“Cwiklik's multimedia production does something even more important then simply making Shakespeare relevant to today's world. He's made the Bard's text actually come alive... it's one heck of a visceral experience.”
-- Lauren Wissot, Carnal San Francisco review of Titus Andronicus
The competition was fierce. Markets, pubs, and sellers lined the bridge crossing the Thames, hawking their wares. Once over the bridge, Bankside was a cacophony of sounds and smells, the calls of corner butchers and the whistles of prostitutes, the stench of refuse and dung merging queasily with the tempting aroma of pub pies and cooked poultry, smoked fish and fresh ale. You could stop on the way to the Globe and instead hit up the Rose or the Swan, or say to hell with it and spend the afternoon watching bear baiting. Not to mention you could just stay in the city center and possibly see another traitor drawn and quartered, or stop down the Clink and laugh at the poor prisoners scrambling for tossed mouldy crumbs. Or just, you know, hit the pub and get hammered. Again. All this and more the Globe and Shakespeare had to compete with. Every day.
If he were alive today, he'd likely be a showrunner. Maybe he'd write for Image or Dark Horse or Avatar. Maybe he'd be another Freddie Wong, turning out YouTube shorts for millions of followers. The Elizabethan theater was pop culture, its audience made up of street trash in the stalls, royalty in the balconies, and middle class merchants filling the seats all around. It was open, raucous, immediate. Everyone went, and everyone had a favorite performer, writer, company. The Lord Chamberlain's Men, of which Shakespeare was a member, had a rabid following, its star performers Richard Burbage and Will Kemp the celebrities of their day, and Shakespeare himself was roaringly popular, leading to his name being misleadingly slapped on countless compilations of dodgy poetry passed off at bookseller's stalls across London. They were notorious, famous, unavoidable. They were The Boys.
These truths are all buried now under centuries of treacle laid on by scholars, academics, and acolytes, who keep the Bard's work out of reach, all the rough edges sanded down, the crude jokes explained away, the naughty bits obscured with coughing and handwaving, these ribald, ragged works treated with a reverence the Lord Chamberlain's Men may have found laughable. He's ossified now, a butterfly pinned to corkboard, stuffed and mounted. Airbrushed. A tribute band in an hotel bar.
Shakespeare should be accessible. Not condescending or clumsy, but nimble, immediate, welcoming. A tired-ass suburban dad coming off a 60 hour work week should be able to sit down at a performance of Taming of the Shrew and not only understand every word, but laugh his ass off. We've had that happen. We also had a German couple attend a performance and have a roaring good time, even though the wife didn't speak a word of English and the husband had to give her Cliff's Notes on the plot during scene transitions (how they heard about us, I never quite worked out). During Antony and Cleopatra, we had rooms full of reluctant theater goers dragged along by wives, boyfriends, co-workers, etc, approaching and thanking the cast for their first experience in really understanding Shakespeare. An NYC high school class came to Titus Andronicus on closing night, entering with dour, blank faces of the damned, forced to come for class credit; they give us a standing ovation at the end, and emailed me for weeks after with questions about other Shakespeare plays, telling me excitedly how much they loved the show and how it changed their perception of theater and the Bard.
That is what you want. That is what we should be doing. Let Shakespeare entertain. Be bold, be daring, make the text come alive in a modern way. The trick is building a concept that works, not one that smothers the text. Making the language sound immediate and modern, without breaking meter or sounding pretentious. Antony and Cleopatra recast as a Vegas mob capo and his burlesque queen. Titus Andronicus a military matriarch going to war with the Empire she sacrificed blood and flesh to save. Petruchio and Kate a perfectly mismatched Southern hellion and redneck good ol boy. It seems so familiar and natural this way. It's not hard, but it's not easy. We've staged Shakespeare directly three times, and have presented one pop cultural tribute to his genius. We've created an entirely new world out of the shattered, shredded remnants of his language and themes. I hope to do more. If I were told I could do two shows a year for the rest of my life but they would all have to be Shakespeare, it would be no punishment. The Lord Chamberlain's men were entertainers. Too many have forgotten this. We haven't. Shakespeare is our homeboy.
-- Frank Cwiklik, NYC 2015
Photos from top to bottom: William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleoptra (2003), Titus Andronicus (2009), The Taming of the Shrew (2011)
“Tyson and Swiderski are near perfect... compelling, energetic, and funny... A work that will appeal even to those who are usually disinterested in Shakespeare...”
