To celebrate Shakespeare Orange County’s 20th Anniversary, Tom Bradac, Chapman University associate professor and SOC artistic director, has engineered an international production of the Bard’s seldom-produced erotic poem Venus and Adonis, to be staged June 5-9, in the intimate Na Pradle Theatre in Prague, Czech Republic.
Calling on some of the Department of Theatre’s finest faculty and alumni, Bradac has cast in starring roles Chapman’s own Michael Nehring, professor of theatre, and Michael Drace Fountain ‘00, also a theatre technician at Chapman, Amanda Zarr ’04 and Misha Bouvion ’04. Katie Wilson, adjunct faculty, is costume designer for the production.
Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis is a wry, poignant erotic poem laden with theatricality, irony, passion and pathos. It captures passages and themes dating back to Ovid and has been immortalized in paintings by artists ranging from Titian to Rubens. “Shakespeare’s tale of obsessive female lust was denounced as ‘lewd’ by critics, which only boosted its appeal in 16th century England,” Bradac explains. “Our production of Venus & Adonis examines the feminine sexual drive to love, couple and reproduce, contrasting the masculine desire for solitude and the hunt.”
The production will be part of The Prague Fringe Festival, an international event that has hosted theatre companies from the United Kingdom, Japan, Norway, Holland, France, Serbia, Ireland, India and Italy among others. The festival is known as “the famous Edinburgh Festival’s naughty grandchild.”
Over its 20-year producing history, Shakespeare Orange County has been recognized with numerous awards, including Outstanding Arts Organization by Arts Orange County and the Disneyland Community Service Award. This is the company’s first international appearance and is made possible through creative partnerships between Shakespeare Orange County and the international Shakespeare Theatre Association, Prague Shakespeare Festival, Chapman University, California State University, Fullerton, and numerous friends of Shakespeare Orange County who contributed through Kickstarter.com.