First Look: These “Heroes” Get the Last Laugh at Shakespeare & Company

(l to r) Malcolm Ingram, Robert Lohbauer and Jonathan Epstein are our Heroes. Each of the men — Henri, Gustave and Philippe — thinks the other two are crazy, and each may be right. Photo: Kevin Sprague.

(l to r) Malcolm Ingram, Robert Lohbauer and Jonathan Epstein are our Heroes. Each of the men — Henri, Gustave and Philippe — thinks the other two are crazy, and each may be right. Photo: Kevin Sprague.

Heroes is a simple play that requires absolutely perfect timing for its wealth of one-liners, French bon mots that have been translated by Tom Stoppard into snappy English retorts and now, at Shakespeare & Company it is almost guaranteed that you will see these comic bits churned into comedic sausage right before you eyes. With direction by Kevin Coleman and a first rate cast, this will be an intellectual sit-com for the sophisticated Lenox audiences that adore the company as much for its crazy comedies as for its erudite Shakespeare.No other company has ShakesCo’s masterful command of the pause, the double-take, the tossed-off comment and the pointed glance — techniques that will allow them to savor the play’s every spicy note.

Winner of the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, Heroes is the irreverent and poignant story of three World War I veterans confined to a retirement home in their twilight years. The year is 1953, and Gustave, Philippe and Henri have seen more exciting days. They amuse themselves with nostalgic anecdotes, provocative gossip, and generally irritating one another. But life in the French countryside proves to be a bit too calm, and the three war veterans begin to plot their escape. Together, they contrive what might be their last epic adventure.

Heroes will feature longtime Company members Jonathan Epstein (The Tempest, King Lear), Malcolm Ingram (The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife), and Robert Lohbauer (Mengelberg and Mahler). Kevin G. Coleman returns to the director’s chair, a role he’s currently performing for the Company’s winter production of The Liar. Coleman last directed Epstein in the Company’s acclaimed production of The Winter’s Tale in 2010.



Tickets to Heroes are $15-$50, and S&Co. offers a wide range of discount options, including discounts for groups, students, senior citizens, military, teachers and our very popular 40% Berkshire Resident Discount. To view a complete schedule, receive a brochure, or inquire about discounts, please call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353 or visit www.shakespeare.org. For customized group visits – which may include artist talkbacks, tours, weddings, parties and catered events – contact the Group Sales office at (413) 637-1199, ext. 132. The Bernstein Theatre is hearing aid assisted and wheelchair accessible.

Winner of the 2006 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, Heroes is the irreverent story of three World War I veterans confined to a retirement home in their twilight years. The year is 1959, and Gustave, Philippe and Henri amuse themselves with nostalgic anecdotes, provocative gossip, and generally irritating one another. But life in the French countryside proves to be a bit too calm, and the three war veterans begin to plot their escape.

Coleman (The Liar, The Winter’s Tale, and Director of Education), who was at the director’s helm of the Company’s critically-acclaimed production of Rough Crossing in 2006, which also featured Ingram, teams up with other longtime Company members Elliot Norton Award-winner Jonathan Epstein and Robert Lohbauer. SEE BIOS BELOW.


“I think I first became haunted by Heroes almost 2 years ago when someone from the Company gave me a copy to read for consideration in our summer season,” says Coleman. “Since then, I’ve been handed two more copies from two others. There was really no need, as the play has been alive in my mind since the first reading. I’ve always loved Stoppard’s plays – well, most of them,” he adds with a chuckle, “and his translation of Gérald Sibleyras Le Vent des Peupliers is no exception. And he makes me uneasy. There’s always more going on in his plays, with his delicious language and his comic/absurd/Chekhovian characters than can be easily discovered in a quick read, or even in the pressured pace of the rehearsal room. Who knew we’d care so deeply about three old world war veterans on a terrace with a bronze dog? Who knew their story could be so funny or so heartbreakingly sad? I’m fortunate to have had this script for a while and I’m relieved to have Bob and Jonny and Malcolm in the room with me.”