-- Adrienne Urbanski, Theatre is Easy (theasy.com)
The Red Room, June/July 2011
“Wildly ambitious, uniformly terrific, evocative, powerful... Cwiklik's confident command of the material makes for an amazing ride...”
-- Tom Penketh, Backstage.com
“uncompromisingly an original... enormously impressive... a big. ambitious, visually and aurally stunning work of theatre... unlike anything I've experienced before... YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO GET IT OUT OF YOUR MIND.”
-- Martin Denton, NYTheatre.com
“Cwiklik's dialogue has its own peculiar poetry... mindboggling, mutlilayered, overwhelming... FOUR STARS”
-- Raven Snook, Time Out New York
CLICK HERE TO EXPLORE
Access Theater January/February 2001
The Kraine Theater, January/February 2003
The Brick, January 2008
The Red Room, July/August 2002
WINNER 2003 OOBR AWARD FOR
Shakespeare meets the Sopranos in a radical retelling of the classic tale of jealousy, greed, romance, and murder. The place: Empire, Nevada. Time: Indeterminate. Away from the prying eyes of the law, five casino bosses, each with their own private army, tussle over turf, both real and perceived. While vacationers, millionaires, and fellow gangsters laze away the days under the hot desert sun and seize the nights in the cool red lounges of the Miracle Mile, brash, ruthless Caesar plots to wrest control of all his competitors' lucrative gaming resorts. Meanwhile, the hotblooded Antony, smitten with burlesque queen and legendary beauty Cleopatra, fights to keep his rapidly crumbling empire of crime and gambling from slipping through his fingers. Bullets fly, bodies pile up, and before this long, hot summer is over, someone's gonna end up dead -- and someone else is going to have complete control of Empire, Nevada. Not that anyone could control the lustful Cleopatra...
The first direct DMT Shakespeare production, and the genesis of the American Shakespeare Factory, Antony and Cleopatra played to packed houses, standing ovations, and unanimous critical acclaim -- and it kicked the ass of every other Shakespearean production playing in NYC that season. Glittery, sexy, gaudy, violent, DMT's Antony and Cleopatra was an exciting new spin on a timeless tale: a high-energy, high stakes theatrical event, a whirlwind of sex, violence, and ruthless ambition. Inspired by the colorful (and often shady) history of Las Vegas and the exploits of the unsavoury characters who built it out of nothing but desert sand, this A&C was unlike any ever seen: as romantic as it was brutal, as hopeful as it was bleak, full of life, death, and all the things that make life worth living -- and killing for.
Tom Mazur as Antony, Anna Curtis as Cleopatra (all photos by Moira Stone)
Bob Brader as Caesar, Carrie Johnson as Octavia
Bob Brader, Tom Mazur
Anna Curtis, Tom Mazur
Ken Simon as Leonidas, Bob Laine as Pompey
Matthew Gray as Thidias
L to R: Alisha Silver as Iras; Anna Curits as Cleopatra; Maria Hurdle as Charmian
Gerald Marsini as Alexas
L to R: Alisha Silver, Tom Mazur, Anna Curtis, Maria Hurdle
L to R: Matthew Gray, Bob Laine, Adam Swiderski, Tom Mazur, Bob Brader
L to R: Tom Mazur, Alisha Silver, Anna Curtis, Maria Hurdle, Bob Brader
Thidias House O'Slots coupon enclosed in original playbill
Pompey's Coin Palace Gold Membership Card enclosed in original playbills
DANSE MACABRE THEATRICS PRESENTS IN ASSOCIATION WITH HORSE TRADE THEATER GROUP
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA
BOB BRADER * JONATHAN M. CASTRO * ANNA CURTIS
MATTHEW GRAY * MARIA HURDLE * CARRIE JOHNSON
BOB LAINE * NICOLE MARSH * GERALD MARSINI * TOM MAZUR
EMILY MOSTYN-BROWN * ALISHA SILVER * KEN SIMON
MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG * KEN STANEK * ADAM SWIDERSKI
WRITTEN BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
PUBLICITY BY SCOTT MAKIN
CHOREOGRAPHY BY ANNA CURTIS / MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG
PRODUCED BY FRANK CWIKLIK AND MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG-CWIKLIK
DESIGNED AND DIRECTED BY FRANK CWIKLIK
The Brick, October 2009
"A phenomenal experience...
jawdropping... the cast is great through and through... bold, exciting, well-thought-out choices... FOUR STARS"
-- Matthew Barbot,
Kraine Theater, March/April 2010
"Has to be seen to be believed!... Cwiklik's direction is crisp and clean... an incredible cadre of young and talented performers... FLAWLESS!"
