continues its “REVOLUTIONary Season” with
Julius Caesar by Shakespeare
March 22 – May 8, 2015
The Threepenny Opera
by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill
Now –May 17, 2015
REVOLUTIONRep: See both productions on one day
April 12, 25 or May 2
“We have always crafted overarching themes for our repertory seasons,” says Geoff Elliott, “but none has presented itself as organically and viscerally as this year’s.” Julia Rodriguez-Elliott reinforces this notion, adding, “In many ways, the idea of REVOLUTION had entered our collective consciousness in ways that all but dared us not to embrace it. As a director, I am especially energized by the concept of ‘disorderly conduct’—both because it appears as a theme in every one of these plays, especially The Threepenny Opera and Julius Caesar, and because wherever we look, all around the world, it is rearing its head in the forms of civic, social, and political unrest. We take our cue from Brecht himself, who said, ‘Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.’”
Both Caesar and Threepenny were created by a single design team, and are headed by Rodriguez-Elliott and Elliott as directors. While the plays can be enjoyed singly, both can also be seen on the same day as a matinee and evening performance as the foundation of REVOLUTIONRep on April 12, 25 and May 2. When seen back-to-back, the two plays become a still larger theatrical experience as their themes resonate and intertwine. On each of these three dates, 50 patrons will be able to participate in immersive directing or acting workshops, have a chance to meet the cast and crew, and enjoy dinner and lively social interaction with other theatregoers between the two performances.
This is the first time in its history that A Noise Within has designed plays so that the scenic changeover can occur seamlessly between a matinee and an evening performance, thus providing for a panoramic view of the theatrical process. And while new in format, REVOLUTIONRep brings to high relief the repertory platform that has made A Noise Within one of the country’s premier presenters of classical plays.
Julia Rodriguez-Elliott says, “REVOLUTIONRep promises a completely new theatrical experience, one where we forge alliances among our patrons, company, and cast. Together the two plays speak to events surrounding power – Victoria’s coronation in Threepenny and Julius Caesar’s rise to power – and how the characters of each play respond to these powers-that-be.”
“In many ways, this unique event punctuates the very premise of repertory theatre, and brings it front and center,” says Geoff Elliott. “Patrons will enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the repertory process, and get a glimpse of how its interlocking components allow us to present so wide a variety of theatre all season long. Chief among these are our nurturing of Resident Artists, a focus on ingenious stagecraft, and an unwavering commitment to the participation of guest directors, actors, and behind-the-scenes crew. What results is a creative cauldron that constantly bubbles with new ideas and theatrical invention.”
Broadway World said of The Threepenny Opera, “The cast is excellent…Leaves a lasting impression. See it!” “A spirited rendition of the timeless Threepenny Opera,” wrote the Huffington Post. StageSceneLA.com proclaimed, “Sensationally performed. Couldn’t be better.”
Julius Caesar, a tragedy by William Shakespeare, is believed to have been written in 1599 and is one of several plays by Shakespeare including Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra that are based on true events from Roman history. The central psychological drama of the work is Brutus’ struggle between the conflicting demands of his honor, patriotism and friendship. The main source of the play is Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch’s Lives. It is thought that the play reflects the general anxiety of Elizabethan England over the succession of leadership, anticipating the death of Elizabeth I.
A play of shifting civic tides, paranoia, and betrayal, Julius Caesar (last produced by the company in 2005) is a tense thriller steeped in civil war and the unending quest for power. Brutus, in concert with a cabal of senators fearing for the future of the Republic, slays its one true threat, Julius Caesar, but underestimates his power as emperor. The assassination throws the Republic into chaos and leads to the first Triumvirate. This play demands that its viewers consider just how far revolution can be taken. Though in Julius Caesar it is taken to the ultimate degree—assassination.
Julius Caesar’s close friend Brutus is cajoled into joining a group of conspiring senators because of a rumor started by Caius Cassius that Caesar intends to turn republican Rome into a monarchy. Brutus argues with Cassius and struggles with his own conscience. The growing tide of public support soon turns Brutus against Caesar. A soothsayer warns Caesar to “beware the Ides of March”; ignoring the soothsayer as well as his wife’s own premonitions, Caesar goes to the Senate.