AT A GLANCE



PRODUCTION: Heroes
THEATRE: Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre
TRANSLATED and ADAPTED by: Tom Stoppard
DIRECTOR: Kevin G. Coleman
CAST: Jonathan Epstein, Malcolm Ingram and Robert Lohbauer
COSTUME DESIGNER:  Esther Van Eek
STAGE MANAGER: Fran Rubenstein
SET DESIGNER: Patrick Brennan

LIGHTING DESIGNER: James Bilnoski
SOUND DESIGNER: Michael Pfeiffer

PERFORMANCE DATES (Rain or Shine)

Thursday, June 13, 2013 PREVIEW 8:30
Friday, June 14, 2013 PRESS OPENING 8:30
Saturday, June 15, 2013 3:00
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 8:30
Thursday, June 20, 2013 8:30
Saturday, June 22, 2013 8:30
Sunday, June 23, 2013 3:00
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 8:30
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 8:30
Saturday, June 29, 2013 8:30
Sunday, June 30, 2013 8:30

Jonathan Epstein. Photo by Gregory Cherin.

Jonathan Epstein. Photo by Gregory Cherin.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 8:30
Thursday, July 4 2013 8:30
Saturday, July 6, 2013 8:30
Sunday, July 7, 2013 3:00
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 8:30
Thursday, July 11, 2013 8:30
Saturday, July 13, 2013 8:30
Sunday, July 14, 2013 3:00
Tuesday, July 16, 2013 8:30
Sunday, July 21, 2013 8:30
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:00
Thursday, July 25, 2013 8:30
Friday, July 26, 2013 8:30
Tuesday, July 30, 2013 8:30
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 3:00

Saturday, August 3, 2013 8:30
Sunday, August 4, 2013 3:00
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 8:30
Friday, August 9, 2013 3:00
Sunday, August 11, 2013 8:30
Tuesday, August 13, 2013 3:00
Thursday, August 15, 2013 8:30
Tuesday, August 20, 2013 8:30
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 3:00
Saturday, August 24, 2013 8:30
Sunday, August 25, 2013 3:00
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 8:30
Thursday, August 29, 2013 3:00
Saturday, August 31, 2013 8:30

Sunday, September 1, 2013, 3:00

BIOS

JONATHAN EPSTEIN twenty-first season (Gustave in Heroes; Man in None But the Lonely Heart) S&Co: King Lear, Leontes, Stephano, Touchstone, Dogberry, Benedict, Puck, Brutus, Jaques, Shylock and dozens of others. Most recently played the title roles in Titus Andronicus for Orlando Shakespeare Theater and The Jewish Jester for New Stages. This fall he will join the faculty of the Asolo/FSU Conservatory, teaching Shakespeare performance to the second-year MFA candidates, a position made possible by the Elayne P. Bernstein Fund. He is married to actress Ariel Bock.

MALCOLM INGRAM* eighteenth season (Phillipe in Heroes; Jesse Markowitz inKaufman’s Barber Shop; Text and Vocal Coach) S&Co. credits include: The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife (Ira), Romeo and Juliet (Lord Capulet), As You Like It (Adam), The Winter’s Tale (Old Shepherd), Rough Crossing (Ivor), Blue/Orange (Robert), Enchanted April (Mellersh Wilton), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Falstaff), Much Ado About Nothing(Leonato), King Lear (Kent), Romeo and Juliet (Friar Lawrence), Private Eyes (Adrian). Other credits include: Syracuse Stage: The Miracle Worker. Broadway: Match, The Rivals. BTF: Rat in the Skull, Hay Fever. Actors Theater of Louisville: All My Sons. StageWest: Someone To Watch Over Me. Syracuse Stage includes: Little Women, My Fair Lady, The Crucible, Oliver. London: West End: Half Life, Dirty Linen, New Foundland, Popkiss. Royal Court credits include: The Fool, Total Eclipse. Riverside Studios: Julius Ceasar, As You Like It. The Roundhouse: The Glass Menagerie, Skyvers, Feast of Fools. Plus many other regional theatre productions in the UK. TV includes: “The Camerons”, “Beloved Enemy”, and most recently in the US “Chapelle’s Show”.

