Coeurage Theatre Company mounts L.A.’s first Double Falsehood

coeurage theatre company is offering a first for west coast Shakespeare lovers with its current production of Double Falsehood. Not only has the play been recently acknowledged as written by the Bard, in combination with his successor John Fletcher, but it is also the first production to be mounted in Los Angeles. Much debate exists over whether Shakespeare truly did have a hand in the play, so my recommendation is that you see it and decide for yourself.

Love, lust, and deception duel in this tale of Henriquez (Jeremy Lelliott pictured left), a self-absorbed lothario whose lascivious appetite for the fair Violante (Valorie Curry) causes him to violate her against her will and then cast her aside, ruined, with no other option but to flee to the woods. He then schemes to marry his friend Julio’s (Peter Weidman) fiancé, Leonora, (Sammi Smith) by striking a deal with her father (Dennis Gersten) to the horror of the young woman who attempts an unsuccessful suicide before escaping to a nunnery.

Director Kirsten Kuiken has wisely kept the staging simple and direct, using only a few set pieces in the intimate space and allowing the words themselves to be the focus. Several well-crafted performances make coeurage’s production worthy of a trek to the Actors Circle Theatre in Hollywood, especially those of Curry and Lelliott.

Curry’s Violante (right) is a woman who commands attention with stillness and quiet intensity, whether in her female persona or disguised as a boy. She says more with a look than you can imagine and you’ll be hard-pressed to take your eyes off her when she is on stage. Lelliott is equally enticing as the cad who commits the double falsehood, offering insight into the gray area of one man’s bankrupt conscience and his attempt to justify his actions. His Henriquez is charming, smooth, and ever so slightly oily, and he handles the text with an ease that allows its many subtleties to ride the air before being pricked like a bubble meeting a pin.

Additionally, Alexander Wells has a strong double turn as the Duke and a Shepherd who discovers Violante’s secret in the woods, and Michael Yurchak is steady and honest as Henriquez’s brother Roderick, the voice of reason who helps restore all things to their rightful place…though not all are happily resolved.

Original music is by coeurage’s emotional secret weapon, Gregory Nabours, and Joe Calarco has created the effective sound design. Michelle Stan’s lighting defines locales that range from dark and moody to pastoral in the intimate space, and Erik McEwen is credited with costume, hair & make-up design. Fullerton Civic Light Opera supplies the 1950s vintage costumes

Whether or not Double Falsehood continues to be attributed to Shakespeare in years to come, or is debunked by some as yet undiscovered authority, the opportunity to see it for the first time is one that shouldn’t be missed. The play is slated to run though November 6 and tickets for all shows are “Pay What You Want.” Click Here for more information.


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