Caesar, predictably, rejects a superficial petition, and Casca first stabs Caesar in the neck, and others follow in stabbing him; Brutus is the last. At this point, Caesar utters the famous line “You too, Brutus?” Mark Antony’s speech over Caesar’s corpse deftly turns public opinion against the assassins and rouses the mob to drive them from Rome. Next Brutus attacks Cassius for accepting bribes; the two are reconciled, especially after Brutus reveals that his beloved wife Portia has committed suicide; and they prepare for war with Mark Antony and Caesar’s son, Octavius. That night, Caesar’s ghost appears to Brutus with a warning. At the battle, Cassius and Brutus knowing they might die, smile a last smile to each other. However, Brutus wins that battle but Cassius dies –and with a heavy heart, Brutus battles again the next day. He loses, committing suicide by falling on his own sword.
The cast of Julius Caesar includes Robertson Dean* as Brutus, Patrick O’Connell* as Julius Caesar, Rafael Goldstein* as Marc Antony, Freddy Douglas* as Cassius, with Joe Sofranko*, June Carryl*, Deborah Strang*, Eric Curtis Johnson*, Alison Elliott, Jill Hill*, E.K. Dagenfield, and Abubakr Ali in various roles. *Denotes member of Actors’ Equity
The Threepenny Opera debuted in Berlin in 1928. Threepenny is nothing short of a groundbreaking work of what is now termed Brechtian Theatre, in which the full use of theatricality is on display and the fourth wall is broken; the audience is aware they are watching a play, a reaction to a previous, more naturalistic approaches to stage works. When first produced, the musical challenged the audience’s notions of how songs could be used to tell a story, and the characters’ ostensible amorality was thought unworthy of expression in song. A Noise Within last produced The Threepenny Opera in 1997.
An adaptation of The Beggar’s Opera by John Gay, Threepenny is a forerunner of modern musical theatre that follows the exploits of Macheath, Victorian London’s most notorious criminal, surrounded by a stage full of rogues, foisting a radical new brand of theatre with music (in America Show Boat would have just premiered, and Oklahoma! would still be 15 years away) on audiences. Threepenny was not just rebellious in form, but also in content highlighting the failure of capitalism and celebrating socialism.
The plot begins as Macheath (Mack), the nastiest criminal in London, marries Polly Peachum, the daughter of Peachum, the boss of London’s beggars, who gets a cut of their take for training them. Mack for his part has eluded jail due to his longtime friendship with “Tiger” Brown, the chief of police, whose daughter also has designs on Mack. A visit to a brothel, Peachum unleashing his beggars to ruin Queen Victoria’s coronation, Mack arrested, put in jail and up for execution, and a surprise ending all figure into the story.
The cast of The Threepenny Opera features Andrew Ableson* as Macheath, Geoff Elliott* as Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum, Deborah Strang* as Mrs. Peachum, Marisa Duchowny* as Polly Peachum, Jeremy Rabb* as Jackie “Tiger” Brown, Stasha Surdyke* as Jenny, Maegan McConnell* as Lucy, E.K. Dagenfield as Filch, along with ensemble members. *Denotes member of Actors’ Equity
Tickets, special events
Single ticket prices for Julius Caesar and The Threepenny Opera start at $40. Contact the A Noise Within box office in person, via phone at 626-356-3100, or online at www.ANoiseWithin.org for updated pricing and seat availability. A Noise Within is located on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Sierra Madre Villa Avenue at 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107.
The engagement of Julius Caesar includes a pre-performance symposium on Wednesday, March 25 at 6:30pm, with a discussion of the play prior to the 7:30pm curtain; and post-performance conversations with the artists on Friday April 17 at 8pm, Sunday May 3 at 2pm, and Friday, May 8 at 8pm. The Pay What You Can performance is Thursday, March 26 at 7:30pm.
