Montford Park Players, an Asheville theatrical tradition, is proud say that, as of May 12th, they will have completed the entirety of Shakespeare’s canon. All 37 plays attributed to The Bard will have been presented by the 45-year-old community theater upon the opening of their Summer Season with Timon of Athens. The performances will be held at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre at 92 Gay Street in the heart of Asheville’s historic Montford District, from May 12th through the 27th on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings at 7:30pm. This performance like ALL of Montford Park Players’ shows will be absolutely FREE to attend.
Timon of Athens is a tragedy, revolving around the titular rich Athenian lord who is very generous with his wealth, often throwing lavish parties for his friends. When he runs out of money, he seeks out those friends, all of whom turn him away. Disillusioned and despondent, Timon leaves Athens and becomes a hermit, bestowing whatever funds he can dredge up on any passerby who promises to inflict harm on humanity.
The misanthropic nature of the play (and some issues with the text itself) has it rarely produced for modern audiences, although it has been getting a second look from some of the world’s most-prestigious Shakespeare Festivals.
“This play is a very challenging one,” says director Adrian Suskauer. “Due to a number of mechanical difficulties in the text, many scholars speculate that it was never completed and was possibly even abandoned by Shakespeare before being polished. As such, it’s rarely performed, so it will be interesting to put on a play that most people never get to see in their lifetimes!”
As to why Montford Park Players waited so long to perform the work, Artistic Director Scott Keel said, “It’s often one of the last plays looked at by Shakespeare companies. For us it became that play. We finally decided to produce it on a special occasion. With this year being our 45th anniversary, as well as seeing the recent passing of [company founder] Hazel [Robinson], we figured that this was the time.”
Timon of Athens will be directed by MPP regular Adrian Suskauer and will star some faces familiar on the Amphitheatre stage, including Jon Stockdale, Sonia D’Andrea, Devyn Ray and Hannah Williams-Beaver.
Montford Park Players, has been presenting Shakespeare and other classical works to the Asheville community since 1973, and has since grown to be one of Western North Carolina’s most beloved and well-known cultural attractions.
For more information or to reserve seats, go to montfordparkplayers.org, or call at (828) 254-5146.