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The Alchemist | Zoom Production | Ben Jonson

The Alchemist

by Ben Jonson

Samuel Coleridge believed that the three best plots in literature were Oedipus Rex, Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones, and Ben Jonson’s early modern play, The Alchemist. Set amidst a time of plague, three swindling rogues, Face, Subtle, and Doll Common, set up shop in the house of their master, who has fled from London to the country to escape the pandemic. As the cons and dupes pile up, the three try to maintain their ruses with a series of disguises, tricks, and double-crosses. Full of extravagant language, farcical action, and comic hijinks, The Alchemist was performed by The King’s Men in Shakespeare’s time, and has had many successful revivals with its combination of sharp wit and unrelenting momentum.e.

Content warning: suggestive language

Venue: Zoom performance on Saturday, January 23rd (7:30pm EDT). Stir up tickets here. Pay what you will, starting at $10.

*Become a Monthly Sustainer for special advance ticket rates and complimentary ticket exchanges:  patreon.com/sweetteashakes.

Director: Bob Jones

Bob Jones is a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Texas, and holds an MFA in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin University. He has worked for the American Shakespeare Center and has directed plays for Richmond Shakespeare and Pigeon Creek Shakespeare, as well as acting for numerous companies in Virginia and Texas. He has also taught courses in Theater and English at James Madison University and at UT, and has served as the assistant director of the Shakespeare at Winedale program in Texas. Currently his research is focused on the original practices movement in the Shakespearean theater.

Stage Manager:

The Woman’s Prize | Zoom Production | John Fletcher

The Woman’s Prize

by John Fletcher

 

Written early in the 17th century, John Fletcher’s The Woman’s Prize; or, the Tamer Tamed presents a continuation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Finding himself a widower, wife-tamer Petruchio marries the “sweet soul” Maria. Well aware of Petruchio’s reputation, Maria, her sister Livia, and their cousin Bianca set out to tame him. Comedy, celibacy, and emptied-chamber pots ensue. Will the women be foiled? Will the men be tamed? Can they all learn “to love mutually”?

 

Content warning: Bawdy, suggestive language and themes

Venue: Zoom performance on Saturday, February 20th (7:30pm EDT). Stir up tickets here. Pay what you will, starting at $10.

*Become a Monthly Sustainer for special advance ticket rates and complimentary ticket exchanges:  patreon.com/sweetteashakes.

Director: Dr. Amanda Hughes

Mandy L. Hughes is a PhD Candidate in English Literature at the University of North Texas, where she spends most of her time thinking about old plays and how they find their ways to audiences now. An Alabama native, she earned a BBA in Management and a BS in Communications & Theatre at the University of North Alabama as well as an MA in English from the University of Alabama Huntsville. Mandy was the founder and artistic director of Rocket City Shakespeare, producers of “full-body contact” Shakespeare.

Stage Manager:

The Revenger’s Tragedy | Zoom Production | Thomas Middleton

The Revenger’s Tragedy

by Thomas Middleton

THE REVENGER’S TRAGEDY is far and away Kim Carrell’s favorite non-Shakespeare early modern play. It is, in the words of Robin Williams, absolutely “full goose bozo.” It has all of the expected revenge play tropes, but thrown into a blender without a lid and the mess just sprays the room. No one comes out of this craziness clean – nor does anyone deserve to do so. Everyone is out to get someone else, and no one more so than Vindice, the “revenger.” And it’s safe to say that everyone gets what they deserve…

 

“As much as the dumb thing can, he shall feel;

What fails in poison, we’ll supply in steel.” 

(Act III, sc. v)

Venue: Zoom performance on Saturday, January 30th (7:30pm EDT). Stir up tickets here. Pay what you will, starting at $10.

*Become a Monthly Sustainer for special advance ticket rates and complimentary ticket exchanges:  patreon.com/sweetteashakes.

Director: Kim Carrell

Bio: KIM H. CARRELL is an actor, director, fight choreographer and theatre professor based in Boston, MA. He has played numerous Shakespearean roles in the US and the UK including the title characters in RICHARD III, JULIUS CAESAR, and MACBETH as well as Falstaff in HENRY IV Pts 1 and 2; Petruchio in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW; Jaques in AS YOU LIKE IT; Don Pedro in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING; Gower in PERICLES; Oberon/Theseus in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and many others. He was a company member and fight choreographer for the New England Shakespeare Festival, and has dozens of credits in film, TV, and voice-overs. He earned an MFA in Staging Shakespeare at the University of Exeter (UK) and is on the Visual and Performing Arts Faculty at Worcester State University (MA.) Kim is a member of AEA, SAG/AFTRA, the Society of American Fight Directors, and the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat.

