Shakespeare Untamed:

PSF Actors Take Charge in The Two Noble Kinsmen, Elizabethan Style

Capping a 20th anniversary season of milestones, the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival turns to the Elizabethan past with its rehearsal methods for The Two Noble Kinsmen. The company of actors will arrive with their lines learned, develop their own staging in a “thrillingly brief” rehearsal period, wear what they can find, and open in a matter of days – much like the rehearsal methods of Shakespeare’s time.

     The Festival typically rehearses each play for three and a half weeks: The Two Noble Kinsmen will rehearse for four days. “No director – the position didn’t exist in 1613 – no designers,” says Patrick Mulcahy, producing artistic director. “Just great actors, an exciting play, and pure adrenaline and spontaneity, and perhaps a little closer to the energy of an Elizabethan playhouse.”

     The Two Noble Kinsman will run from July 27th to August 7th on the Schubert Stage in the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of DeSales University. Performances are 7pm Tuesday; Wednesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm and Sunday at 2pm and 7:30pm. Single tickets cost $30 and $32.
     The Two Noble Kinsman is a play about love, betrayal, forgiveness, and war. Attributed to both Shakespeare and the future lead playwright for the King’s Men, John Fletcher, The Two Noble Kinsmen features two princes who fight for the affection of the same woman, a royal lady of the enemy’s court.

     The acting company includes of some of PSF’s most seasoned veterans along with a few new faces who have already delighted audiences in this landmark season. Joining this grand adventure are festival favorites Ian Bedford (The Comedy of Errors, Midsummer, Macbeth, Othello) and Lauren Lovett (Antony and Cleopatra, As You Like It, The Merchant of Venice) to play Duke Theseus of Athens and his bride-to-be Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.

     Newcomer Thomas Matthew Kelley from this season’s The Comedy of Errors and Festival veteran Spencer Plachy (South Pacific, 1776, Cyrano) play the two cousin princes, Palamon and Arcite from Thebes, who vie for the affection of Emilia as played by Eleanor Handley, also from this season’s The Comedy of Errors.

     The cast of characters includes a jailer and his daughter, portrayed by Festival regular Gordon Gray and newcomer Lauren Orkus, both seen in The Comedy of Errors. An ensemble of professional actors and Festival interns make up the remaining roles, some as multiple characters.

     The script cutting and cast doubling were developed by James J. Christy (director, The Playboy of the Western World, Twelfth Night) and Patrick Mulcahy. While there are no designers, scenic elements created by Bob Phillips for Sleeping Beauty and The Comedy of Errors will be commandeered for this production – which are performed in the same theatre -- as have elements of Elizabeth Elliot’s lighting design for Sleeping Beauty. For the costumes, the cast will be lead by the costume shop manager through PSF’s storage where they can create a look for each character (and they can also raid their own closets).