The 2023 Actors’ Theatre of Columbus summer season will introduce a new play about a legendary hero and offer Shakespeare, a recent Jane Austen adaptation and a classic African American family drama.
The classics-oriented troupe also will present a bonus fall production timed for this post-Halloween season.
“We’ve never done a fall play, but we’ve been exploring doing productions year-round,” Artistic Director Philip J. Hickman said.
“As wonderful as Schiller Park is, there are limitations to our productions there. Being able to use lighting and other design elements indoors is a great opportunity for our artists,” Hickman said.
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The 40-year-old company often has staged more than one work by Shakespeare within one season, but Hickman said this will be the first time Actors’ Theatre will stage two productions “within the space of one year” by a contemporary playwright: Kate Hamill, an up-and-coming American actress-writer acclaimed across the country for her modern adaptations of classic works.
“She has a quick wit, a sparkling way to communicate the story and deep respect for the material without becoming ponderous,” Hickman said.
Actors’ Theatre will present greater Columbus premieres this fall and next summer, respectively, of Hamill’s recent versions of “Dracula” and Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility.”
“Her plays take a wry, sardonic look at classics and empower women’s voices,” Hickman said.
To enhance its visibility outside its traditional outdoor summer season, Actors’ Theatre will offer a rare fall production indoors next month:
• “Dracula: A Feminist Revenge Fantasy” 8 p.m. Nov. 4-6, Nov. 11-13 and Nov. 18-19, MadLab Theatre, 227 N. 3rd St.: Kate Hamill’s darkly comic but disquieting 2020 adaptation of Bram Stoker’s vampire-horror novel offers a gender-bending reinterpretation exploring the nature of predators from a feminist perspective.
Tickets to “Dracula” cost $25 for reserved seating with advance online purchase or pay what you will at the door. There will be no late seating.
All four summer performances will run 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays in the Schiller Park amphitheater, 1069 Jaeger St.:
• “Robin Hood,” May 25 to June 18: Written and directed by Hickman, the play offers a romantic adventure drama based on the classic legend about the famous British outlaw who stole from the powerful and gave to the poor.Hickman has revised and tightened the play, first staged in Schiller Park in 2012 to a record audience, for its first revival.
“My new script is more satirical and skeptical in its critiques of power and the effects of power,” he said.
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• “Sense and Sensibility,” June 22 to July 16: Love, family, poverty and heartbreak fill actress-writer Kate Hamill’s innovative adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1811 novel about the coming of age of three English sisters.
• “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” July 20 to Aug. 13: Shakespeare’s early romantic comedy about desire, rationalization and fantasy versus reality revolves around the King of Navarre and his friends, who’ve abandoned romance to study, only to become infatuated with a French princess and her ladies.
• “A Raisin in the Sun,” Aug. 17 to Sept. 3: Lorraine Hansberry’s classic 1959 drama focuses on the African American Younger family as they struggle to improve their lives in South Chicago amid housing discrimination.
Summer admission is “pay-what-you-will,” or $25 for reserved seating with advance online purchase. For more information, call 614-444-6888 or visit www.theactorstheatre.org
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