Cal Shakes will produce two world premiere Shakespearean adaptations including Romeo y Juliet originally slated for the canceled 2020 season and Marcus Gardley’s Lear in partnership with Oakland Theater Project and with support from Play On Shakespeare.
Cal Shakes is pleased to announce its 2022 season at the Bruns Amphitheater featuring two world premiere Shakespearean adaptations: the bilingual Romeo y Juliet adapted by Karen Zacarías and directed by KJ Sanchez, running May 25-June 19; and Lear, a modern verse translation by Marcus Gardley and co-directed by Eric Ting and Dawn Monique Williams, running September 7-October 2 in partnership with Oakland Theater Project and with support from Play On Shakespeare.
Following a successful 2021 Season of Shared Light that opened the Bruns Amphitheater to 25 other performing arts organizations and community groups before culminating in a production of The Winter’s Tale, Cal Shakes will continue the Shared Light Initiative in 2022 with a variety of concerts, dance performances, and special events throughout the summer and fall.
“A year without theater challenged us to ask hard questions about our role as a cultural touchstone of our community. And the success of our Season of Shared Light has inspired us to continue a practice of opening our remarkable space to thrilling artists and arts organizations from across the Bay,” says Artistic Director Eric Ting. “Anchored by two vital re-imaginings of iconic classics with beloved Cal Shakes artists familiar and new, next summer is sure to be a dynamic return to live performance under the stars.”
Romeo y Juliet
First up, the season opens with Romeo y Juliet, Shakespeare’s most iconic tale of young love presented in a bilingual adaptation by Karen Zacarías. Director KJ Sanchez returns to the Bruns after a national tour of Cal Shakes’ 2018 hit Quixote Nuevo to imagine these star-crossed lovers as two daughters before the backdrop of Alta California, as California was known during Spanish Colonial and Mexican rule. Originally scheduled for Cal Shakes’ 2020 Season but cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the production returns with many of the original cast members.
“I have been longing to work with Cal Shakes again, longing to make art again, longing to be back on that beautiful stage,” says director KJ Sanchez, who has loved the play since she played Juliet in the early nineties. “I’ve been a huge fan of Karen Zacarías for years and years. The fact that we get to play with a bilingual R Y J makes this production even more dear to my heart. For me, this is the play. This production, this collaborator and this theater is a dream come true. And it keeps me hanging on each and every day, knowing what we will bring to Bay Area audiences in the spring.”
In the fall, playwright and Oakland-native Marcus Gardley, known for his critically-acclaimed black odyssey at Cal Shakes, returns with Lear, a modern verse translation of Shakespeare’s King Lear. The production will be co-directed by Cal Shakes’ Artistic Director Eric Ting and Aurora Theater Company’s Associate Artistic Director, Dawn Monique Williams, in partnership with Oakland Theater Project and with support from Play On Shakespeare. Set in San Francisco’s Fillmore District from the eminent domain crisis through to the subsequent displacement of the 1960s, and infused with a jazz score, Gardley’s deeply personal Lear reckons with uncomfortable legacies, with the consequences of our actions, and with the vulnerability and ultimate resilience of the human heart to find its way back again.
“Play On Shakespeare is delighted to be part of Marcus Gardley’s homecoming back to the Bay and on the Bruns stage,” says Play On Shakespeare President Lue Douthit. “We are honored to be in partnership with Cal Shakes and the Oakland Theatre Project. Marcus is the Bard of our times, and his translation is astounding.”
Single tickets will go on sale to the public in the spring. Cast, creative teams, and Shared Light partners will be announced at a later date. Dates are subject to change based on COVID-19 protocols and restrictions. To read the full press release, click here.