Dec. 4, 1997
Vol. 17, No. 6

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    Chicago plays take center stage in new symposium series

    Did Shakespeare really co-author Cardenio, the long-lost play that was recently identified in the British Museum Library? How did Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband probe the masking and unmasking that goes on between even the most "perfect" couples?

    These are just two of the topics that will be discussed in the Basic Program's Theater Symposium Series, four symposia that will provide opportunities to explore issues raised by plays in production at area theaters. The symposia will be held at various locations downtown, on campus and in Evanston.

    Four plays will take center stage -- the Jeff Award-winning The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci at Goodman Theatre; Shakespeare's Henry V at Shakespeare Repertory Theater; the Court Theatre production An Ideal Husband; and Cardenio at Next Theatre -- each of which will be in production during the corresponding symposium. With the exception of Henry V, the plays will be performed during the afternoon of each symposium; attendance at the plays is optional and symposia admission is available with or without theater tickets. Season ticket-holders may swap their tickets for ones good at a symposium.

    Presented by the University's Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults in conjunction with the Great Books Foundation and Barnes & Noble, each symposium will include short lectures by University faculty members and other experts, small group discussions of advance readings on the day's topic, a performance or film presentation, and concluding discussions with the symposium's speakers, performers and audience.

    The series will open Saturday, Jan. 17, with "Left Brain, Right Brain: The Scientist & the Artist in The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci," which will feature a performance of the play adapted and directed by Mary Zimmerman, professor of performance studies at Northwestern. This season's production is an encore presentation of the original 1993 staging, which won Jeff Awards for Best New Work and Best Director.

    The second symposium in the series is "Forging the English Nation: Shakespeare's Henry V as 'Constitutional Theater' " on Feb. 21, with Steven Pincus, Professor in History, who will address the question "Is Henry V a nationalist play?" The third symposium, "Faux Pas de Deux: The Life of Couples in Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband," on March 22, will feature a lecture by Gavin Witt, University Liaison for University Theater and Dramaturg for Court Theatre, and "Cardenio -- Shakespeare or Not?," on April 18, will include the lecture "Recognizing Shakespeare" by Richard Strier, the Franz L. Sulzberger Professor in the College. Each symposium will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Participants may register for individual symposia or for the entire series; advance registration is required. Registration for the entire series is $300 with theater tickets, $245 without tickets. Registration for individual symposia range from $81 to $96 with theater tickets; $65 without tickets. The registration deadline is Jan. 9 for the first symposium or to register for the entire series. Deadlines for the other symposia vary.

    For more information, call 702-1722.