Next up on the Main Stage, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will present the New Jersey premiere of Bill Cain’s Equivocation. When the Bard and his troupe of players receive a royal commission to dramatize the events surrounding the infamous Gunpowder Plot, the artist must confront the demons of his past, his present, and his obligations to the truth and artistic integrity. Equivocation was described in Variety as “one of the most bracingly intelligent, sizzlingly theatrical American plays in a decade.”
Performances begin Wednesday, September 16th and continue through Sunday, October 4th at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue (at Lancaster Road) in Madison. Tickets start at $25 for preview performances and $32 for regular performances. Student rush tickets for all performances are $15, available a half-hour before curtain with a valid Student ID. Both individual tickets and subscriptions can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or by visiting ShakespeareNJ.org.
Cain’s inspiration for Equivocation came directly from the Bard himself. In a 2010 interview with Playbill.com, Cain talks about the vacation that kicked off the writing process. “I spent time at the Globe Theatre and time in the Tower of London. I saw inscriptions chiseled into the walls there from prisoners of conscience of the time of Shakespeare. I began to wonder about the relationship between this man who had churned out so many words and defined his time, and people of conscience who just had a few words to write for taking a stand at the same time. The moral issues of Shakespeare began to come to mind.” Cain immediately returned to London and began writing what would become his second play. Equivocation has enjoyed a number of well-received performances across the nation since its world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2009. Reviewed by the LA Times, critics lauded the show as “an ambitiously sprawling work of historical fiction,” and Talkin’ Broadway praised the play as “intellectually challenging… A play that portrays the balance and struggle between politics and art as well as an insight into the working mind of Shakespeare.”
The Playwright: Bill Cain is the author of How To Write A New Book For The Bible, which premiered in the 2011-2012 season at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre. His play 9 Circles was awarded the Sky/Cooper Prize by Marin Theatre Company where it received its world premiere production. It has gone to productions around the country including theatres in Boston, Denver, and Los Angeles. In addition to its world premiere production at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Equivocation had its New York premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club, and has been produced at the Geffen Playhouse (Ovation Award for Best Play), Seattle Rep, Marin Theatre, and Arena Stage. Other works include Stand-Up Tragedy, which earned six LA Critics Awards (including best production and distinguished writing) for its premiere at the Mark Taper Forum before moving around the country and eventually to Broadway. Screen credits include the series Nothing Sacred (co-creator/writer/producer) which aired on ABC, an adaptation of Clover for the Hallmark channel and HBO, Nightjohn which was named best American film of the year by The New Yorker, Thicker Than Blood (TNT), which was an adaptation of Stand-Up Tragedy, Everything That Rises (starring Mandy Patinkin), Papa’s Angels (starring Scott Bukula, Cynthia Nixon, and Eva Marie Saint), and Sounder.
The Cast: In his twenty-third season with The Shakespeare Theatre, James Michael Reilly takes the stage as famed playwright Shag. Mr. Reilly’s company credits include 2014’s The Alchemist as well as Our Town, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Taming of the Shrew (2010 and 1993), The Grapes of Wrath, The Comedy of Errors, The Rivals, The Three Sisters, That Scoundrel Scapin, and The Grouch. Off-Broadway, he was seen in The Comedy of Errors at the Aquila Theatre Company. Regionally, Mr. Reilly has performed at The Denver Center Theatre Company, the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Geva Theatre, Delaware Theatre Company, Indiana Repertory Theatre, and the Human Race Theatre Company. Television credits include Unforgettable, The Blacklist, Boardwalk Empire, Elementary, Person of Interest, Law & Order, and Louie. Mr. Reilly holds an M.F.A. in Acting from Indiana University
Making her Shakespeare Theatre debut as Judith, Therese Barbato is in her first season with the Theatre. Off-Broadway, she has appeared alongside David Oyelowo in Prometheus Bound at the Classic Stage Company. Additional off-Broadway credits include Mourning Becomes Electra (The New Group), Wonder (Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre), and numerous projects with Slant Theatre Project. Regional credits include work a The Huntington Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Geva Theatre, and Boise Contemporary Theatre. Ms. Barbato is a recent graduate of The Julliard School, where favorite credits were Angels in America, Wild Blue, As You Like It, and Dancing At Lughnasa
Also making a Shakespeare Theatre debut is Dominic Comperatore, playing Nate. Recently, Mr. Comperatore was seen on Broadway in Tony Nominated View From the Bridge, directed by Michael Mayer. Off-Broadway credits include director Jenn Thompson’s Lost In Yonkers (Drama Desk Nominee), Clash By Night, and The Merchant of Venice. Regional credits include Romeo and Juliet, The Secret Love-Life of Ophelia, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Julius Caesar, Talley’s Folly, Burn This, All My Sons, Italian American Reconciliation, and Lonely Planet, among others. Film credits include Steven Soderbergh’s The Good German (opposite George Clooney), and Room 32 (Best Actor nominee, Method Fest). TV credits include work on Orange is the New Black, The Good Wife, Blue Bloods, Entourage, Alias, The Shield, Boston Legal, and CSI Miami.
