Double-bill productions revolving around a "Rochester connection" and an original version of an ancient classic make the new theater season at the University of Rochester especially noteworthy.
In the fall, the University's International Theatre Program presents two plays that tell the story of the lecherous but complicated Earl of Rochester. Written three centuries apart, the works give audiences an opportunity to see the same subject matter refracted through the mores of the times.
George Etherege's The Man of Mode, premiering in October, is the first Restoration Play ever presented by the Theatre Program. It will be followed by The Libertine by Stephen Jeffreys, which takes the 20th century tack of delving into the Earl's inner nature.
Though The Libertine was commissioned by London's Royal Court Theatre to be performed in tandem with The Man of Mode, the works are rarely seen together. Rochester audiences will have that opportunity in December, when the plays run alternate nights in repertory.
An ambitious original production of Homer's The Iliad will have its world premiere at the University in the spring. Adapted from an award-winning translation by Robert Fagles, a renowned classicist at Princeton University, the work will be performed in two parts, each presented on alternate evenings. On selected weekends both parts will be presented back-to-back, with an extended dinner break in-between.
ADMISSION: All productions are $8 general admission; $7 for faculty, staff, and seniors; and $5 for students. Group rates are available. Visa and Mastercard are accepted. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or by calling (585) 275-4088.
STAGE: Todd Theater in Todd Union on the University's River Campus.
PARKING: Free after 7 p.m. weeknights and weekends on University lots.
MAN OF MODE by George Etherege
PLAYS: 8 p.m., Oct. 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, and Dec. 9 and 11
3 p.m., Oct. 24
Please note: Oct. 24 matinee is ASL interpreted
THE LIBERTINE by Stephen Jeffreys
PLAYS: 8 p.m., Dec. 2, 3, 4 and 10
3 p.m., Dec. 5 and 12
Please note: Dec. 5 matinee is ASL interpreted
In a unique pairing of plays from different eras, artistic director Mervyn Willis creates a "Rochester season." Both The Man of Mode, a brilliant Restoration comedy of manners, and the hilarious contemporary satire The Libertine deal with the Earl of Rochester, a notorious rake and one of the most fascinating and contradictory men of the 17th century. After their initial runs, the plays will be performed in repertory to provide local audiences a unique opportunity to contrast and compare these extraordinary dramatic works and the man who inspired them.
The productions will be directed by Willis, with set and costume design by Nikita Tkachuk; lighting design by Jane Cox; and music and sound design by Alexandros.
THE ILIAD by Homer Translated by Robert Fagles World premiere of a theatrical adaptation by Nigel Maister
Part I: Behold My Affliction
PLAYS: 8 p.m., April 13, 15, 20, and 27
3 p.m., April 22, 23, and 29
Part 2: Fire into My Bones
PLAYS: 8 p.m., April 14, 21, 22, 23, 28, and 29
3 p.m., April 16
In one of its most ambitious projects ever, the University's International Theatre Program presents the world premiere of the dramatic adaptation of one of Western civilization's greatest texts. Based on Robert Fagles' award-winning translation, associate director Nigel Maister and his collaborators create a theatrical journey through the final years of the Trojan War, told through acting, song, puppetry, movement, and video.
The two-parts of The Iliad will be performed alternately, with double-bill productions on selected weekends. The back-to-back performances start with a matinee and will offer an extended dinner break before Part 2.
Maister is directing and providing set design for the productions. Costume and puppet design are by Holly Laws; videography by Kay Hines; music and sound design by Obadiah Eaves; lighting design by Allen Hahn; and choreography by Sally Goers Fox.