by Jessie Ammons
The Triangle’s robust theater scene is home to almost three dozen actively producing playhouses and venues. If you have a hard time choosing a production, maybe it’s easier to stick with a playwright.
Wherefore: Shakespeare in Raleigh is the city’s first organized series of productions either written or inspired by William Shakespeare. Each performance – six theatrical shows and one semi-staged presentation with the North Carolina Symphony – is produced by a different local drama troupe in a unique site. Some are classic performances and some are lively, modern interpretations. The festival kicked off in January with Burning Coal Theatre’s Romeo & Juliet, followed by Raleigh Little Theatre’s Much Ado About Nothing, and Measure for Measure by Durham’s Bare Theatre.
If this is the first you’re hearing of it, worry not. This month is the perfect time to dive in by attending May 5th’s discussion at Quail Ridge Books. WCPE announcer Tara Lynn and Raleigh Little Theatre’s executive director Charles Phaneuf will lead a panel of local theater directors to explain why Shakespeare matters and consider how his plays are still relevant.
Then, mark your calendar for the final four upcoming performances, which include two different interpretations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Dr. Ted Leinbaugh, a professor in the English and comparative literature department at UNC-Chapel Hill – who has an undergraduate degree from Yale, a master’s and Ph.D. from Harvard, and a master’s from Oxford – offers a bit of insight to make your theater-going more interesting.