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400-plus-year-old play makes Western Hemisphere debut at American Shakespeare Center

american shakespeare centerThe anonymous play (possibly written by Thomas Heywood) The Fair Maid of the Exchange is joining The Merchant of Venice, Coriolanus, The School for Scandal, and Shakespeare’s Sister in rotating repertory at the Blackfriars Playhouse for five performances only. It is the first known production of the play in over 400 years.

Everybody loves the fair maid, Phillis — or maybe it’s just the three smitten Golding brothers. Anthony, Ferdinand, and Frank must battle it out to win her love, and they’re not above underhanded tricks and disguises to get her attention. This wickedly witty city comedy pits brother against brother, and shows even in sibling rivalries, somebody has to come out on top.

The Actors’ Renaissance Season is a unique theatrical venture in which the ASC dives deeper into Shakespeare’s staging conditions (leaving the lights on the audience and including them in the world of the play, a troupe of about a dozen actors, incorporating music before and during the show) by also re-creating some of Shakespeare’s rehearsal conditions: the troupe of actors direct themselves in this show with limited group rehearsals, leading the charge with costume choices, and often with just their cue scripts in hand like scholars believe Shakespeare’s troupe worked.

Performances of The Fair Maid of the Exchange begin March 22. Premium level tickets start at $42 and can be purchased online at www.AmericanShakespeareCenter.com or by calling the box office at 1.877.MUCH.ADO. Pay-what-you-will performances are March 22 and 24. Free pre-show lectures are on March 22 and March 29 at 5:30pm. Residents of Staunton, Waynesboro or Augusta County can take advantage of $18 local rush tickets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Student, Senior, Military, and AAA discounts are available.

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