SPRING GREEN — It will be the second season for American Players Theatre’s new stage up the hill, an $8 million endeavor, and there is no stopping the ambitious company.
As is often the case APT’s season is varied in scope, which is made clear from the get-go between opening shows at the Hill Theatre and the Touchstone. “As You Like It” opens up the hill on June 9 and “Blood Knot” opens at the Touchstone June 16.
The well-loved Shakespearean comedy “As You Like It” largely follows the exploits of the Rosalind who flees persecution, cross-dresses and winds up close to the man she loves — Orlando. As things often do in comedies involving mistaken identity things get chaotic.
Down the hill Athol Fugard’s “Blood Knot” is far less comical. Set in apartheid South Africa, the play shows the struggle of two brothers. Morris is light skinned and can often pass as white. He is returning to live in Port Elizabeth with Zachariah who lives in a shack in the segregated city.
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“Blood Knot,” which premiered in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1961 was produced off-broadway in 1964 with J.D. Cannon as Morris and James Earl Jones as Zachariah. The play is said to have launched Fugard’s career in America.
This will be the third Fugard production at APT in recent years after producing “The Island” in 2015 and “Exits and Entrances” in 2010.
Also up the hill this season is American comedy “Born Yesterday” opening June 23, George Farquhar’s comedy “The Recruiting Officer” opens June 30, George Bernard Shaw’s “Heartbreak House” adapted and directed by Aaron Posner opens on Aug. 11 and Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” opens on Aug. 18.
The rest of the Touchstone season includes Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist comedy “Exit the King” opening June 30, Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Our Country’s Good” (in which they perform“The Recruiting Officer”) opens Aug. 18 and “Engaging Shaw” in which George Bernard Shaw may meet his match opening on Oct. 27.