-- Michael Roderick, broadwayworld.com review
I AM NOT MAD.
Victorious in battle, chosen by the people to lead, Titus Andronicus has returned home after ten long years defending the honor, the ethics, the very existence of the nation state she loves -- only to discover that the art of politics and skirmishes within the halls of power are darker, crueler, and more violent than anything she has seen on the battlefield. Her nation changed beyond recognition, her leaders corrupt and venal, the rules she lives by mocked and broken, she devises a revenge for her enemies far worse than anything she could have done at war.
This radical reinvisioning of one of Shakespeare's most controversial works boldly recasts the family Andronici as a matriarchal career military clan, with Titus as the grande dame of Roman warcraft and her sister Marta as the no-nonsense Tribune of the people. Presenting this dark revenge melodrama as a conflict between matriarchs vying for power and justice in a wartorn world, the show's themes of sacrifice, honor, vengeance, and cruelty are thrown into stark relief. Supported by phenomenal performances from its dedicated cast, DMT's Titus took audiences by surprise and became one of the most acclaimed classical theater productions of its season. Direct in focus and bracingly immediate, this was a Titus that eschewed gore and gimmickry and confronted the dark and violent heart of this difficult work.
Kymberly Tuttle as Titus Andronicus (all photos by Frank Cwiklik)
Ann Breitbach as Lavinia
Brianna Tyson as Tamora, Craig Kelton Peterson as Chiron
Sean Phillips as Aaron
Fred Backus as Saturninus, L, and Ken Simon as Bassianus, R
Greg Engbrecht as Lucius
Brianna Tyson as Tamora, Adam Samtur as Demetrius
NOTE: As patrons were lined up at the box office, a monitor was mounted showing campaign ads for Saturninus and Bassianus, which both set the mood and backstory and helped cut much of the opening pages of the text to allow us to blast the show open with Titus' return to Rome, allowing us a leaner, punchier text to work with. These two ads, which ran on a loop during preshow, are presented below.
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Original trailer created for Titus Andronicus. This was a modified edit of the montage played before the infamous banquet scene, and, as both versions were created to be screened on low-res playback equipment with a ton of compression, the effects and color timing for both were never really finished, as the low-quality formatting was able to hide a multitude of abuses. I've cleaned this up a bit, but it still will look a little dodgy on more recent playback equipment, especially after being thrown to the mercy of YouTube's compression algorithms, so, my apologies in advance. Then again, this is free entertainment, so you can't complain too much.
in association with The Brick
William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus
Kymberly Tuttle * Sean Phillips * Brianna Tyson * Greg Engebrecht * Ann Breitbach * Fred Backus * Ken Simon * Kristin Woodburn * Adam Samtur * Craig Kelton Peterson * Peter Schwartz * Peter Schuyler * Stephanie Wortel * Lydia Blaisdell * William Welles
Written by William Shakespeare
Co-Producer Michele Schlossberg
Designed, Produced and Directed by Frank Cwiklik
When his beloved rug is micturated upon as a result of comically mistaken identity, layabout ruffian the Knave embarks on a journey of epic proportions, encountering manipulative aristocrats, seductive artists, murderous consorts, and the worst theater troupe in the world, all aided and abetted by his bombastic friend Sir Walter of Poland, against a backdrop of ninepins, taverns, and pipesmoking.
Two Gentlemen of Lebowski is an extraordinary work from filmmaker/playwright Adam Bertocci which reimagines the cult classic motion picture as a Shakespearian farce, creating an amazing new work from the heightened language and surreal comic landscape of its inspirations. Initially a viral sensation, Bertocci's script has been published around the world and remains a top-selling cult classic, delighting fans of both Shakespeare and movie comedy. Immaculately crafted and riotously funny, this instant classic was also the inaugural production of DMT’s American Shakespeare Factory, an exciting project intended to present all of the Bard’s works in eclectic and innovative new productions, and to present new works exploring the connection between the great classical texts and the demands of modern theater. The fastest-selling show in NYC Indie theater history, and the biggest smash in DMT's repertory by far, the show attracted audiences from around the country, and from as far as the UK, Switzerland, Germany, and Australia, and remains a sensation to this day, over five years after its closing date.
Infamous, influential, irreverent, and peculiarly brilliant, nearly banned on its initial run, and likely never to happen again, it was a piece of New York theater history, and one of the best costume parties, Ever.
DIRECTORS' NOTES, 2010:
So, that happened.