The engagement of The Threepenny Opera includes a pre-performance symposium on Wednesday, February 18 at 6:30PM with a discussion of the play prior to the 7:30pm curtain; and post-performance conversations with the artists on Friday, March 13 at 8PM, Sunday, March 15 at 2pm, Friday April 3 at 8pm, and Friday April 24 at 8pm. The Pay What You Can performance is Thursday, Feb 19 at 7:30pm.
The Good Person of Szechwan by Bertolt Brecht translated by Tony Kushner will be read, directed by Stephen Rockwell, as part of the A Noise Within Words Within Resident Artists’ Play Reading Series on Wednesday, May 6 at 7pm.
A Noise Within’s 2014-15 Season also continues with the West Coast premiere of Figaro by Charles Morey, freely adapted from Le Mariage de Figaro by Beaumarchais (Now-May 10). The company’s 2014-15 season is made possible in part by a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, and reaches the public through media sponsorships by 89.3 KPCC FM and Pasadena Weekly.
About A Noise Within
A Noise Within, founded in 1991 and named “one of the nation’s premier classical repertory companies” by The Huffington Post, is the leading presenter of these plays in Southern California. The company’s mission is to produce world-class performances of the great works of drama in rotating repertory with a resident company; to educate and inspire the public through programs that foster an understanding and appreciation of history’s great plays and playwrights; and to train the next generation of classical theatre artists.
Originally based in a former Masonic Temple in Glendale, the company moved to its present home—a building of architectural distinction designed by Edward Durrell Stone of Kennedy Center fame—in 2011. Helmed by Producing Artistic Directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, who hold MFAs from San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre, A Noise Within delivers a seven-show repertory season and a wide range of educational programs to diverse audiences from Los Angeles County and well beyond. Voted “Best Theatre” by readers of Time Out Los Angeles and Reader Recommended by Pasadena Weekly, A Noise Within is indeed “California’s Home for the Classics.”
A Noise Within, 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107
Sunday, March 22 at 2pm
Wednesday, March 25 at 7:30pm (Symposium 6:30pm)
Thursday, March 26 at 7:30pm (Pay What You Can)
Friday, March 27 at 8pm
Saturday, March 28 at 8pm
Sunday, March 29 at 2pm
Saturday, April 11 at 2pm
Sunday, April 12 at 7pm (REVRep)
Thursday, April 16 at 7:30pm
Friday, April 17 at 8pm (Conversation)
Saturday, April 18 at 8pm
Saturday, April 25 at 2pm (REVRep)
Sunday, April 26 at 2 and 7pm
Saturday, May 2 at 8pm (REVRep)
Sunday, May 3 at 2pm (Conversation)
Thursday, May 7 at 7:30pm
Friday, May 8 at 8pm (Conversation)
A Noise Within, 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107
Wednesday February 18 at 7:30pm (Symposium 6:30pm)
Thursday February 19 at 7:30pm (Pay What You Can)
Friday February 20 at 8pm
Saturday February 21 at 8pm
Sunday February 22 at 2pm
Friday March 13 at 8pm (Conversations)
Sunday March 15 at 2 and 7pm (Conversations after 2pm)
Thursday April 2 at 7:30pm
Friday April 3 at 8pm (Conversations)
Saturday April 11 at 8pm
Sunday April 12 at 2pm (REVRep)
Saturday April 18 at 2pm
Thursday April 23 at 7:30pm
Friday April 24 at 8pm (Conversation)
Saturday April 25 at 8pm (REVRep)
Saturday May 2 at 2pm (REVRep)
Sunday May 3 at 7pm
Saturday May 9 at 2 and 8pm
Saturday May 16 at 8PM
Sunday May 17 at 2PM
Tickets and information:
Website: www.anoisewithin.org; Phone: 626-356-3100 ex 1
Prices: Single Tickets from $40; Student Rush with ID an hour before performance $20.00
Groups (10 or more): Adults from $25.00; Students from $18.00
Pay What You Can Performance: Pay What You Can tickets (first Thursday preview) go on sale at the box office window the day of the performance, starting at 2pm, and are sold on a cash-only basis based on availability; limit of two tickets per person.