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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

UMBC celebrates a milestone this month as the Department of Theatre stages its first production in the new Performing Arts and Humanities Building Proscenium Theatre. Opening on April 18 and continuing through April 27, William Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona will be directed by assistant professor Eve Muson.

"It was a purposeful choice for the Department of Theatre to inaugurate the new PAHB Proscenium Theatre with William Shakespeare's joyful comedy Two Gentlemen of Verona—a play about growing into maturity and defining one's potential," said Nyalls Hartman, chair and associate professor in the Department of Theatre. "It mirrors the Department's own journey—moving into a dynamic new home, carrying our rich history forward and defining the direction of our future."

Cultural leaders in the Baltimore region have applauded the new space. Vincent Lancisi, the artistic director of Everyman Theatre, remarked that for UMBC students and faculty to have "a toolkit like this, a place to tell stories, to create and to think and to engage audiences is extraordinary." Fred Lazarus IV, president of the Maryland Institute College of Art, stated, "We talk about space as the envelope which allows really exciting creativity to happen, and that's really what [UMBC has] created here." Their comments were given during the opening celebration of the Performing Arts and Humanities Building in fall 2012.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona is one of Shakespeare's earliest works and a perennial favorite among theatre audiences. When the two gentlemen, Valentine and Proteus, leave Verona to seek their fortunes in Milan, their boyhood friendship turns to rivalry as they both fall in love with the Duke's daughter, Sylvia—even though she is promised to a rich suitor and Proteus is already engaged to his hometown sweetheart, Julia. Proteus sets out to betray both friend and fiancée, only to find that Julia and Sylvia have a thing or two to teach him about loyalty and love. One quick-witted (and one not-so-quick-witted) servant, some bawdy outlaws, and a faithful canine companion make this one of Shakespeare's most lighthearted romantic comedies.

The play addresses timeless questions in Shakespeare's works centered around love, friendship, adolescence and identity. What does it mean to be in a long distance relationship? How does one manage to live on one's own for the first time? Set in imagined Renaissance Italy, UMBC's production melds past and present, transcends time and blends music and dance. A visual mash-up of time periods, the play explores what happens when the bonds of friendship and fidelity are put to the test.

The production features scenery and costume design by Elena Zlotescu (associate professor); lighting and video design by Adam Mendelson (lecturer); musical direction by Anderson Wells (class of '13); vocal direction by Lynn Watson (associate professor); choreography by Renee Brozic Barger (Dance, '99); sound design by Patrick Calhoun; fight choreography by Cristian Bell; and dramaturgical support by Michele Osherow (associate professor of English and affiliate professor of Judaic Studies).

More information about the production, including performances dates and ticket information, is available on UMBC's Arts and Culture Calendar.

(4/16/13)