2018-06-08 / Arts & Entertainment

Full Circle brings rarely staged 16th century dark comedy to UofSC Lab Theatre

Contributed by UofSC Department of Theatre and Dance

Full Circle Productions and the University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance will present the darkly comic and rarely staged Elizabethan-era play Arden of Faversham June 14-23 at the UofSC Lab Theatre.

Performances will be 8 p. m. nightly, June 14– 16 and June 20– 23. Tickets are $10 each and available only at the door. The Lab Theatre is located at 1400 Wheat Street, on the first floor of the Booker T. Washington building.

First printed in 1592, and to this date still listed as written by “Anonymous,” Arden of Faversham dramatizes the true story of the plot to murder greedy landowner Thomas Arden by his wife, Alice, and her cocksure secret lover, Mosby. Together they set in motion a series of increasingly complicated (and hilarious) assassination attempts, leading to a final scheme that threatens to lead all involved to a deadly fate.

“Comically sublime… reminiscent of films by Quentin Tarantino and the Coen brothers” — The Telegraph. UofSC professor Robert Richmond, widely known for his inventive staging of Shakespearean plays, is directing the production, which he describes as “absolute comedy from beginning to end.”

“ The style of this production is somewhere close to movies like Snatch and Sexy Beast,” he says. “All of these characters are loathsome in some way or other, and they’re all culpable for the decisions they make. This play appeals to the darker side of most people’s nature, but in a really humorous way.”

Richmond says while the design of the production is recognizably modern, the original language of the play, written in blank verse and prose, remains intact. Over the years, scholars have never settled on who wrote the script, attributing its possible authorship to notable writers of the time such as Shakespeare or Christopher Marlowe.

In addition to his interest in tackling a mysterious work from the Shakespearean era, the director says he was also intrigued by the freedom inherent in staging a largely unknown work. “I thought about what it might be like to focus one’s imagination and creativity into a play that feels new in many ways,” he says, “and to not have to be reverential or look back at past productions to move forward. It’s been very freeing for the company as a whole.”

An ultimate goal, he adds, would be to take the production to a much wider audience. “I wanted to create something that could definitely be mobile, but also be sold to regional rep theatres as something that would both benefit the University of S.C. and move Full Circle forward into creating work that can be seen on a national level.”

Richmond has experience doing just that. His play A Tale Told by an Idiot, an adaptation of Macbeth, was workshopped at the University in 2008 before moving on to performances at Lincoln Center and the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Appearing in the production are Full Circle company members Hunter Boyle ( Thomas Arden), Jennifer Moody Sanchez (Alice), Andrew Schwartz (Mosby), Katrina Blanding (Mistress Reede), Kelsie Hensley (Susan Mosby), Lindsey Rae Taylor (Big Will), and Terrance Henderson (Franklyn), plus UofSC theatre students Kaleb Edward Edley (Bradshaw) John Romanski (Shakebag), and Will Hollerung (Michael). Nate Terracio is the production designer and Elizabeth Jennings is the show’s stage manager.

“ This show plays into the times we live in now,” says Richmond. “It involves a woman who is harassed mentally and physically inside her marriage, who seeks an alternative way of life. And then it lampoons that very thing.”

For more information about Arden of Faversham, Full Circle Productions, or the theatre program at the University of SC, contact Kevin Bush by phone at 803-777-9353 or via email at bushk@mailbox. sc.edu.

Return to top