Savage Rose Classical Theatre Company is preparing for their eighth season–one that’s all about reinventing familiar stories and techniques, while preserving the integrity of classic language.
“I think what people tend to be a little nervous about when they think about classical is that, ‘Oh, it’s too hard to understand or it’s Old English,’” says Kelly Moore, the artistic director of Savage Rose. “And it can be a little challenging when you’re not used to it, but I think it’s a matter of getting it into your ear and listening.”
Moore says that the company’s programming for this season–as well as past seasons– concentrates on truly bringing the words and the language to the forefront and letting the text speak for itself.
“Things like Shakespeare and Jacobean dramas–those early works–can really let the words do the work, and for actors it presents a really interesting challenge of getting into the psychology of what the language is telling you,” said Moore.
The company’s upcoming productions provide plenty of opportunity to let the original language shine–starting this Sunday with their “Words, Words, Words” series (catch the “Hamlet” reference?) in which actors do a stage reading of a play. Moore says they typically choose a more obscure work for this series.
“We’ll be reading a play called the ‘The History and Fall of Caius Marius’ by Thomas Otway, which I’m sure very few people have heard of, but it is from 1680 and it is a mash-up of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and a story of parallel lives by Plutarch,” she says.
The play is about two senators, Metellus and Marius Senior, fighting for political control. Metellus represents the old nobility, but the followers of Marius regard him as a shameful patrician. Marius Senior is a newcomer, having held power for a very short time, and Metellus wants to keep Marius Senior from continuing as a senator. After a series of physical confrontations and a heated power struggle, Marius Senior and his men are exiled. Caught in the political struggle between their fathers are two young lovers.
“And [the play] literally does use “Romeo and Juliet,” and many of the recognizable plot points from that work and it’s really funny to watch it all play out,” Moore says.
The second installment of the “Words” series is a 1921 play called “R.U.R.” by Karel Capek.
The play begins in a factory that makes artificial people, called roboti (robots), out of synthetic organic matter. They are not exactly robots by the current definition of the term; these creatures are closer to the modern idea of cyborgs, androids or even clones, as they may be mistaken for humans and can think for themselves. They seem happy to work for humans at first, but that changes, and a hostile robot rebellion leads to the extinction of the human race.
In addition to the “Words” series, Savage Rose has two mainstage productions slated for later in the season: a three-person, 90-minute adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment” and Lewis Carol’s “Alice and Wonderland.”
Finally, the company is an unorthodox radio play version of “Titus Andronicus,” which Moore hopes that they will turn into a podcast.
“The season is kind of on a theme of adaptation,” Moore says. “‘Titus’ is being adapted into a radio play so it’s different presentation for that play, and then ‘Crime and Punishment’ and ‘Alice and Wonderland’ are stage adaptations of literary classics.’”
The Savage Rose Theatre Company begins its new season this Sunday, May 15, at Vault 1031. More information is available here.