(December 17, 2020 – New York) The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (Davis McCallum, Artistic Director; Kate Liberman, Managing Director) shared today plans for a 2021 Summer Season under their iconic open-air tent. Should circumstances allow, they will produce The Tempest, William Shakespeare’s late masterpiece of magic, power, and forgiveness; alongside a searing contemporary play about the lasting legacy of slavery in America, The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington by James Ijames. If in-person performances are not able to proceed, HVSF will work to bring these plays to audiences in alternative formats next summer. The 2021 season will also feature a radio play of Shakespeare’s Macbeth shared with partner schools as a podcast.
This will be HVSF’s final season on the grounds of Boscobel House and Gardens, where the company has been in residence for 34 years. Beginning in 2022, HVSF will move to the company’s first permanent home in Philipstown, NY, where audiences will continue to experience the company’s signature open-air productions, pre-show picnicking on the grounds, and enjoy the breathtaking Hudson River vista that will continue to serve as the backdrop for productions.
HVSF produces outdoors, which is commonly thought to be a lower-risk environment for virus transmission, but the safety of company members and audiences is always paramount. The company will follow all local, federal, and union guidelines and will take all appropriate precautions to determine safe protocols for the season. The productions will only proceed in person if it is safe and responsible to do so. The performance schedule will be announced at a later date.
“Planning a season in an ongoing pandemic is a challenge, but we feel that we are uniquely positioned to make theater under an open-air tent next summer,” said Artistic Director Davis McCallum. “A scaled-back two-play season will allow us to adapt to the changing circumstances of the pandemic and returns us to our roots as a repertory company, with many of the same actors appearing in both plays. In The Tempest, Shakespeare writes of a ‘brave new world,’ but these plays make it clear that we must reckon with our past in order to move freely into our future. They speak to the current moment and to each other in powerful and surprising ways and will be the perfect send-off to the site we have called home for over three decades. We are also thrilled to make the spellbinding auditory experience of Shakespeare’s Macbeth widely accessible to audiences of all ages, by releasing it as a podcast to our Education partners throughout the region.”
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Ryan Quinn
O, wonder! / How many goodly creatures are there here! / How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world, That has such people in’t!
Prospero has been exiled from his Dukedom in Milan for 12 years, but as the time has come for a final reckoning, he weaves a spell to draw his enemies to his enchanted island. Believed by many to be Shakespeare’s final play, the exuberant and poignant romance is a fitting grand finale to HVSF’s 34-year tenure at Boscobel. The transcendent story brings new meaning to the phrase “social distancing” and thrums with the deep human need for connection and community. Longtime HVSF Company Member Ryan Quinn returns to direct.
THE MOST SPECTACULARLY LAMENTABLE TRIAL OF MIZ MARTHA WASHINGTON
By James Ijames
Directed by Taylor Reynolds
Should we be governed by our heads or our hearts? Reason is prevailing. In our time, we must ask ourselves, what is the balance between what we feel and what we know.
In his will, George Washington included an order to free his enslaved people upon his wife’s death. Christmas Eve, 1800: George Washington is dead, Martha is battling a wicked fever, and those who have been held in bondage at Mount Vernon wait for the end to come, and the promised hour of liberation. As the night goes on, Martha moves through a fever dream of dizzying theatricality, exploring the hideous and enduring ramifications of America’s original sin. Taylor Reynolds (Plano) directs.
HVSF Educational Audio Production
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Raz Golden
Where shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain?
When the hurlyburly’s done, when the battle’s lost and won
Inspired by his work on the creative team for The Public Theater’s podcast adaptation of Richard II, director Raz Golden will adapt this production of Macbeth as an audio drama for young audiences. The classic story charts the extremes of ambition and guilt, and the disruption of the natural order. With our world in a state of upheaval, this reexamination of Shakespeare’s play will speak directly to the cultural moment and illuminate a harrowing psychological descent into darkness.
Full details about HVSF’s 2021 season, including ticket information, will be announced at a later date.