ROBERT LOHBAUER* seventeenth season (Henri in Heroes, Jake in Kaufman’s Barber Shop; Weapons Master) S&Co: Mengelberg and Mahler (Willem Mengelberg), The Venetian Twins (Dr. Balanzoni), Twelfth Night (Curio/Priest), The Mad Pirate and the Mermaid (Erasmus), Scapin (Argante), The Tamer Tamed (Petronius), Chekov One Acts (Luka and Nikita), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Egeus), Romeo and Juliet (Lord Montague), Woman in Black (character men), Glimpses of the Moon (Lord Streffington),Private Eyes (Frank). Regional: Hamlet (Polonius) at Tennessee Shakespeare Company, The Jewish Jester (King), Arabian Nights (Sheik Harun Al Rashid), Equus(Dysart), Dear Liar (GB Shaw), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Father Donnelly),Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Gaston), Red Noses (Le Grue), To Kill a Mockingbird (Judge Taylor/ Walter Cunningham).

KEVIN G. COLEMAN founding member (Director of Heroes; Director of Education) teaches text analysis, stage combat, clown and directing. Kevin has been a guest teacher or director at the American Stage Company, MIT, Harvard, UMass/Boston, L.S.U., SUNY/Albany, Stanford University, Shenandoah Shakespeare, Queensland University of Technology-Brisbane, Australia, Lincoln Center, the Folger Library in Washington, DC, the Stratford Festival in Ontario, and the Mercury Theatre in Colchester, UK. Kevin is the Project Director for the National Institute on Teaching Shakespeare, a program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities where high school teachers from across the nation train with the master teachers of Shakespeare & Company and internationally renowned scholars in a month-long, intensive workshop. Shakespeare & Company’s Education Program has been recognized by the President’s Council on the Arts and Humanities, the MacArthur Foundation and the GE Foundation as a “Champion of Change” in Arts in Learning. It also received the Commonwealth Award, the highest honor awarded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council for contributions to the quality of life for Mass. residents in the arts, humanities and sciences. He was recently honored at the White House for the Education Program’s work with juvenile offenders which received the “Coming Up Taller” Award. He has also received the Distinguished Artist Award for Theatre from the Massachusetts Arts Alliance. Outside the Education Program, Kevin is the Theatre Director at the Austen Riggs Center where he has directed over 30 productions. Kevin holds degrees from St. Louis University and NYU. 
 
(15/13)

Tom Stoppard is a British author. Theatre credits include: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Real Thing, Rough Crossing, Arcadia, Voyage (Coast of Utopia Part I), Shipwreck (Coast of Utopia Part II), and Salvage (Coast of Utopia Part III). Theatre translations include: The Seagull, Heroes, and Henry IV. Television credits include: Parade’s End (BBC/Mammoth Screen), Poodle Springs (Mirage/HBO), Squaring the Circle (Channel 4), Professional Foul (BBC), and Three Men in a Boat (BBC). Film credits include: Anna Karenina (Universal/Focus Features), Enigma (Paramount), Shakespeare in Love (Miramax), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Bradenberg), and Empire of the Sun (Warner Bros).

Gérald Sibleyras was born in 1961 in Paris and his latest play is Le Banc (The Bench). His most notable work is the 2003 Le Vent des Peupliers, which has been translated and produced in countries worldwide including the United Kingdom, Germany, Uruguay, and now the United States. The play premièred at the Théâtre Montparnasse and received four Molière nominations, including Best Author. Tom Stoppard translated the play into English (Heroes) and it received its West End debut at Wyndham’s, directed by Thea Sharrock. The production won the 2006 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. Future translations and productions are planned for Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Finland, and many other countries. His next play L’Inscription was produced in 2004 in Paris and later in Poland. La Danse de L’Albatros premièred in Paris in 2006. It was the hit of the season starring Pierre Arditi and other productions followed in Belgium, Canada, and Italy. Une Heure et Demie de Retard (2005 – An Hour And A Half Late) adapted by Mel Smith, was produced in England and toured for several months. In 2003 Un Petit Jeu Sans Conséquence (Consequences) was awarded 5 Molière Awards. The screenplay is in development with Focus Film. As an adaptor into French, Sibleyras’s credits include William Nicholson’s The Retreat From Moscow (La Retraite de Russie), produced in Paris in January 2007; Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon and Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party. He is currently adapting his play La Danse de L’Albatros for the screen.

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