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Philadelphia Spotlight: August 2010

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Charles Illingworth IV, Brent Knobloch, and Matt Lorenz
in A Midsummer Night's Dream
(© Jill McCorkel)
This August the talented Mauckingbird Theatre Company takes the stage of Temple University's Randall Theater with a new production that re-imagines Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream with a queer aesthetic (August 20-September 12). Set in an elite boarding school where dating has become a blood sport, the production focuses on couples of varying sexual orientations (gay, straight, lesbian etc). Featuring a cast of 20 and an original pop score from Barrymore Award winner Chris Colucci, the production continues Mauckingbird's tradition of presenting classic plays from a gay perspective.

Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre gives audiences a glimpse of the city's up and coming acting talent with their presentation of Shakespeare's history play Henry V (August 4-15). Featuring a cast of young professional actors under the direction of Aaron Cromie, the new production sets the play during a final exam at a private prep school. One of the area's most innovative directors, Cromie's production puts a fresh, youthful spin on one of Shakespeare's most esteemed works.

Hedgerow Theatre continues their summer tradition of presenting a farce from Brit playwright Ray Cooney with the theater's production of Cooney's Chase Me, Comrade! (through September 12). Inspired by the defection of Russian ballet star Rudolph Nureyev, the story follows a Russian dancer who seeks refuge with a British government official. Featuring Cooney's usual frenzied pacing, the play is a madcap romp of mistaken identity and barely controlled chaos.

Quince Productions presents a double dose of gay plays with their productions of David J. Mauriello's touching comedy Just Say Love (August 11-29) and Alan Bowne's darkly funny Beirut (August 14-28). The former is the stage version of Mauriello's 2009 film (which has been garnering rave reviews at Gay and Lesbian film festivals), which traces the relationship between a gay computer nerd and a questionably straight construction worker. Beirut takes place in a future New York City where everyone infected by a mysterious virus is quarantined on the Lower East Side and a woman risks everything to embrace the infected man she loves.

Gas & Electric Arts kick off their season with the strange musical travelogue Between Trains (August 29-September 19). Written by Juanita Rockwell with original music from Chas Mash, the highly physical production is a mind-bending exploration of the relationship between illusion and reality.

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