Friday, March 14, 2014

theatre review EQUIVOCATION, Southwest Shakespeare Company, March 1

Joseph Cannon and Alison Sell
Click here to read my complete review of Equivocation at the Southwest Shakespeare Festival at Talkin'

"There is an abundance of mystery, drama, intrigue and humor in Bill Cain's fascinating play Equivocation. Receiving its Arizona premiere in an impressive production from the Southwest Shakespeare Company, Equivocation poses the question, what if William Shakespeare were approached to write a play for the King of England that would turn a current historical event of an assassination attempt into a piece of propaganda that would paint the monarchy in a very positive light? The play would be seen by thousands of people who would believe the event happened as presented in the play, the King would be perceived to be a true leader who thwarted the enemy, and the true facts of the event would be forgotten forever. What Cain has written is a mesmerizing and intellectually challenging play that portrays the balance and struggle between politics and art as well as an insight into the working mind of Shakespeare. Southwest Shakespeare Company has a superb group of just six actors portraying numerous characters, and the direction and creative elements are simply top notch.

Equivocation is a complex and intricate piece of drama. While there is a lot that happens, it is also very accessible, even if you know nothing about the Gunpowder Plot or Shakespeare's history. With the use of contemporary language and heightened theatricality, such as having the house lights come on several times to shift us out of the past and into the present, even a fire alarm that went off toward the end of the performance I attended made many people think it was part of the play. And even after we were made to leave the auditorium, we all anxiously awaited to be allowed back into the theatre in order to see where the play would take us next.  Cain's exploration of this historical event and the possible conspiracy around it are fascinating. He has crafted an excellent play that is part historical drama, part thriller but always thrilling and with a superb cast, impeccable direction and sublime creative elements, any fan of theatre or Shakespeare needs to experience Southwest Shakespeare Company's Equivocation .
Equivocation runs through March 22nd, with performances at the Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street in Mesa, AZ. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling (602) 535 - 1202

Photo: Devon C. Adams/ Southwest Shakespeare Company


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