Producing and directing this show was like trying to ride a wild beast, and I can't even imagine what Adam was going through fending off lawyers, agents, and Lebowski fanatics. It's also the most extraordinary experience we've ever had -- the love and enthusiasm for this show from all over the world was overwhelming, and we had some of the most giving, excited, and generous audiences I've encountered in my nearly two decades of working in and around show business. I was gratified by how many people got it, how many understood that this was as much a commentary on pop culture, Shakespeare, and performance in general as it was a cult comedy. We took an enormous risk on our interpretation of this beast, and our incredible cast and crew, plus the glorious lunatics at Horse Trade, were totally committed to making that gamble pay off. The response from our audiences, many of whom are still contacting us with warm affection and regards as of this writing, over a month later, proved that we were right to treat this as an event and not as a cheap gimmick.
It was the hardest and most draining show I've ever done, and I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of it, and the cast and crew that pushed themselves, sometimes beyond exhaustion, sometimes to tears, to make sure that this show lived up to expectations. Certain Unnamed Persons are hellbent on ensuring that this show is never seen again, but for those of us who were there, dear God it was something special.
I'm such a sap.
In wayfarer’s worlds out west was once a man,
A man I come not to bury, but to praise.
His name was Geoffrey Lebowski called, yet
Not called, excepting by his kin.
That which we call a knave by any other name
Might bowl just as sweet.
Search his satchel! His words are a fantastical banquet to work confusion upon his
enemies. There sits eight pounds of proof within; surely he hides his treasure on his
Villainy! Why this confounded orb, such as men use to play at ninepins; what devilry,
these holes in holy trinity?
Obviously thou art not a golfer.
Then thou art a man to carry ball in his sack? Thou varlet, a plague upon your house; I shall return thy orb to earth. [He drops the ball] Thy floor cracks in haste, sir; thou art not a man of ample foundation. Woo?
Speak, friend; I am but of droplets.
Was this not a man of moneys and repute? Did not Treehorn speak of chalcedony halls, and three chests of gold, as was hard food for Midas? What think’st thou?
O undistinguish’d man! We are deceived; this man has put not money in his purse.
Weep not for grief of my own sustaining, sir. At least I am house-broken, none to break the houses of others.
In sooth, then, faithful friend, this was a rug of value? Thou wouldst call it not a rug
among ordinary rugs, but a rug of purpose? A star in a firmament, in step with the fashion alike to the Whitsun morris-dance? A worthy rug, a rug of consequence, sir?
It was of consequence, I should think; verily, it tied the room together, gather’d its
qualities as the sweet lovers’ spring grass doth the morning dew or the rough scythe the first of autumn harvests. It sat between the four sides of the room, making substance of a square, respecting each wall in equal harmony, in geometer’s cap; a great reckoning in a little room. Verily, it transform’d the room from the space between four walls presented, to the harbour of a man’s monarchy.
Indeed, a rug of value; an estimable rug, an honour’d rug; O unhappy rug, that should
live to cover such days!
Sayst thou that I must blow upon thy foot, painted lady?
I ask this deed of you thrice now; and that which a damsel craves constantly is the service of a tongue most moved in capability. Look to my foot; I cannot reach that far. Blow, wind!
I fear thy charms. Will not thy consort mind
If I bestow his lady fair my wind?
Nay, there’s naught for which Oliver carest;
He mindeth not, for he’s a nihilist.
Nay! I do protest, and draw my sword;
It shall teach thee to disobey my word.
Mark none but none into that bowler’s frame,
Else thou shalt enter into a world of pain.
A world of pain, think upon’t; unhappy world!
A lake of fire, rich with damnèd souls,
Gulfs of anguish ‘twixt vales of agonies.
Mark me; we stand at twisted, jealous gates
Of cast-iron, above which, in vulgar tongue, reads
“Here is a world of pain, thou enterest thus.”
My steel before thee, ‘tis the last of keys
That might could lock these doors, and keep thee
From this world of pain, or with one flick
Ope its mashing maw, and summon winds
To cast thee down within; an excellent key!
Farewell to earthly delights, farewell to friends,
To fellowships and follies and amends.
The choice to spare thy passage through these trials
Is thine alone; take heed, I entreat thee,
And turn thy back upon this world of pain!
That he rolleth true, I cannot deny’t, but the man rolls not straight, for he is not a man to stand upright. I have it on good authority that he is one of perversions. Two seasons has he idled in prison for exposing his manhood to a pageboy.
When first he came upon the holy wood, he was made to stand in public gallows, and in such great letters as they write “Here is good horse to hire”, it was signified on his sign, “Here you may see a pederast.”
