William Shakespeare and John Fletcher’s The History of Cardenio, Recreated by Gary Taylor

Shakespeare and Fletcher compose, as Quxiote and Taylor look on

A campus theatre that has been years in the making and a play that has been years in the re-making will take center stage this April with performances of the much-anticipated play during the grand opening of a state-of-the-art performance space at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.”

The IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and Hoosier Bard Productions will present the “lost” play, The History of Cardenio, by William Shakespeare and his younger contemporary John Fletcher as recreated and reimagined by Florida State University Professor Gary Taylor and directed by IUPUI Associate Professor Terri Bourus.

The first of seven performances of the play will take place at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 19, 2012, in the IUPUI theatre, located on the ground floor of the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Boulevard. Tickets will go on sale in March and may be purchased through the IU Foundation.

The History of Cardenio was inspired by episodes in the literary masterpiece by Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote. Published in Spanish in 1605, Don Quixote was first translated into English in 1612.

Don Quixote is an old man who believes what he reads about super-heroism, and Cardenio is a young man who believes what he reads about love. But such ideal fictions do not prepare them for the comedies and tragedies they face in the real world. From the raw materials of madness, sexual coercion, racial prejudice, bisexuality, betrayal and death, The History of Cardenio creates a magical tragicomic romance, stubbornly real and hauntingly unreal, that will make young and old alike laugh and cry.

An internationally recognized scholar and multiple award-winning author, Taylor, the George Matthew Edgar Professor of English at Florida State University, has recreated the 17th-century script of Shakespeare and Fletcher’s play. In a rigorous 20-year quest for authenticity, he has identified fragments of the original and discredited some later claims about it.

The IUPUI performances of The History of Cardenio will mark the first complete theatrical production of Taylor’s script. Director Terri Bourus, Equity actor and associate professor of English Drama in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, is also a six-time award winning teacher.

“Directing a play is much like teaching a class,” Bourus said. “The classroom is a place where intellect and creativity interact, and a teacher directs that dialogic process. The stage is a place where scholarly discussion can be tested; it is as much a laboratory as those used by the sciences.”

Taylor tested and refined his reconstruction of The History of Cardenio in a series of theatrical workshops. Bourus has written a history of these experiments, which will be published this year by Oxford University Press.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London presented the most recent iteration of the script at a public reading in November 2011. Taylor says the Globe workshop opened the door to more discoveries about this play. “Actors notice things that computers don’t,” Taylor says.

Taylor and Bourus, two of the editors for the IUPUI-New Oxford Shakespeare, an editing project that is creating the first multi-format, multi-platform edition volume of Shakespeare’s work, believe that performances are also indispensable to their editorial research on his plays. To conduct such research, Bourus founded Hoosier Bard Productions in 2010 in Indianapolis, the theatrical arm of theNew Oxford Shakespeare because, as she says, “It is only through performance that we can see how our editing decisions affect these dramatic texts. Shakespeare is drama and editors need to play it out, as it were, on the boards.”

In conjunction with this play, the corresponding academic colloquium, The History of Cardenio: Spain and England, Then and Now, is already attracting major Shakespeare and Cervantes’ scholars from around the world.

The April schedule includes pre-performance talks by Taylor, Bourus and other top-tier scholars, and post-performance conversations with the audience as well.

For ticket information, contact IUAA at (317) 274-5063, or email: yowens@iupui.edu. Tickets are $15 for students and $35 for general admission.

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