Coriolanus at PCS

Dré Slaman (Brutus, Ensemble); Photo by Tamera Lyn

Previews begin April 20 | Opening Night April 26 | Closes May 19, 2024

From April 20 through May 19, 2024, Shakespeare’s study of political power and folly, Coriolanus, takes the stage at Portland Center Stage, in collaboration with Seattle’s upstart crow collective, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Play On Shakespeare. This modern translation by Sean San José captures the lyrical essence of Shakespeare while lifting the story’s core, reminding us that democracy is fragile and always worth defending, April 20 – May 19, 2024. Tickets are on sale now, including sliding scale tickets for BIPOC Affinity Night, a.k.a. The People’s Party, on Saturday, May 4, at 2:00 p.m. 

In this updated adaptation of Coriolanus, Bay Area director, actor, writer, and producer Sean San José delves into the themes of power and politics. San José’s unique approach to this lesser-known classic involves a reinterpretation of the text, allowing it to resonate with and represent a community of “others,” who, in this case, embody the play with those typically not represented in classic Shakespeare at the center: People of Color, Women, Queer folx, immigrants.  Through this translation, the language of Shakespeare is brought into the contemporary era, making its thematic and dramatic essence widely accessible. The entire process is fueled by a critical examination of populism in our present political landscape.

Originally commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, this rendition of Coriolanus is part of a broader initiative that sought new translations for all thirty-nine Shakespeare plays. The project aims to present Shakespeare’s timeless works in a language that modern audiences can easily understand, while preserving the inherent beauty of Shakespearean verse. Collaborating with a diverse group of contemporary playwrights, screenwriters, and dramaturges from various backgrounds, the Play On! project reimagines Shakespeare for the twenty-first century. These translated volumes mark the first time these works are available in print, serving as a new First Folio for a new era.

In collaboration with upstart crow collective, whose mission is to produce classical plays with racially diverse casts of women and non-binary people, re-imagining these works for a contemporary audience, director Rosa Joshi (founding member of upstart crow and current associate artistic director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival) has brought together a stunning cast of women and non-binary actors who will take on the roles within Coriolanus. “The way we approach gender follows the Elizabethan practice of male actors playing all the roles and flips it on its head.” says director and founding member of upstart crow collective, Rosa Joshi.  “By giving the stage to a diverse cast of women and non-binary actors who play all the characters, both male and female, we shine a new light on what these plays can mean and who they are for.”

“Collaborating with Play On, upstart crow collective, and OSF is a dream, as we work together to bring each organization’s strengths and resources to the table for a rich and ambitious production,” says PCS Artistic Director Marissa Wolf. “Helmed by Rosa Joshi, Coriolanus is exactly how I want to encounter a Shakespeare war play, with a hyper relevant lens and fully embodied, ensemble driven storytelling.”

“Coriolanus is a truly great work of theatrical art, one that T.S. Eliot thought better than Hamlet … a masterpiece.” –The Wall Street Journal

Coriolanus is a co-production with Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where it will perform later this summer. For more information on the show, please visit https://www.pcs.org/coriolanus

Image courtesy of Portland Center Stage

ABOUT THE SHOW

Famine threatens Rome and hunger fuels the tensions between the country’s elite and the deprived masses. As civil unrest stirs political upheaval, the war hero Coriolanus is driven to defend and then destroy his own country. Shakespeare’s rare and unique tragedy will be fueled by a dynamic female and non-binary ensemble, and a muscular, movement-focused staging. This modern translation updates the Bard’s language while lifting the story’s core — and reminds us that democracy is fragile and always worth defending.

THE CAST

Lauren Modica-Soloway (Cominius, Ensemble), Maria Porter (Volumnia, Ensemble), Antoinette Robinson (Aufidius, Virgilia, Ensemble),  Betsy Schwartz (Sicinius, Ensemble), Dré Slaman (Brutus, Ensemble), Jessika D. Williams (Coriolanus, Ensemble), and Kate Wisniewski (Menenius, Ensemble). 

THE CREATIVE TEAM

Coriolanus is brought to life by playwright William Shakespeare, translated by Sean San José, adapted and directed by Rosa Joshi; movement director Alice Gosti; scenic and costume designer Sara Ryung Clement; lighting designer Sarah Hughey; sound designer Caroline Eng; voice and text coach Elisa Gonzales; associate movement director Cy Paolantonio; assistant director Katherine Lewis; fight and intimacy coach Jeb Burris; stage manager Amanda Vander Hyde; assistant stage manager Jordan E. Moore; and production assistant Alea Tran.

TICKET AND PERFORMANCE INFORMATION

When: April 20 – May 19, 2024*

*Opening Night/Press Night: Friday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m.

Preview Performances: April 20, 21, 24 & 25 at 7:30 p.m.

Pay What You Will Performances: Sunday, April 21, and Wednesday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m.

The People’s Party: BIPOC Affinity Night: Saturday, May 4 at 2:00 p.m.

