The Motley Shakespeare Players (Motley Shakes), the MFA Company of Mary Baldwin University’s Shakespeare and Performance program, bring to life the story of damnation with The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe, and travel between Sicilia to Bohemia with Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale in two touring productions around Virginia in 2017–18. Fans can catch both performances locally in December.
Faustus explores the crisis of faith that dominates the play: what causes damnation or salvation? Faustus wrestles with many of the same moral questions that preoccupy contemporary audiences as he toys with powers beyond his control, placing his soul in the balance. Intertwined with the drama of Faustus, audiences will find music, clowns, and magic in the story and on the stage.
As a small-scale touring production, this performance features six actors tackling more than 30 roles to tell the story of Faustus’ fall. Not only does one actor play many roles, but also multiple actors take on one role simultaneously. This exploration of body versus character provides unique storytelling opportunities as the cast works tirelessly to find unity while maintaining distinct characters.
Motley Shakes will perform The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus at 8 p.m. Dec. 2 at in Masonic Blue, located on the fifth floor of 13 W. Beverley St., and again at 8 p.m. on Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse, located at 10 S. Market St.
In Shakespeare’s romance, The Winter’s Tale, King Leontes allows his jealousy to overtake him, creating a ripple effect that spans two kingdoms and 16 years. Full of love, music, dances, and a bear, this production explores the family tragedy and redemption in this play.
Seven actors bring to life a cast of more than 20 characters in Sicilia and Bohemia, the court and the country. Each actor portrays several characters, each distinct and spanning a wide range of personalities. Within their characters, the actors will work to engage the audience in active ways, inviting them into the story of the play and highlighting the audience’s role in providing a just conclusion to the tale.
They will perform The Winter’s Tale at 8 p.m. Dec. 3 in Masonic Blue and at 8 p.m. Dec. 5 at The Kettle, above Staunton Antiques at 19 W. Beverley St.
Admission is free to all performances; donations will be accepted.