Nov. 08--The Arch Villain Theatre Company is presenting its offbeat version of Shakespeare's "Richard III," under the title "Steampunk R3," at the Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport on Saturday, Nov. 16.
Steampunk is the fantasy subgenre associated with late 19th-century and early-20th century tales, such as Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days" and H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine."
Many of these stories were tales of the future with steam-driven devices that now look charmingly quaint.
The Arch Villain Theatre Company is a new enterprise led by three self-described "outcasts from local theater" -- Victor Terenzio, of Trumbull, Geoffrey Gilbert, of Stratford, and Melissa Schleier, of Norwalk -- whose mission statement is to "shake up Shakespearean plays and new works from contemporary playwrights."
Its first goal is "to bring Shakespeare indoors again" in Southwestern Connecticut after many years of free summer outdoor stagings in Fairfield and New Haven counties.
Director Terenzio said the company will make Shakespeare's "iambic pentameter accessible and naturally conversational." The costumes and sets are described as a mash-up of "Mad Max" and "Gangs of New York."
"Every story is only as interesting as the antagonist, and Richard is this charming, cunning brilliant figure," said Terenzio. "We're taking that Laurence Olivier type of speech and throwing it out the window, with the aim of making it sound like people in everyday conversation."
The production also will borrow from the recent hugely popular stage adaptation of the Alfred Hitchcock film, "The 39 Steps," with a small cast of actors using rapid costume changes to play multiple roles in quick succession.
Tickets for the show are $25 for table seating and $20 for general admission. Visit www.bijoutheatre.com.
Westport Country Playhouse is marking Veterans Day with a Script in Hand reading of the classic service comedy, "Mister Roberts," on Monday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m.
Script in Hand is a series of play readings the playhouse sponsors each season with top New York theater actors.
"Mister Roberts" is being directed by Anne Keefe, who curates the play reading series and is a playhouse associate artist.
The play was adapted from Thomas Heggen's best-selling novel. Heggen did the stage adaptation with Joshua Logan, who directed the original 1948 production that won the Tony Award for best play.
Heggen's novel sold 1 million copies and the play became a huge hit, but the writer went into a deep depression after attempting to write a follow-up. He committed suicide in 1949 at the age of 30.
The cast will include Mark Shanahan as Lt. Roberts. Shanahan has done many shows at the playhouse, including "Tryst," "Journey's End" and "Around the World in 80 Days."
Michael McCormick, whose Broadway credits include "The Pajama Game" and "Gypsy," will play the ship's irascible captain.
Brian J. Carter, who starred in the recent Script in Hand reading of "Any Wednesday," opposite Melissa Joan Hart, will play Ensign Pulver.
Yellow ribbons will be distributed to audience members at the reading as a symbol of veteran remembrance.
Tickets are $15. Call 203-227-4177 or visit www.westportplayhouse.org.
firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @joesview
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