 

 Contact & Media Visits  

 

Media Contact: Michael Godsey

Email: mgodsey@portlandactors.com

Phone: 503-467-6573

Media Visits: Complimentary media visits for journalists on assignment or with approved credentials. If you are unable to accept a courtesy visit, a press rate can be negotiated.

 

Portland Actors Ensemble

PO Box 8671, Portland, Oregon, 97207

Web: www.portlandactors.com

 

 Condensed Version  

 

Portland Actors Ensemble kicks off its 45th summer season of free Shakespeare-in-the-Parks

Portland Actors Ensemble kicks off its 45th summer season of free Shakespeare-in-the-Parks as part of the Complete Works Festival. The 10th annual Twilight Tragedy, an epic production of Antony & Cleopatra directed by Elizabeth Huffman, opens June 19th and runs through July 26 at Laurelhurst and Woodstock Parks. The 45th annual touring Shakespeare-in-the-Parks, the beloved A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Douglas Lay and featuring local schoolchildren as fairies, opens July 12th and runs through Labor Day. Some performances will be ASL-interpreted or audio-described. See portlandactors.com for specific dates, times, and locations. All shows are free. Founded in 1970, PAE is Portland's oldest continuously operating Shakespeare company. In the past decade alone, over 50,000 audience members have enjoyed PAE performances. For the past 45 years, this group of professional actors has presented plays in parks throughout the metro region free of charge thanks to the generosity of members, corporate and individual sponsors, and audience members. Visit www.portlandactors.com for specific dates and times of both productions.

 

 

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