Equivocation set for Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater

Oct 18, 2011

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater is proud to present Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of Bill Cain's Equivocation in the first collaboration between Arena Stage and OSF. Directed by OSF's Artistic Director Bill Rauch, Equivocation reunites the original cast and creative team from the 2009 world-premiere production for this D.C. premiere. Equivocation runs November 18, 2011-January 1, 2012 in the Kreeger Theater.

"As a national center dedicated to American theater, Arena Stage is committed to presenting the best work from artists across the country," says Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith. "I am so proud to introduce D.C. audiences to Bill Cain's brilliant play, which achieved great success at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, one of the most important companies in America. With Bill Rauch's dynamic direction, Equivocation comes to life in this imaginative story about Shakespeare and a conspiracy that rocked London and changed history."

In 1605 London, the worlds of King James and the Gunpowder Plot collide with William "Shagspeare" and his theatrical troupe in a startling cat-and-mouse game of politics and art. This high-stakes political thriller reveals the complexities of the truth and the terrible consequences of compromise in "one of the most bracingly intelligent, sizzlingly theatrical American plays in a decade" (Variety). Follow Shakespeare and his acting company as they create one of his most magnificent masterpieces.

The cast of Equivocation features longtime OSF resident actors including Tony Award nominee Anthony Heald as Shag, Jonathan Haugen as Cecil, John Tufts as Sharpe, Richard Elmore as Richard, Gregory Linington as Armin and Christine Albright as Judith. OSF supports one of the largest resident acting companies remaining in the United States.

Director Bill Rauch, who last worked at Arena Stage 18 years ago on A Community Carol, says, "Equivocation is one of only a handful of times in my life as a director when I have read a new play where my heart started to pump faster, and I become obsessed with serving the playwright's vision by directing the play. Bill Cain chronicles a historical episode, but his play is completely contemporary in its language and its exploration of the intersection of politics, religion and art."

"What I know about history, I learned from Shakespeare," says Cain, who wrote Equivocation in the wake of September 11, 2001. "And that's dangerous because this man who has shaped our understanding of history was on the government payroll creating instant history to match a political agenda. 'Speaking truth to power' was not his goal. But mustn't he-late at night-have yearned to? Given his extraordinary skills-how might he have changed history-and our understanding of it-if he had?"