Kate Jopson to Adapt and Direct Twelfth Night for Coeurage Theatre Company

Twelfth Night - coeurage
Coeurage Theatre Company has announced that Kate Jopson will adapt and direct its upcoming production of Twelfth Night, which begins performances July 15 at GTC Burbank. Interpreted through a lens of social consciousness and supported by Shakespeare’s timeless text, this production will take a critical look at cultural isolation and the beautiful, dark, and deeply human longing to belong.

Escaping the turbulence of their homeland, Viola (Amielynn Abellera) and Sebastian (Robert Paterno) risk a perilous journey to Illyria hoping to find security and a new life. When their boat sinks and the twins fear each other dead, the adventure truly begins. Welcome to an Illyria peopled by street musicians, eccentric young affluence, immigrants, and the media-obsessed in Twelfth Night.

The ensemble also includes Nardeep Khurmi (Orsino), Dieterich Gray (Toby), Leilani Smith (Maria), Graham Kurtz (Andrew), Lillian Solange (Olivia), Hannah Tamminen (Olivia), Rodrigo Brand (Malvolio), Kamar Elliott (Antonio), Jaime Barcelon (Captain/Officer 1), Miranda LeRae (Maria’s Assistant/Officer 2), and Randolph Thompson.

Scenic design is by JR Bruce, lighting design is by Bo Tindell, and costume design is by Benita Elliott. Original music is composed by Oscar Moncada, and the stage manager is Katheryn Bryant.

Director Kate Jopson is Artistic Director of The Flagship Ensemble, Associate Artistic Director of Circle X Theatre Company, and co-founder of the devising group Hephaestus Co. She has directed site-specific, immersive, and traditional theatre in San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Jopson has assisted at the Seoul Arts Center, La Jolla Playhouse, Theatre @ Boston Court, A.C.T, CalShakes, and The Magic Theatre. She was Experience Director for Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre and Associate Artistic Director for Woman’s Will, and has been a guest lecturer at UC San Diego and CU Boulder.

July 15 – August 13, 2016 (opening night 7/16)
Coeurage Theatre Company at GTC Burbank
1100 W. Clark Avenue
Burbank, CA 91506
Street parking is available
Reservations: (323) 944-2165 or Coeurage.org/twelfth-night
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8pm. All seats are Pay What You Want.


Review: Coeurage Theatre Company Finds the Art in ANDRONICUS

Andronicus - Coeurage Theatre Company

L-R: Ted Barton, TJ Marchbank, Katie Pelensky, Gabriel Di Chiara, Greg Steinbrecher, Paul Romero, Brian Abraham. Photo credit: Robert Campbell

Without a doubt, there are scenes in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus that are difficult to watch. Actions that might come across as ludicrous on the page make one shrink with revulsion when viewed in the flesh, and within the confines of a small theater the effect is much like that of a horror show taken to the limit. Rape, murder, dismemberment, more murder, and about as much brutality as a person can handle in one sitting is what you’ll find at the Lyric-Hyperion Theatre. That Coeurage Theatre Company can stage it so you can still appreciate the art in Shakespeare’s early attempt at tragedy is quite an accomplishment and also a reflection of the company’s passion and all-hands-in approach. Adapted and directed by artistic director, Jeremy Lelliott, it boasts a number of fine performances and an ensemble that is at the ready every step of the way.


Coeurage Theatre Company Adapts Shakespeare’s ANDRONICUS

Coeurage logoCoeurage Theatre Company, LA’s ‘Pay What You Want’ Company, has announced the second production of its 2014 season, Andronicus, adapted and directed by Coeurage artistic director Jeremy Lelliott. There will be one preview performance on Friday, July 11 at 8pm and opening is set for Saturday, July 12 at 8pm, with the play continuing through August 17 at Coeurage’s new home, the Lyric-Hyperion Theatre & Cafe in Silver Lake.

Deliciously twisted humor gives way to unexpected poignancy in this bold take on William Shakespeare’s original horror play The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus. Reveling in the darkest corners of human nature, Andronicus is a streamlined adaptation of Shakespeare’s most violent play; the bard’s masterful dramatic structure and brutal tale of revenge have been carefully preserved.  More

Review: Coeurage Theatre Company’s Love’s Labour’s Lost

Clockwise from left: Anthony Mark Barrow, Emily McLeod, Emelie O'Hara, Sammi Smith, Julianne Donelle

Clockwise from left: Anthony Mark Barrow, Emily McLeod, Emelie O’Hara, Sammi Smith and Julianne Donelle. Photos by Laura Crow.