Hail, masters! I crave thine able readiness
To be dealt with roughly, as the Sodomites.
For men of sport have noted that our play
In semifinal hour draws on apace.
By Jove! I’ll wager well, Liam and me,
To thrash thee soundly at the fair tourney.
Yea, well, that be, forsooth, thy opinion, sir.
Well; but be forewarn’d. It reach’d mine ears
That combustible Walter, o’ercome with rage
Did shed good sense, and raise his sword in play.
I fear not such jade’s tricks, an seeing ill,
Would snatch the burden from the jealous knight
And pierce his gizzard with the wrongful steel,
Points up, as said of Coriolanus.
Thou speakest rightly, sir. No man misdeals with Joshua Quince, by Jesu.
Nay, fear him not, nor his unworthy joys.
Recall the tragic tale of the pageboys.
Permit me to explain about the rug—
What cares have you, Lebowski, upon love?
Alack, lady, thy question does me vex.
The physicality of making love;
I’d have you tell me if you like it well.
A myth persists on women of my stripe,
That our body politic renders us in hate
Of acts of love; a most injurious lie.
The enterprise can have in it much zest.
But men who walk with satyrs in the morn
And women swimming nightly ‘twixt the nymphs
Are punished by Oberon for sin
And do the deed compulsively engaged,
Sans joy, sans love, sans everything.
Two women, both alike in beauty,
In fair Verona where we lay our scene,
From broken cable break to new nudity,
Where civil breasts touch civil hands unclean.
The which if you Jaques Treehorn’s play attend,
What this fine miss and whore shall strive to mend.
She hath rid her prologue like a rough colt.
Such riding you will see the like of, so as to form the beast with two backs. But hark; here is the poor player that struts and frets to play Karl Hungus upon the stage.
Is this thy parchment, Laurence? Tell me true.
Is this thy parchment, Laurence? Tell me plain.
Be quick, Sir Walter! Ask of chattels bought.
Ask if that fine corvette without be his.
Is this thy parchment, Laurence? Home-work thine?
We know that well, Sir Walter! His it be!
Whither the money, varlet, mewling spawn?
Demand him nothing. What we know, we know.
From this time forth he never will speak word.
Hark, Laurence, hast thou studied of a place
Of Orient jungles?
Walter, prithee nay!
Zounds, Sir Walter! No more talk of this.
Ay, there’s a good one. How fares the Knave?
So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
Such a day, I mark thee, whereupon the winter of our discontent is ne’er made glorious summer. A gentleman wiser than myself did say that on some such days, thou exits, pursued by a bear, and on others, the bear exits, pursued by you.
By my troth, a good philosophy. Was’t of the Orient?
Nay, far from it. I mark well thy fashion, good Knave.
And I thy fashion, stranger.
I would not be to blame for pains delay’d.
And yea, he is an honourable man, and thorough.
Examine him, good doctor, as thou wilt.
Do slide thy shorts down, Master Lebowski.
‘pon my life, I was stricken on the jaw.
I understand; but thou must slide thy shorts.
Good Knave, my thanks for travels thou hast made;
By Jaques Treehorn I am called in name.
I bid thee welcome to my humble home
And beg thee take a beverage of thy choice.
I know thy troubles, Knave, the tangled web
Woven upon the practice to deceive.
An thou robbest her husband, I care not.
How goes the world, that I am thus encountered
With clamorous demands of broken bonds
And the detention of long-since-due debts?
Well spoke; but sir, there many facets be.
The parties of interest are of scope
And multitude in number. What’s for me,
What of the Knave, if he retains thy gold?
The tenth part of the plunder shall be thine;
But drink thou from thy goblet, ere it warms.
What Conditon My Condition Was In
What Conditon My Condition Was In
A thousand pounds from young achievers robb’d!
O rude and vilest villain! Coward cursed!
A most notable coward of no quality
Whose tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile.
Thou art as loathsome as a toad, thou vice,
A bolting-hutch of beastliness, thou mite,
Thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool!
Thou hast thy history and I have mine.
I say that thou hast stole my thousand pounds.
O wound! I wouldst not dream to filch thy wealth.
Thou art a villain, human parakeet!
Thou thought thy wife vanish’d, and thought it well!
Thou hadst met me and thought my mettle right
To be thy pawn, a man of ill repute
Who circles not amidst men of good square,
That thou might use to shuffle gold about.
Verily did his consort give her toe
In hopes of seeking gold a thousandfold.
