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Summer 2013 Season at Swan Theatre (Stratford)

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Tragedy, comedy and saucy satire in The Swan's 2013 season
The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) offers a variety of performances at the Swan Theatre, in Stratford upon Avon, during 2013. Whether it's tragedy, comedy or satire you want, it's all on offer.

Here are the key plays to look out for:

Swan1
The Swan Theatre has a feast of dramas in the 2013 season


Titus Andronicus
May 16 - October 26, 2013

This is one of Shakespeare's most brutal plays with revenge, murder, war and even cannibalism all combined.

Actor Stephen Boxer - as well known for his stage work as TV roles including Prime Suspect, Doctors and, most recently, Foyle's War - takes on the title role of Titus.

Stephen
Stephen Boxer plays the lead role in brutal Titus Andronicus at The Swan Theatre


It is the tale of a Roman general, who returns from a brutal ten year war to bury the sons he has lost in conflict. To honour their deaths he executes the eldest child of his enemies' Queen, however this is not the end of bloodshed.

A chain of murder and retribution engulfs Rome as Titus struggles to escape the horror of violent deeds done in a violent world.

Michael Fentiman makes his RSC debut directing this play, which contains scenes of graphic violence.

A Mad World My Masters
June 6 - October 25, 2013

This edited version of Thomas Middleton's comedy modernises this farce full of satire and lust, transferring it from Jacobean London to seedy Soho in the 1950s, despite staying faithful to the work.

A Mad World
Rehearsals for A Mad World My Masters

Lust and deception are the themes of the day as dastardly bachelor Dick Follywit lives on his wits to fool his rich uncle by pretending to be a lord, a high class call girl and a poor actor. Meanwhile, Truly Kidman is a high-class call girl, but a a quick-witted one who is out to catch herself a rich young man.

This is the first time this play has been performed at the RSC which has only ever staged four Middleton plays the last being in 2006 with Laurence Boswell's production of Women Beware Women with Penelope Wilton.

The production was developed as part of the RSC's Studio programme which aims to support established artists who want to develop innovative approaches to Shakespeare, classical text and new work. As part of the update, it features a live jazz band playing music from the 1950s era.

A Mad World 1
Richard Goulding stars in A Mad World My Masters


Speaking of the production, Sean Foley said: "This is one of the most hilariously wicked plays ever written. Outrageous and sweetly daft, modern but timeless, it mixes profound wit and slapstick, poetics and on-the-nose jokes in a unique way - yet still manages to keep us interested in its marvellous parade of characters striving to find their way to love and fortune in a recognisably fast paced London.

"I wanted to try to make sure everyone could laugh like they must have done in 1605: uproariously, and at ourselves. So we decided to cut away innuendoes, references and allusions to things no one has heard of any more; to change names when Middleton's joke could be rendered more clearly with modern language; and to 'translate' from Jacobean English in to our own contemporary idioms in those few passages where we judged that Middleton's intentions and humour would be too buried in inaccessible language.

A Mad World2
A modern version of A Mad World My Masters comes to the Swan Theatre

"London is timeless, and 1950s Soho seemed to offer a stylish and recognisable stand in for London 1605: a post war world, where everyone is worried about sliding morals, the position of women, a changing class system, immigrants, and where on earth to get the next drink. But it was also a time when 'you've never had it so good' and when foreign food and fashions began loosening straight-laced Britain, despite the high-minded protestations of some".

Richard Goulding plays the lead role of Dick Follywit; while John Hopkins, known as Sgt Scott in ITV drama Midsomer Murders, plays the part of Penitent Brothel; and Sarah Ridgeway takes on the role of Truly Kidman.

Candide
August 29 - October 26, 2013

Inspired by Voltaire's philosophical novel, Candide, RSC writer in residence, Mark Ravenhill, has created this new comedy play, all about optimism.

Candide
Will optimism win the day in the comedy, Candide?


It follows dreamer, Candide, whose optimism is tested when he suffers endless misfortunes. As his world collapses around him, the audience is transported across the centuries to new locations and parallel universes. How will Candide's optimism fare when it collides with life in the 21st century?

This performance includes strong language, violence and is only suitable for people aged 15 or over.

Antony and Cleopatra
November 7 - November 30, 2013

Shakespeare's take on the iconic lovers, Antony and Cleopatra, brings all the passion and despair in their final days.

Former RSC International Playwright in Residence Tarell Alvin McCraney has created a stripped down, radical new version of Shakespeare's tale of romance and politics.

This play will also be performed in America at Miami's GableStage and The Public Theater, in New York, after moving on from The Swan Theatre.

TICKETS

Tickets for plays at the Swan Theatre start from 12 - 34 from the RSC Website at: /Your text goes here
Box office - 0844 800 1110
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Why? Tragedy, comedy and satire all in one theatre
When: Until November 30, 2013
Phone: 0844 800 1110
Where: Swan Theatre
Cost: From 12 - 34
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