"Zorro Meets Shakespeare"
Presenting the final of its three free offerings in it's 21st annual Shakespeare in the Parks series, the Hudson Shakespeare Company returns to Stratford Library, 2203 Main Street, Stratford, CT on Saturday, August 11th at 2pm with "Cardenio" directed by Jon Ciccarelli. The production is an adaptation of a play "Double Falsehood" said to be penned Shakespeare and his protoge John Fletcher. Based on a subplot from Cervantes' "Don Quixote", the play follows young lovers Cardenio (David Rosenberg) and Luscinda (Noelle Fair) as they attempt to get their fathers' permission to get married. Cardenio's good friend, the ever promiscuous Fernando (Michael Hagins) loves and leaves a maid he promised to marry named Dorotea (Melissa Meli) and lusts after Luscinda instead. The sometime friends valiantly duel, madness ensues, parents worry, comic cross dressing, a bit with some sheep and other chases ensue on a swashbuckling adventure through the Andalusia area of Spain.
Cardenio is in love with his childhood sweetheart, Luscinda. Her father Don Bernardo insists that Cardenio's father gives his approval of their relationship, before allowing it to continue any further. Because of his skill in horsemanship, Cardenio is called to Court to be the companion of Fernando, the Duke's wild younger son.
Fernando is passionately obsessed with a wealthy farmer's daughter called Dorotea. After seducing her with promises of marriage, he abandons her and sets his sights on Luscinda, although she is betrothed to his best friend. Fernando sends Cardenio back to court so he can pursue Luscinda unhindered. Her father is happy to accept such a wealthy young aristocrat as a husband for his daughter, and a marriage is arranged. Luscinda sends in secret for Cardenio, who rushes back to try and stop the wedding. Unable to prevent it, Cardenio is driven mad with grief and rage and disappears into the mountains.
Dorotea has dressed herself as a boy in order to pursue Fernando, and is living with the shepherds in the mountains when she encounters Cardenio in his madness.Fernando, determined to pursue Luscinda, flees, discovers that having fled her home she has taken refuge in a convent, and intends to abduct her. Pedro, Fernando's older brother, agrees to help, and in order to resolve the matter, brings all the parties together in an inn, where Fernando is brought face to face with the wronged Dorotea. The couples are finally reunited.
Shakespeare's theater company, the King's men, produced two court performances of a play called 'Cardenno/a" in 1613 at the time when Shakespeare and John Fletcher had penned "The Two Noble Kinsmen" and "Henry VIII". No published or handwritten text survived of this play but in 1653, a bookpublisher claimed copyright to a list of plays, one of which was "The History of Cardenio" by Fletcher and Shakespeare. 100 years later, a lawyer turned theater producer and scholar named Lewis Theobald claimed to have several hand written adapted prompt copies of a lost play by Shakespeare based on Don Quixote. He further adapted it into the play "Double Falsehood". The hand written manuscripts have not survived but the play as published was regarded for centuries as a hoax. However, in 2010, renewed interest in the play surfaced when Arden's Shakespeare series published the play as having echoes of both Fletcher and Shakespeare in the text and the play may be genuine after all.
Hudson Shakespeare Company presents the tragicomedy in the tradition of Shakespeare's late plays with moments of high comedy and pathos with a flair for the drama and pageantry of a 'Zorro' film and invites audiences to decide - "Is it Shakespeare or a hoax?" Either way, Hudson Shakespeare concludes its 21st season of traveling Shakespeare with a rousing piece sure to please all comers with its swashbuckling Spanish pageantry.
Patrons are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket and the performances are free. If called on account of rain, the performance will be shifted to the library's Lovell Room. For more information, please call 203 385 4164 or visit hudsonshakespeare.homestead.com or http://www.stratford.lib.ct.us/