It is not fair; ‘tis foul but never fair!
And wherefore ‘fair’, when ye be nihilists?
Wherefore the nihilist weeps and cries for ‘fair’?
Thy dispute is of infants, weeping woes,
Spoke as an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Believing in nothing.
Alas, my lord, I cannot fight; for God’s sake, pity my case. I shall never be able to fight a blow. O Lord, my heart!
I firk thee! I firk thee! Verily I firk thee!
We bleed on both sides. Have at you now!
I firk thee!
Ever thus to haters of Jewry!
Words, words, words. I’ll speak.
A glooming peace this morning with it brings:
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head.
We come here to have talk of these sad things;
Of Donald, he who in his life bowlèd.
He was a straight and true bowler, and a virtuous man. He was of our sort, a man who loved the woods free from peril of the envious court. And he loved bowling well. He knew the pebbles on the hungry beach. And yea, he was a bowler most avid. And a fair friend, who never can be old. He died as did so many of his generation, ere his time. In Thy wisdom, Lord, Thou didst take him, as Thou took so many bright flowering young men, i’ the jungles of the Orient. These young men gave their lives, and Donald too;
Donald who loved to play at ninepins.
And so, Sir Donald, in fairest accordance
With what your wishes last well might have been,
We make commitment of your last remains
To the deep bosom of the ocean buried,
A peaceful progress to the ocean, which
You loved so well. Now cracks a bowler’s heart.
NOTE: A particularly rabid Lebowski fan with terrific front row seats was good enough to film the first twenty minutes of the last performance of Two Gentlemen and upload them on the YouTubes. Due to various ridiculous legal nonsense courtesy of Churlish Persons Who Shall Remain Unnamed, it's not wise for us to embed them here. It would be a shame if we were to accidentally include a link to them, though. Like this one. Whoops. Oh, did it again, sorry.
Kevin Orzechowski...William Shakespeare, tourist
Josh Mertz...The Knave
Craig Kelton Peterson and Dan Phai... Blanche and Woo, thugs
Bob Laine... Sir Walter of Poland, a veteran
Stewart Urist... Sir Donald, a bowler
Matt Gray... Mr. Brandt, personal assistant
Ed Lane... Sir Geoffrey of Lebowski, achiever
Becky Byers... Lady Bonnie Lebowski, trouble
Devin Landin... Oliver aka Karl Hungus, nihilist
Devin Landin... Jack Smoke, pacifist
Matt Gray... Joshua Quince, pederast
Craig Kelton Peterson... Liam O’Brien, lackey
Brianna Tyson... Maude Lebowski, artist and feminist
Craig Kelton Peterson and Dan Phai... Nihilists, germans
Shiloh Klein... Player Queen
Devin Landin... Player Hungus
Melissa Opie... Player Bonnie
Kelly McCormack... Player Whore
Erin Posanti... Mistress Quickly, bowling green and tavern proprietress
Craig Kelton Peterson... Knox Harrington, odd duck
Devin Landin... Doctor Butts, no applause please just throw money
Courtni Wilson and Erin Posanti... Incredibly Serious Performance Artists,
incredibly serious performance artists (grants pending)
Shiloh Klein... Pilar, nurse
Dan Phai... Lawrence, punk
Matt Gray... Clown, obviously quite upset about the whole thing
Devin Landin... Jacques Treehorn, actor/manager
Dan Phai... Brother Seamus, hot on the trail
Craig Kelton Peterson... Burke O’Hare, Gravedigger
AND INTRODUCING THE MIGHTY MARTY DANCERS:
Shiloh Klein * Kelly McCormack * Melissa Opie * Erin Posanti * Courtni Wilson
Managing Director, Michele Schlossberg
Artistic Director, Frank Cwiklik
For Horse Trade Theater Group:
Managing Director, Erez Ziv
Horse Trade Technical Director, Elaine Jones
Costume Designer STEPH CATHRO
Production Technical Director luckydave
Scenic and Prop Design ELAINE JONES
Choreographer BECKY BYERS
Co-Producer MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG
As writ by ADAM BERTOCCI
Produced and Directed by FRANK CWIKLIK
Special thanks to Dina Gray and Karen Flood for costume support
This production of The Two Gentlemen of Lebowski is not endorsed by or associated with the Coen Brothers,
the writers and directors of the film “The Big Leboswki”, or Working Title or Universal Pictures, the producer
and distributor of the film “The Big Lebowski”. Any and all stage rights in and to “The Big Lebowski” are
reserved to the Coen Brothers.
