If you and your theater-obsessed date, significant other, or spouse are looking for ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, February is sure to please, as three local theater companies offer plays perfect for the month of love.
Shakespeare takes center stage in The Roustabout Theatre Troupe’s “Shakespeare, You Sexy Beast.” Four actors will read excerpts and portray characters from Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, Taming of the Shrew, All’s Well That Ends Well, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest, Antony & Cleopatra, Macbeth, and more.
Roustabout Managing Director and the production’s co-director, Anna Simmons, says, “excerpts will vary in size from full scenes to short snippets. In addition, we’ve got several sonnets including numbers 151, 130, and 73. We have saturated this script with as many plays and genres as possible.”
Roustabout, which was founded in 2016 by award-winning playwright Joseph Zettelmaier, along with Albright and Simmons, has put on productions in several locations. “Each of our events has gotten progressively more staged, from staged readings in August to the foley sound effects in the radio play, Dark Ride Radio Hour,” Simmons says. “For Shakespeare, You Sexy Beast we will be utilizing costume pieces and accessories while keeping the same base costume for each actor, which will help maintain the fast pace of the performance.”
“Shakespeare, You Sexy Beast” will be presented on Friday and Saturday, February 10 and 11 at the YES, Ypsi Experimental Space. But if you can’t fit either of their performances into your Valentine’s Day schedule, you have two other fine options. Theatre Nova and Ellipsis Theatre, which joined forces at the beginning of 2017, sharing the performance space at the Yellow Barn (just blocks from downtown Ann Arbor), will also present plays this month.
Theatre Nova, which is entering its third season, focuses on brand new plays and will produce James Hindman’s “Popcorn Falls,” a hilarious comedy about the perils and pitfalls of putting on plays.
Hindman, a Michigan native who’s had a long, successful career as an actor on Broadway (in “Cats” and “City of Angels,” among others) and on TV (notably “Law and Order” and “House of Cards”) is also an award-winning playwright with several plays and musicals to his credit. “Popcorn Falls,” one of his most recent, is set in a little Midwestern town struggling with the effects of corporate greed and trying to combat it with—of all things—theatrical productions.
While Theatre Nova, as its name suggests, focuses on the new, Ellipsis Theatre, which has recently come out of a decade long hibernation, plans to produce the classics, albeit with modern twists. Their February offering is the Bard’s beloved “Twelfth Night,” the perfect play about love in all its sweet and sour, confusing and comic, mysterious and glorious aspects.
Popcorn Falls, by James Hindman, runs at Theatre Nova in the Yellow Barn from January 19 through February 12.
Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare, runs at Ellipsis Theatre, also in the Yellow Barn from February 23 through March 12.