Shakespeare & Company Presents Two Wharton Comedies

“…as sharp cut as a diamond and as hard of surface.”
—New York Review of Books

(Lenox, MA) Shakespeare & Company presents A Perfect Pair of Wharton Comedies. Based on short stories originally penned by the Berkshires’ legendary Edith Wharton, Roman Fever and The Fullness of Life have been adapted by Shakespeare & Company Founding Member and Training Director Dennis Krausnick. The Wharton Comedies will run at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre as part of their 2017 season August 17 through September 10.

“In years past, performing Edith Wharton’s adapted short stories at The Mount, followed by afternoon tea on her sun drenched terrace, was its own kind of magic.” Director Normi Noel reminisced. “This summer, we are inviting you back, this time to another intimate theatre space, just down the road from The Mount at our 70 Kemble Street property as we celebrate our 40th Season.”

Roman Fever and The Fullness of Life, penned at the beginning and the end of Wharton’s career, demonstrate both the early voice and the finely honed craft of this beloved American author and Berkshire native. Roman Fever follows two middle aged women, long term friends and former romantic rivals on holiday in Rome locked in a fierce debate about the merits of their respective daughters. Their friendly(ish) debate turns to reminiscing about a previous mutual love interest, which in turn leads to shocking revelations about what exactly is fair in love and war. The Fullness of Life reveals, quite charmingly, that the afterlife, as perfectly enchanting as it may seem, may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

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These Wharton Comedies features veteran Shakespeare & Company members Corinna May, Diane Prusha, and David Joseph under the guidance of Long-time Company Director, Normi Noel. The creative team includes Stephen Ball (Lighting Designer), Patrick Brennan (Set Designer), Kiki Smith (Costume Designer), Amy Altadonna (Sound Designer), and Fran Rubenstein (Stage Manager).

Tickets for The Wharton Comedies are available online at shakespeare.org, or by calling Shakespeare & Company’s box office at (413) 637-3353. The Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. Shakespeare & Company is located at 70 Kemble Street in Lenox, Massachusetts. This production is generously sponsored by Natalie & Howard Shawn and Eleanor Lord & Margaret Wheeler.

AT A GLANCE:
PRODUCTION: Roman Fever and The Fullness of Life
PLAYWRIGHT: Adapted by Dennis Krausnick based on two short stories by Edith Wharton
DIRECTOR: Normi Noel
SET DESIGNER: Patrick Brennan
LIGHTING DESIGNER: Stephen Ball
COSTUME DESIGNER: Kiki Smith
SOUND DESIGNER: Amy Altadonna
STAGE MANAGER: Fran Rubenstein
ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER: Kathleen Soltan
WARDROBE: Melissa Ziccardi

CAST MEMBERS:
WAITER/MAN: David Joseph
ALIDA SLADE/SPIRIT: Corinna May
GRACE ANSLEY/WOMAN: Diane Prusha

About Normi Noel
(Director, Roman Fever and The Fullness of Life) S&Co: Enchanted April, Hamlet, All’s Well That Ends Well, Betrayal, Chekov One Acts, Virginia, Off the Map, Betrayal, Mercy, Jack and Jill, Fortune and Misfortune. Pythagorus Theatre: Roman Fever/The Promise. Actor’s Shakespeare Project: Henry V. Ventford Hall: Dancing with the CzarBelle of Amherst, Xingu. Nora Theatre: The Seahorse. Mixed Company: Talking With. Created and performed one person shows from interviews with women veterans (Triage, Fine Lines), No Background Music (Sony Award for Best Radio Play, BBC, performed by Sigourney Weaver). Voiceover/narration work for radio, TV, audio books.

About Edith Wharton
(Author, Roman Fever and The Fullness of Life) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer, and designer. Nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1927, 1928 and 1930,  Wharton combined her insider’s view of America’s privileged classes with a brilliant, natural wit to write humorous, incisive novels and short stories of social and psychological insight. She was well acquainted with many of her era’s other literary and public figures, including Theodore Roosevelt, and was a notable resident of the Berkshire at her picturesque estate “The Mount”.

About Dennis Krausnick
(Adapter, Roman Fever and The Fullness of Life) Dennis Krausnick is a founder of Shakespeare & Company (1978) and has served as its Director of Training for more than fifteen years. Krausnick has been instrumental in creating and developing the Company’s internationally acclaimed actor training programs. He has also developed a number of training programs utilizing theater training methods for corporate and other non-theater clientele.  Krausnick holds an MA from St. Louis University and an MFA in Acting from NYU. As a director, his recent Shakespeare credits include Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Troilus and Cressida, Pericles, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III and Titus Andronicus. Other directing credits include Lear and Her Daughters with Olympia Dukakis as Lear, Custom of the Country, Berkeley Square, War Boys, The Inner House, Roman Fever, The Temperate Zone and numerous adaptations for the stage of the fiction work of Edith Wharton.  He also directed the award-winning television special about Edith Wharton, Songs from the Heart. Krausnick has adapted the fiction of Edith Wharton and Henry James for the stage creating numerous one-act and full-length plays which have all been produced one or more times at Shakespeare & Company.  Many have been produced in other theatres as well. The 2002 season saw a retrospective featuring Krausnick’s Wharton adaptations. Mr. Krausnick was awarded the 2006 Bingham Chair of Humanities by the University of Louisville in recognition of his accomplishments as a Master Teacher of Shakespeare Performance. He is currently devising a one-man performance piece which has had a dozen workshop performances to date.

About Shakespeare & Company

Located in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company is one of the largest Shakespeare Festivals in the country. Founded in 1978, the organization attracts over 30,000 patrons annually. The Company is also home to Shakespeare & Company’s internationally renowned Center for Actor Training and nationally renowned and award-winning Education Program. More information is available at www.shakespeare.org.

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