When the rascally Petruchio charms his way into a wealthy family by hitching himself to their hellraising oldest daughter, Kate, he must find a way to tame the fiery lass before she ends up taming him -- which she just might. Not to mention her younger sister, Bianca, who's caught the eye of two scheming, dreaming lads who're willing to do anything to catch her heart and her hand in marraige. Plus, there's the nanny disguised as a man who convinces the gullible guy from out of town to masquerade as a titan of industry. Oh, and then there's the... you know, I think you just have to see this one.
Warm, bighearted, barrel-chested and shameless, this was a truly modern, radical take on a difficult classic, whose setting of the modern American South perfectly captured both the good ol'boy rambunctiousness of its hero and the changing and challenging attitudes of its heroine. Stripped to its walls, the legendary Red Room was transformed into a laidback, barewalled barnloft space, with bleacher seating, special blanket seats on the "NASCAR lawn", and inventive opening shorts that brought the rarely performed prologue to hilarious life. Beloved by audiences, and gathering strong reviews, this production proved once and for all that DMT's goal of creating Shakespeare for everyone was attainable, and roaring good fun besides.
Brianna Tyson as Kate (all photos by Frank Cwiklik)
L to R, Josh Potter as Grumio, Adam Swiderski as Petruchio
Brianna Tyson, Adam Swiderski
Lindsey Carter as Bianca, Zachary Luke as Lucentio
L to R, Lindsey Carter as Bianca, Charles Baker as Baptista, Brianna Tyson as Kate
L to R: Lindsey Carter as Bianca, Joshua B. Schwartz as Hortensio, Zachary Luke as Lucentio
How does my father? Gentles, methinks you frown. And wherefore gaze this goodly company, As if they saw some wondrous monument, Some comet or unusual prodigy?
Why, sir, you know this is your wedding‐day. First were we sad, fearing you would not come; Now sadder, that you come so unprovided.
Sufficeth I am come to keep my word, Though in some part enforced to digress, Which, at more leisure, I will so excuse As you shall well be satisfied withal. But where is Kate? I stay too long from her: The morning wears, 'tis time we were at church.
See not your bride in these unreverent robes.
To me she's married, not unto my clothes: Could I repair what she will wear in me, As I can change these poor accoutrements, 'Twere well for Kate and better for myself. But what a fool am I to chat with you, When I should bid good morrow to my bride, And seal the title with a lovely kiss!
Fiddler, forbear; you grow too forward, sir.
But, wrangling pedant, this is The patroness of heavenly harmony. Then give me leave to have prerogative, And when in music we have spent an hour, Your lecture shall have leisure for as much.
Preposterous ass, that never read so far To know the cause why music was ordain'd!
Sirrah, I will not bear these braves of thine.
They lunge at each other, begin doing that sad‐assed hug’n’slap fighting that drunk mooks do at bars. ENTER BIANCA, who halts them, but is obviously pleased that she is being fought over.
Why, gentlemen, you do me double wrong, To strive for that which resteth in my choice. I am no breeching scholar in the schools, I'll not be tied to hours nor 'pointed times, But learn my lessons as I please myself. And, to cut off all strife, here sit we down. Take you your instrument, play you the whiles; His lecture will be done ere you have tuned.
Hortensio kicks like a toddler, shrugs, shuffles off. Stops.
You'll leave his lecture when I am in tune?
That will be never: tune your instrument.
Hortensio lunges for Lucentio, Biana steps in. Surly, Hortensio stomps away, fiddling incompetently with his guitar as he goes.
Enter TRANIO, ridiculously in drag, oversized coat, fake cigar, terrible fake mustache, briefcase. She stands a moment, looks around. The other men look her over with bewilderment, save Lucentio, who looks nervous, terrified.
Gentlemen, God save you. If I may be bold, Tell me, I beseech you, which is the readiest way To the house of Signior Baptista Minola?
Moment ‐‐ she looks to Lucentio: that’s your cue, dumbass.
oh! ‐‐ He that has the two fair daughters, is't he you mean?
Even he, stout fellow.
Sir, a word; Are you a suitor to the maid you talk of, yea or no?
And if I be, sir, is it any offence?
No; if without more words you will get you hence.
Why, sir, I pray, are not the streets as free For me as for you?
But so is not she.
For what reason, I beseech you?
For this reason, if you'll know, That she's the choice love of Signior Gremio.
That she's the chosen of Signior Hortensio.
