Great Lakes Theater (GLT) will launch the world premiere of DOUBLE HEART: The Courtship of Beatrice and Benedick, a free hour-long touring production scheduled to visit twenty-one neighborhood venues throughout northeast Ohio, to kick off the company's 2013 series of Surround outreach programming.
The play, an imagined prequel to Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, is written in poetic verse by NE Ohio playwright and Supervisor of GLT's School Residency Program, David Hansen, and features a touring company of four actors directed by Lisa Ortenzi.
The tour commences on February 12th, continues through March 7th and is designed to support Great Lakes Theater's upcoming mainstage production of Much Ado About Nothing at the Hanna Theatre, PlayhouseSquare, which opens in March. All performances of the touring production are free and open to the public, with the exception of performances at area schools, which are private. The touring play is appropriate for all audiences.
"For nearly 25 years, Great Lakes Theater has brought free, professional theater out into the community in the form of our educational outreach tours. It is quite a legacy, and we are so grateful for everyone in the community who supports this important work," said Daniel Hahn, Great Lakes Theater's Director of Education about the company's annual tour. "When you see the audience's appreciation, whether it's in an auditorium of high school students or at an assisted living facility, or even at a local community theatre or library, there's nothing quite like taking professional theatre to the people, and having the opportunity to have an open discussion with our audiences and actors after each and every performance. It's one of the most important things we do to fulfill our mission."
DOUBLE HEART, an imagined prequel to Much Ado About Nothing, envisions the early courtship of Beatrice and Benedick, providing a fascinating back story to Shakespeare's timeless tale. Written in poetic verse, the play is a celebration of great characters and enthralling language.
The four-actor touring company features Cleveland actors David Hansen, Annie Hickey, Emily Pucell, and James Rankin. The design trio of Terry Martin (scenic design), Esther Haberlen (costume design) and Richard Ingraham (sound design) complete the play's production team. Lisa Ortenzi, the director of the touring production, also serves as the Supervisor of Great Lakes Theater's acclaimed School Residency Program. "I can't say enough about the incredible talent we have working on all aspects of this project," said Hahn. "Lisa Ortenzi is one of the finest directors in town. David Hansen's award-winning playwriting is getting all kinds of attention. And our design trio of Terry, Esther and Richard are second to none."
DOUBLE HEART is a sixty-minute program that includes an introduction and post-performance discussion. Times and dates are subject to change. Call individual venues for more information.
DOUBLE HEART is part of a series of community outreach programs that surrounds Great Lakes Theater's mainstage production of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing (Hanna Theatre, PlayhouseSquare / March 29 - April 14, 2013). Great Lakes Theater's spring Surround offers multiple educational programs designed to connect the issues in the plays that Cleveland's classic company produces to the issues in people's own lives. All Surround events are free and open to the public.
Click HERE for a complete list of tour performance venues, dates and times. Private school performances have been omitted from the list.
Photo by TRG Reality