Where: On the U.S. Bank Mainstage at The Armory, 128 NW Eleventh Ave, Portland, Oregon.

To Purchase Regular Tickets: Prices range from $25 to $93, and tickets may be purchased at 503-445-3700 or in-person from the box office. Prices vary by date and time and are subject to change.

Ticket Specials: Visit pcs.org/deals to view ticket specials, including Rush Tickets, Pay What You Will, Arts for All, Active Duty, Military Veteran, Student, Under 30, The Armory Card, Groups of 10+, and more. 

Please Note: This production is recommended for ages 12 and up. It contains mature themes and language.

Accessibility: Learn about accessibility options at pcs.org/access.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Sweet Honey in the Rock, with Resonance Ensemble 

Sat, Apr 6, 7:30 p.m.  •  $69-$79 

Known as one of the most versatile performing collectives in music today with their deep catalog of socially conscious music rooted in African-American history and culture, Sweet Honey In The Rock® performs with The award-winning vocal group Resonance Ensemble to present a concert of community singing.

The Theater Lover’s Bash, the fundraising party of the year!
Sat, Apr 13, 6:40 p.m. •  Sliding Scale
Revel in a night full of entertainment as we celebrate the best of what Portland Center Stage offers our community! Enjoy delicious bites from local businesses, a one-night-only premiere performance by playwright Kamilah Bush, live music, games, raffles, dessert, and celebratory dancing. All to support PCS as we continue providing transcendent theatrical experiences and programs for our community!

May First Thursday with Adriana Wagner Quartet
Thu, May 2, 5:00 p.m. •  FREE
May First Thursday will feature live music by the Adriana Wagner Quartet in the Main Lobby, joined by Garrett Baxter on bass, Matthew Sazima on piano and Ken Mastrogiovanni on drums.

ABOUT US
PORTLAND CENTER STAGE
Portland Center Stage’s mission is to create transcendent theatrical experiences and community programs that break down the barriers separating people. We support our community in celebrating the full scope of humanity, appreciating difference, and fostering belonging. PCS was established in 1988 as a branch of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and became independent in 1994. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Marissa Wolf and Managing Director Liam Kaas-Lentz, the company produces a mix of classic, contemporary, and world-premiere productions, along with a variety of high-quality education and community programs. As part of its dedication to new play development, the company has produced 29 world premieres, many of which were developed at its JAW New Play Festival. PCS’s home is The Armory, a historic building originally constructed in 1891. After a major renovation, The Armory opened in 2006 as the first building on the National Register of Historic Places, the first performing arts venue in the country, and the first building in Portland to achieve a LEED Platinum rating. Portland Center Stage is committed to identifying and interrupting instances of racism and all forms of oppression through the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA). Learn more at pcs.org/idea

The Portland Center Stage 2023-24 Season is supported by Argyle Winery, Brown-Forman Distributing, Ellyn Bye, Ray and Bobbi Davis, Deschutes Brewery, Ronni Lacroute, Mark Spencer Hotel, Mellon Foundation, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Multnomah Whiskey Library, National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Shubert Foundation, and U.S. Bank.

PLAY ON SHAKESPEARE

Play On Shakespeare is a non-profit company promoting and creating contemporary modern translations of Shakespeare’s plays that originated out of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Since its inception in 2015, Play On Shakespeare has commissioned dozens of contemporary playwrights and translators to translate 39 Shakespeare plays into modern English, with a majority of the commissions being helmed by BIPOC and womxn playwrights. Far from a paraphrasing exercise, each playwright was tasked with matching Shakespeare’s linguistic rigor as they approached the text, preserving rhyme, rhythm, metaphor, meter, imagery, symbolism, rhetoric, and the structure that make Shakespeare’s plays engaging and accessible to today’s audience. Play On Shakespeare partners with artists and organizations across the globe to deliver and advocate for these translations through theatrical productions, podcasts, and publications. For more information, visit playonshakespeare.org. Play On Shakespeare is made possible through the generous support of the Hitz Foundation.

UPSTART CROW COLLECTIVE

upstart crow collective was co-founded by Betsy Schwartz, Kate Wisniewski and Rosa Joshi in 2006.  Our mission is to produce classical plays with racially diverse casts of women and non-binary people, re-imagining these works for a contemporary audience.  We create opportunities for cis gendered women, trans women, and non binary people as part of our commitment to include artists who have been traditionally marginalized by the very male Shakespearean canon.  Our work is text centered, highly physical and visually imaginative, and our process centers the experiences of women in the world. upstartcrowcollective.com

OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) was founded in 1935 in Ashland, OR, and has grown from a three-day festival of two plays to a nationally renowned theater arts organization that presents a rotating repertory season of up to 10 plays and musicals, including illuminating interpretations of Shakespeare, other enduring classics, and new works. OSF productions have been presented on Broadway, internationally, and at regional, community, and high school theaters across the country. OSF received the 1983 Special Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre and is one of the largest nonprofit theaters in the nation with three stages, including the outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre. Learn more at osfashland.org. 

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