Up-and-coming Coeurage Theatre Company makes a practice of including a Shakespeare play on its eclectic schedule each season. Following past productions of Romeo and Juliet and Double Falsehood comes their stab at Shakespeare’s comedy of words, Love’s Labour’s Lost. It’s a clever play, devoid of the kind of battles and wars so often found in many of Shakespeare’s other works. Instead it uses words as its weapon of choice. It can also be a challenge for an audience because the characters’ language contains many complicated figures of speech and plays on words meant to confuse, persuade, and challenge those around them. Shakespeare takes great pleasure in showing how silly those inflated with their own self-importance can be.

The absurdity of the linguistic excess can be quite amusing in skillful hands as the battle of wits sizzles and the verbal fireworks fly. But this is the Frat party version of LLL where the boys are full of pranks and the girls stand around looking pretty. The actors may be having a good time but there are a lot of vacant smiles and more than a little missing subtext that keeps the play from surging to life.  More

Coeurage Theatre Company is Ready for Love

Coeurage LLL

Coeurage Theatre Company, LA’s ‘Pay What You Want’ Company presents Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, directed by Ted Barton, Oct. 11 – Nov. 10. Opening night is set for Saturday Oct. 12, at the 2nd Stage Theatre in Hollywood.

In this witty comedy, three noble companions take an oath to devote themselves to three years of study, promising not to give in to the company of women – one somewhat more hesitantly than the others. He reminds the king that the princess and her three ladies are coming to the kingdom, and when all the parties meet, they all fall comically, instantly in love.

The cast will feature Brian Abraham, Jonas Barranca, Anthony Mark Barrow, Elitia Daniels, Julianne Donelle, Michael Faulkner, Madeline Harris, John Klopping, Jeremy Lelliott, Ian Littleworth, TJ Marchbank, Chris O’Brien, Emelie O’Hara, William Reinbold, Sammi Smith, and Patrick Wenk-Wolf. The production design is by Tito Fleetwood Ladd, costume design is by Mary Reilly, and sound design is by Joe Calarco.

Director Ted Barton returns to Coeurage, where he performed in Translations earlier this season. His work includes performances at Mark Taper Forum, TheatreWorks, Berkeley Playhouse, MainStreet Theatre Company, Theatricum Botanicum; California, Colorado, and Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festivals and Shakespeare Santa Cruz.

Performances will take place at the 2nd Stage Theatre, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 7pm, Oct. 11 – Nov. 10. All seats are available on a Pay What You Want basis. Click Here to reserve online or call (323) 944-2165. The 2nd Stage Theatre is located at 6500 Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood, 90038. Street parking is available.

coeurage theatre company Returns with Romeo and Juliet

coueurage theatre company, who last year brought the first production of the Bard’s Double Falsehood to Los Angeles, returns this spring with its interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. It is perhaps the most often performed and easiest to understand of Shakespeare’s plays for who doesn’t know the tale of the two star-crossed lovers from feuding houses that ends in both their deaths? More

Coeurage Theatre Company’s 2012 Season to include Romeo & Juliet

Coeurage Theatre Company, LA’s only pay-what-you want theatre, has announced its 2012 season, which will include Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, April 14 – May 20. The production will honor the running time suggested by “the two hours traffic of our stage.” With a cast dressed in Italian Renaissance costume, but far removed from a museum piece, it aims to give audiences a new notion of “traditional” Shakespeare. It will be directed by artistic director Jeremy Lelliott.

The season also feature Lanford Wilson’s Balm in Gilead, Jan 28 – March 4; the Mark Twain farce Is He Dead?, adapted by David Ives, June 8 – July 18; Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, Aug 3 – Sept 9; and the west coast premiere of Sean Graney’s hit play, The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love-Suicide, Sept 29 – Oct 28. Coeurage Theatre Company will continue residence at the Actors Circle Theatre in West Hollywood through the 2012 year. www.coeurage.org.

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.

Coeurage Theatre Company Gambles on Double Falsehood

Valorie Curry and Jeremy Lelliott

When Arden added Double Falsehood to its most recently published edition of Shakespeare’s Collected Works, it fueled the fire of a long running argument about the play’s authorship. Was it really a long lost play written by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher as Lewis Theobald claimed or was it merely a fraud? Since no copies of the original manuscript exist, we may never know for certain however pundits and literary scholars on both sides of the debate are passionate about their opinions.