In his seventh season with The Shakespeare Theatre Kevin Isola will play Armin. Company credits include The Alchemist, The Liar, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Around the World in Eight Days, and As You Like It. Mr. Isola performed on Broadway in Brooklyn Boy and Off-Broadway at Second Stage, Transport Group, 59E59 Street Theatre, The Women’s Project, The Play Company, Playwrights Horizons, NYSF/The Public Theatre, and The Cherry Lane. Regionally, he has appeared at two River Theatre, the McCarter Theatre, The Old Globe, South Coast Repertory Theatre, Provincetown Repertory Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, The Hudson Theatre, The Tiffany Theatre, and Yale Repertory. TV and Film credits include Passing Harold Blumenthal, Frank the Rat, The New Bozena, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Uninvited, 24 Nights, Academy Boyz, The New Yorker, Fringe, Damages, Boston Legal, Law and Order, The Summer of Ben Tyler (Hallmark Hall of Fame), All My Children, and Viva Variety. Kevin received his MFA from the NYU Graduate Acting Program.
Playing Richard, Rob Krakovski is in his sixth season with The Shakespeare Theatre. Company credits include A Most Dangerous Woman, Around the World in Eighty Days, Measure for Measure, and Julius Caesar. Recently, he has appeared in Secret Order at the San Jose Rep, A Christmas Story at Geva Theatre Center, and productions of Twelfth Night and Beard of Avon at Portland Center Stage. Off-Broadway, he originated the role of Bill Wilson in Bill W. Regionally, he has performed at the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, and Hartford Stage. Internationally he has appeared in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Georgian Republic Arts Festival in Tbilisi with Vanessa Redgrave. Selected film credits include Ryan Fleck’s Astata (selected for Sundance) and Heads Up (Producer; winner “Best Film” in Madrid, London, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles).
In his first season with The Shakespeare Theatre, Matthew Stucky plays Sharpe, Tom Wintour, and King James I. Regional credits include A Lion in Winter at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, Romeo and Juliet at the Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Titus Andronicus, Richard II, The Beaux Stratagem, and Love’s Labour’s Lost at The Shakespeare Theatre Company D.C., as well as work at Shakespeare & Company, The Studio Theatre D.C., Syracuse Stage, and The Hangar Theatre. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s B.F.A. Acting program.
The Director: Now in his twenty-fourth season with The Shakespeare Theatre, director Paul Mullins has helmed a number of productions. Company credits: Henry VII, The Devil’s Disciple, The Playboy of the Western World, The Liar, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, The Lion in Winter, Noises Off!, Private Lives, The Time of Your Life, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Richard II, Illyria, King John, The Illusion, Tartuffe, Rhinoceros, Measure for Measure, All’s Well That Ends Well, and The Threepenny Opera. Mr. Mullins is a graduate of New York University, the Yale School of Drama, and The Julliard School.
The Artistic Staff: The world of Equivocation comes to life with the help of scenic designer Michael Schweikardt, costume designer Nikki Delhomme, lighting designer Michael Giannitti, and sound designer Karin Graybash. Alison Cote serves as production stage manager.
Single tickets for Equivocation start at $25 for preview performances and $32 for regular performances. Student Rush tickets are available a half-hour before curtain for $15 with a valid Student ID. For tickets, call the Box Office at 973-408-5600, visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org, or email BoxOffice@ShakespeareNJ.org.