Stage Manager:

THE STRATAGEM PROJECT, Part I: The Beaux’ Stratagem | Audio Drama | George Farquhar

THE STRATAGEM PROJECT, Part I: The Beaux’ Stratagem

by George Farquhar

Chaos abounds and hilarity ensues when two down-on-their-luck Englishmen decide to pass themselves off as a rich lord and his servant in order to snag wealthy wives. It doesn’t take long before the fake aristocrat, Aimwell, finds himself caught in a battle of wits with an heiress and her mother. Meanwhile, his fake valet, Archer, gets in over his head when he falls for a married woman whose husband just happens to be the target of a heist. This rollicking adaptation of George Farquhar’s late Restoration comedy features actors from across North America.

Content warning: Sexual language & innuendo, threat of sexual assault

*This project makes up half of THE STRATAGEM PROJECT, a repertory audio production of George Farquhar’s Restoration comedy, The Beaux’ Stratagem, and Hannah Cowley’s feminist response, The Belle’s Stratagem.

Release Platform: The Sweet Tea Shakespeare Hours (podcast)

Venue: Audio Podcast on Saturday, February 6th (7:30pm). Stir up tickets here. Pay what you will, starting at $10.

*Become a Monthly Sustainer for exclusive video footage and behind-the-scenes bonus material: patreon.com/sweetteashakes.

Director: Claire F. Martin

Claire F. Martin is the Assistant Artistic Director of Sweet Tea Shakespeare. She is a professional theater artist, specializing in Shakespeare, Restoration drama, and literary adaptation. The Beaux’ Stratagem marks the sixth in her eight-part series of all-digital collaborations between STS and the R/18 Collective. In addition to her work as a director, Claire is also a classically trained actor, playwright, and dramaturg. M.A. Theatre Directing, Royal Holloway. B.A. Theatre Arts & English (Honors), University of Puget Sound. SDC Associate Member, LMDA, SAA.

Editor: Wesley Johnson

The Sociable Companions | Zoom Production | Margaret Cavendish

The Sociable Companions

by Margaret Cavendish

The English Civil War is over, and the Cavaliers return home to find their family estates and fortunes have vanished and that they have no viable options for income. Meanwhile, their sisters find their marriage prospects bleak and their brothers less than helpful. Not to be deterred, this band of sisters joins together and uses their clever wit to navigate the marriage front in the midst of the English Restoration. Written in the early days of the Restoration, Margaret Cavendish’s comedy sheds light on what it means to rebuild after a war and how men and women’s lives might be reshaped in the midst of rumble.

Venue: Zoom performance on Saturday, March 20th (7:30pm EDT). Stir up tickets here. Pay what you will, starting at $10.

*Become a Monthly Sustainer for special advance ticket rates and complimentary ticket exchanges:  patreon.com/sweetteashakes.

Director: Ann Pleiss Morris

Bio: Ann Pleiss Morris is an Associate Professor at Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin. She teaches courses in early British literature, Shakespeare and his contemporaries, theatre history, women’s literature, composition, and trauma studies. Her current book project re-evaluates the place of women as producers of Early English Drama. 

The Unnatural Combat | Zoom Production | Philip Massinger

The Unnatural Combat

by Philip Massinger

Philip Massinger’s The Unnatural Combat is a brutal, uncomfortable play that reflects the evolution of dramatic storytelling in the decades following Shakespeare’s retirement and death. Massinger is a writer more concerned with morality, and the way personal corruption inevitably becomes political, and many of his plays (including The Unnatural Combat) can be read as a warning against the consequences of immorality in high places. The Unnatural Combat has a greater degree of what we would think of as psychological realism than we are used to seeing from Shakespeare, while also engaging in dramatic suspense and horror of the like we rarely see in Shakespeare’s plays. In The Unnatural Combat, Massinger offers a world where there exists a thin line between virtue and vice, and a warning that every evil thing we do makes it that much easier for us to excuse the most abominable behavior in ourselves in others. At a time when cruelty has become the lingua franca of our political discourse, The Unnatural Combat calls out to us from four centuries ago, begging us to consider whither we may be going.

Venue: Zoom performance on Saturday, February 27th (7:30pm EDT). Stir up tickets here. Pay what you will, starting at $10.

*Become a Monthly Sustainer for special advance ticket rates and complimentary ticket exchanges:  patreon.com/sweetteashakes.

Director: Tony Tambasco

Tony Tambasco (director) is excited to be returning to Sweet Tea Shakespeare. Tony has previously directed the company’s 2014 production of Julius Caesar, co-directed As You Like It with Jeremy Fiebig in 2016, and performed in Sweet Tea’s debut production of Much Ado About Nothing in 2012. Some of his recent directing credits include All About Image / We are the Elite at the New York International Fringe Festival, The Comedy of Errors Jr. with the Bay Street Theater, Romeo and Juliet with the Sheboygan Theatre Co., and a production of The Mikado with the Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Co. of Long Island that was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and he hopes to resume rehearsing as soon as it is safe to do so. Tony holds an M.F.A. in directing and an M.Litt. in Shakespeare and Performance from the American Shakespeare Center’s partner program with Mary Baldwin University. You can learn more about his work at www.TonyTambasco.com