On September 30, coeurage theatre company will step into the conversation when they open their production of Double Falsehood at The Actors Circle Theatre in Hollywood. Though the debate has gone on for almost three hundred years, the company didn’t choose the play simply because it was controversial.

According to artistic director Jeremy Lelliott, “When the story broke about a year and a half ago that Arden had found two passages in Double Falsehood that stood up to the Shakespeare test, it was strong enough evidence for them to include it in their Shakespeare collection. That story fascinated me so I read the play. It wasn’t as controversial then as it’s become now and when I read it I instantly wanted coeurage to do it.”

When asked how coeurage feels about the authorship of the play Lelliott says, “We back the perspective of Arden, which is that Shakespeare and Fletcher wrote a Cardenio play (that much is not really debated), and Lewis Theobald assembled the three manuscripts he claimed to have found in various states of completion, into something that could be produced. Arden’s stance is that Shakespeare is generally responsible for the first two and a half acts, Fletcher is generally responsible for the second two and a half acts, though they possibly both contributed to the entire play, and then there are some adaptations of the text from Theobald.

He adds, “Of course there are those that declare the entire text a fake but even their opinions contradict each other. One argument is that Double Falsehood is a forgery that Theobald wrote. The objection to that is it’s pretty clear which sections of the play he did write or adapt because there is a clumsiness to the writing in those passages. In his time Lewis Theobald was a failed playwright, a failed actor, a failed director, critic and translator, so I find the idea that he could have written this play by himself absurd.”

The story is based on a tale from Cervantes’ Don Quixote and follows Henriquez, the son of a Duke and traveling libertine who wreaks havoc on a small community. Impulsively, he not only rapes a young woman, Violante, but also schemes to get his best friend, Julio, out of the way so he can woo Julio’s fiancé, Leonora, to be his wife. It is a story full of passion, grief, and madness in the wilds of the countryside.

“Artistically, it was very appealing to me,” says Lelliott, “because even though the central figure’s actions are revolting and villainous, none of his soliloquies are Richard III-like at all. They’re all very crisis of conscience. He does horrible things but feels really conflicted about them. It’s such a different spin on that kind of anti-hero character and that’s what drew me in.”

The other big draw for Lelliott was how to handle the misogyny in the play because it doesn’t always treat women well. “Tackling that issue is tricky. How do you take a piece that’s shifting into the Jacobean era and interpret it as a comedy, especially when you have a woman who gets raped who has to marry her rapist? Contextualizing that for a modern audience and bringing our own feminist perspective to the play, while still honoring the text, was another reason to produce it.”

Kirsten Kuiken directs the cast of nine, made up of four coeurage company members and five outside actors, and as the group worked its way through rehearsals they made a lot of discoveries.

“The first time we read the text out loud you could hear the flaws and see which parts would be most difficult to stage. Our challenge instantly became how to address these sections that (a). Don’t hold up for a modern audience or (b). Are kind of clumsy or awkward because it’s a flawed piece and there are holes in it. In fact, I believe that this may have been done as a writing exercise between mentor and protégé, and even though it was produced in Shakespeare’s time, I’m not sure it was ever really intended to be a produced play.

But then, once we got past those awkward bits, we would stumble upon these really beautiful passages and this is where I gain confidence in Shakespeare’s hand in it. There are sections that are profound and dark and really well-crafted and when we can unlock those it reinvigorates the play for us. That’s doubly exciting because oftentimes as a company we try to look at a piece as if it’s being done for the first time and with this one, we’re really able to do that because no one has done it in Los Angeles yet.”

You can decide for yourself whether you think Double Falsehood is indeed the lost work of Shakespeare or merely a hoax played by an editor looking for his own success when the play opens this weekend. For more information go to www.coeurage.org.

Cast: Jeremy Lelliott as Henriquez, Valorie May Curry, Peter Weidman, Sammi Smith, Dennis Gersten, Nicole Farmer, Alexander Wells, Michael Yurchak, and Amin El-Gamal

Directed by: Kirsten Kuiken
Stage Manager: Michelle Stann
Sound Design: Joe Calarco
Scenic Design: Jenna Pletcher
Fight Choreography: TJ Marchbank
Dramaturgy: Lawrence Peters
Costume and Hair Design: Erik McEwen

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