Quintessence Theatre Group of Mount Airy produces contemporary stagings of classic theatrical works. In 2018 they tackle some biggies in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and Ibsen’s The Wild Duck. They round their season off with a new kid-friendly adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. quintessencetheatre.org
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Directed by Ken Marini
January 31-February 18
Two road-weary men arrive at a tree in the middle of nowhere to await the arrival of Godot. The two men cannot agree on when they were to meet, or exactly where, or why, but both know they cannot leave until they meet Godot. As unexpected visitors pass by, the men wonder how long they have been waiting, or whether Godot will ever come. A tragicomedy in two acts, this humorous, disturbing, thrilling existential and absurdist masterpiece by Samuel Beckett is noted by the National Theatre in England as “the most significant English language play of the 20th century.” Quintessence’s production features a serious all-star cast: Frank X and Johnnie Hobbs Jr. as Estragon and Vladimir and Gregory Isaac, who just won audiences over as Henry Higgins in Quintessence’s My Fair Lady as Pozzo. Barrymore nominee J. Hernandez is Lucky.
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
Directed by Alexander Burns
March 21-April 28
A great Empire teeters on the edge of civil war. Caesar is triumphant on the battlefield, but in the halls of government his consolidated power is feared. Lest Rome’s republic become another dictatorship, Caesar is assassinated, and Rome descends into chaos. Shakespeare’s epic and thrilling tragedy demonstrates the challenges of sustaining a republic, the timeless nature of propaganda, and the power of self-interest and betrayal to turn government against its people and turn politics into a brutal blood sport.
The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen
Directed by Rebecca Wright
The idealistic son of a wealthy businessman seeks to destroy his philandering father’s reputation by exposing an ancient extramarital affair, which will also free his childhood friend from the delusions and lies on which his happy marriage is based. Meanwhile, an ambitious young inventor spends so much of his time and energy trying to devise an invention which will make him rich that he is unaware of the true richness of his daily life. Does the truth or money set us free, and should it be pursued whatever the cost? Or is it better to enjoy life’s simple joys and to allow the past and its buried secrets to remain so.
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
Adapted and Directed by Josh Carpenter
May 16-June 3
A young pauper named Tom Canty is beaten by the Palace Guards for standing to close the palace gate. Seeing this, Prince Edward stops the guards and invites Tom into the palace for food. Surprised that they look so much alike and share the same birthday, the young boys are eager to see how the other lives so they decide to change their clothes and switch lives temporarily, Meanwhile King Henry VIII of England dies and the court prepares to coronate Tom as their new king. Mark Twain’s classic tale of mistaken identity is full of wild adventures for both boys as they risk all to find out who they are, what they are worth and what friendship really is.