Softly, my masters! if you be gentlemen, Do me this right; hear me with patience. Baptista is a noble gentleman, To whom my father is not all unknown, And were his daughter fairer than she is, She may more suitors have and me for one. Fair Leda's daughter had a thousand wooers; Then well one more may fair Bianca have: And so she shall; Lucentio shall make one, Though Paris came in hope to speed alone.
What! this gentleman will out‐talk us all.
Walter enters with a table, sets it down. Nathaniel a chair for Petruchio. Nicholas a plate of beef. Sugarsop a table cloth. They set up a table for them quickly. Grumio appears with glasses and a tallboy of Budweiser. Pours them each a glass.
Kate watches the food with glazed eyes and barely concealed hunger. Through the following, she attempts to eat and is constantly thwarted by the servants’ ineptitude, Petruchio’s attempts at Grace, and Grumio’s intrusive pouring skills.
PETRUCHIO Will you give thanks, sweet Kate; or else shall I? What's this? mutton?
Who brought it?
'Tis burnt; and so is all the meat. What dogs are these! Where is the rascal cook?
Petruchio pulls the food away from Kate, who lunges after it hungrily, shaking her head and grunting disapproval, as the Servants flee about. Kate switches to Petruchio’s side, tries to eat his food, it is snatched up by Curtis in a panic.
How durst you, villains, bring it from the dresser, And serve it thus to me that love it not? Theretake it to you, trenchers, cups, and all!
You heedless joltheads and unmanner'd slaves! What, do you grumble? I'll be with you straight.
I pray you, husband, be not so disquiet: The meat was well, if you were so contented.
Come on, i' God's name; once more toward our father's. Good Lord, how bright and goodly shines the moon!
The moon! the sun: it is not moonlight now.
I say it is the moon that shines so bright.
I know it is the sun that shines so bright.
Now, by my mother's son, and that's myself, It shall be moon, or star, or what I list, Or ere I journey to your father's house.
Say as he says, or we shall never go.
Forward, I pray, since we have come so far, And be it moon, or sun, or what you please: An if you please to call it a rush‐candle, Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me.
I say it is the moon.
I know it is the moon.
Nay, then you lie: it is the blessed sun.
Then, God be bless'd, it is the blessed sun: But sun it is not, when you say it is not; And the moon changes even as your mind. What you will have it named, even that it is; And so it shall be so for Katharina.
Hortensio and Grumio laugh at Petruchio. He withers. Katharina smiles, sits. Petruchio looks at her, wistfully. He’s lost.
Petruchio, go thy ways; the field is won.
Most productions of Taming of the Shrew cut the opening Christopher Sly prologue. This is, in a word, dumb. It's the only prologue in all of Shakespeare's canon, which means he didn't do it for no reason, and it repeats and lampoons not only the themes of the show, but Elizabethan stagecraft itself, from jigs to clowning to cross dressing, to the wide range of classes in the theater. Cutting it mortally wounds the piece: it's obviously intended to act as air-quotes or parentheses around the show as a whole.
The DMT Shrew was Blue Collar Comedy Tour meets Shakespeare, set in the urban South with a redneck Petruchio, a rabble-rousing, hard-drinking Kate, and suitors who were essentially beta males scrambling for attention. The prologue was filmed and shown to the audience bracketed by clips of football, KFC ads, and NASCAR races, hopefully setting up our NYC audiences for a southern mock-fest. The prologue itself was fun to do -- meant to look like an early-70s European art film showing on a public cable station, it gave us a chance to send up both our own pretensions and the audience's expectations, and hopefully bring Shakespeare's intentions up to date. The full preshow reel was about twenty minutes and framed to fit the available projection area, but I've cut this down to just the relevant sections (the prologue and the Hortensio's Auto World ad preceding) and reframed it for a full screen. -- Frank Cwiklik, NYC
billboard created for social media
billboard created for social media
billboard created for social media
billboard created for social media
billboard created for social media
billboard created for social media
DMTHEATRICS' AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE FACTORY
IN ASSOCIATION WITH HORSE TRADE THEATER GROUP
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
ADAM SWIDERSKI * BRIANNA TYSON
LINDSEY CARTER * ZACHARY LUKE * JOSHUA SCHWARTZ * CHARLES BAKER
KYMBERLY TUTTLE * JOSH POTTER * MICHELLE POLERA
with EDGAR EGUIA as Mr. Pedant
and TROY ALAN as Vincentio
Written by William Shakespeare
Publicity by Emily Owens PR
Produced by Michele Schlossberg and Frank Cwiklik
Designed and Directed by Frank Cwiklik
Two Gentlemen of Lebowski (2010)