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Cornish Spring Productions Play Well at Seattle Center

Cornish Spring Productions Play Well at Seattle Center

: Posters designed by Parker Wrenn (DE '12).

Cornish has grown closer to Seattle Center now the Playhouse is part of its campus; the opening of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Fuente Ovejuna show how far the relationship has come.

Lovers of classic drama are in for a double-barreled treat at Seattle Center this spring. The Cornish Theater Department is opening Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Lope de Vega’s Fuente Ovejuna. Midsummer will be an expansive, open-air gift for visitors to Seattle Center.  It will be performed for free on the lawn behind Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Phelps Center beginning April 18. Seattle audiences are growing used to seeing Cornish College-produced plays on the main stage of the Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, but the Studio Theater (the Playhouse’s gem of a second stage) hasn’t had as much notice. The Cornish production of Fuente Ovejuna is likely to change that.  Center visitors can discover the Studio Theater while they enjoy the political intrigue of Fuente Ovejuna, which opens April 17 and is also free of charge.

Both productions are part of EXPO 2014, a presentation and celebration of student achievement across Art, Design, Music, Theater, Dance, and Performance Production at Cornish College of the Arts. This expanded schedule of events demonstrates the depth and range of our students’ creative inquiry and expression.

Midsummer joins the recent site-specific dance piece Your Eyes Have Facets and a number of musical offerings in the Armory as Cornish performances move out of traditional spaces to spread art across the Center grounds. These Cornish works are presented to the public free of charge. The Seattle Center Foundation has pledged itself to always be “actively inspiring community engagement.” As its partner at the Center, Cornish aspires to the same thing. Inside the Cornish Playhouse, the College continues its commitment to the community by not only producing its own work but also by providing a home for the Intiman Theatre Festival and the Seattle Shakespeare Company. The Playhouse will continue to be a ready rental venue for a host of other organizations.

There is no Shakespeare play more at home in an outdoor setting than A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Written in 1594 or thereabouts, Midsummer has been favorite from the start. The foolish antics of Shakespeare’s lovesick mortals lost in a forest, the rustics rehearsing their comical play-within-a-play, and the fairy king and queen tripped up by their own egos and jealousies have never failed to delight audiences. The production is directed by Annie Lareau. Seattle Center visitors can simply show up on the lawn between the Phelps Center and the International Fountain a little before show time to see the production. Midsummer plays April 18-20 and April 25-27. Check the Cornish website for an up-to-date listing of performance dates and times.

Lope de Vega’s masterpiece of 1619, Fuente Ovejuna, is for its time a remarkable tale of a victory of the common folk over oppression. When the town of Fuente Ovejuna is brutalized by a tyrannical commander, it falls on the shoulders of a young woman to ignite a rebellion. Written by Lope de Vega, considered the “Spanish Shakespeare,” and based on historical events, this neglected classic from the Spanish Golden Age is as politically charged today as it was when it was written more than 400 years ago. The performances are free, but seating is limited at the Studio Theater, so reservations are recommended.

Midsummer Night’s Dream is presented free of charge on the grounds of Seattle Center, on the lawn behind Pacific Northwest Ballet/The Phelps Center, near the International Fountain. April 18-20 and April 25-27; for dates and performance times, visit www.cornish.edu/events.

Fuente Ovejuna is presented in a translation by Adrian Mitchell and is directed by of Andrew McGinn. Performances are presented free of charge in the Studio Theater of the Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, 201 Mercer Street. Runs April 17-19 and April 24-26; all performances are at 8:00 p.m.


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