Philadelphia, PA – Quintessence Theatre, Philadelphia’s only all-classical repertory theatre, announces its sixth season of progressive classics. Promising to be Quintessence’s most epic season to date, 2015 - 2016 includes two rotating repertories: ROMEO & JULIET and THE MANDRAKE in the fall, and SAINT JOAN and DOCTOR FAUSTUS in the spring, a world premiere family holiday classic HANSEL & GRETEL, and an expansion of the Elemental Recitation series. Quickly establishing a reputation as Philadelphia’s home for the classics and working to build a hotbed for America’s next generation of classic theatre artists, Quintessence ignites the classics for today with their celebrated brand of visceral, actor and text driven theatre.
THE LOVE & LUST FALL REPERTORY September 30 – November 8, 2015
ROMEO AND JULIET by William Shakespeare
September 30 – November 7, 2015 Opening Night: October 3, 2015
Law and order is unable to quell an ancient and violent feud between the two wealthiest families of Verona. Fate steps in and introduces the rivals’ teenage progeny who fall in love at first sight. Can the intensity of young love undo their parents’ enduring hatred, or is love’s unbridled desire so intense that it will destroy the lovers themselves? Shakespeare’s greatest romantic tragedy is a timeless and powerful depiction of the fever pitch and madness of young love, celebrating both its ability to save and to destroy.
THE MANDRAKE by Niccolò Machiavelli – adapted by Wallace Shawn
October 14 – November 8, 2015 Opening Night: October 17, 2015
A young student falls madly in love with his city’s most beautiful woman who is married to an old miserly lawyer. Can our young hero fulfill his desire without destroying his soul or reputation? After an infamous career in politics, Machiavelli turned playwright, bringing his cunning to the comedic stage. In a celebrated translation by American actor and playwright Wallace Shawn, this early Italian sex comedy is replete with amoral intrigues, titillating disguises, and scintillating rendezvous; lampooning lawyers, doctors and the clergy. But don’t worry about being too offended. With the help of the mystical mandrake root the play brings all to a hysterical and happy ending.
HANSEL & GRETEL by The Brothers Grimm, adapted by Quintessence
December 9, 2015 – January 3, 2016 Opening Night: December 12, 2015
An economic downturn puts a successful builder out of work and leaves him, his second wife, and their two children in dire straits. Feeling like burdens to their struggling parents, Hansel and Gretel run off in the middle of the night and try to survive on their own. On the verge of abandoning hope, they stumble upon a glorious house made out of gingerbread and are welcomed inside by a wealthy old woman who invites them to live with her. Have their lives been saved, or is the fantasy life they have found not what it seems to be? Complete with songs by David Cope, this contemporary retelling of Grimm’s Hansel & Gretel will continue Quintessence’s tradition of family classics for the holiday.
THE DEVILS & SAINTS SPRING REPERTORY March 16 – April 24, 2016
SAINT JOAN by George Bernard Shaw
March 16 – April 22, 2016 Opening Night: March 19, 2016
It is 1429 and England has invaded France again, claiming the French throne for their King Henry VI. The English forces continue to triumph, and everything from infertile chickens to the misdirection of the wind indicates that God is on England’s side. That is until a farm maid, who performs miracles and claims to talk to angels, demands an audience with the French King and permission to command his soldiers. Filled with Shavian wit, this epic drama chronicles the life and trial of Joan of Arc, and demonstrates the power of one individual’s faith to conquer armies and change the course of history.
DOCTOR FAUSTUS by Christopher Marlowe
March 30 – April 24, 2016 Opening Night: April 2, 2016
Doctor Faustus is a world renowned scholar, celebrated for his mastery of all the academic disciplines. Frustrated by the intangible power of his learning, impatient with the limits of the natural sciences and fueled by the hubris of his genius, Faustus breaks his university’s rules and turns his study to black magic. Conjuring the devil, Faustus sells his soul for 24 years on earth with infinite knowledge and requests the devil’s servant Mephistopheles as his personal assistant. In this dark comedy, Christopher Marlowe’s epic adventure follows Faustus through space and time to test the limits of the human mind when it knows all, but lacks a soul.
In Season VI Quintessence will continue to enhance and expand its Elemental Recitations, a series of rehearsed public readings of rarely performed classic plays and poems. Bringing together Quintessence ensemble members and Philadelphia’s best actors, Quintessence has selected a series of classic texts to present in concert with our main stage productions. Each reading will be followed by a talkback with the actors.
Season VI Elemental Recitations
John Ford's Tis Pity She's a Whore Monday, October 19 at 7pm
Middleton & Rowley’s The Changeling Monday, October 26 at 7pm
Brooke’s Romeus and Juliet Sunday, November 1 at Noon
Schiller's Intrigue and Love (Luise Miller) Tuesday, November 3 at 7pm
Shakespeare's Saint Joan or Henry VI, part I Monday, April 4 at 7pm
Shaw's Man and Superman Monday, April 11 at 7pm
Goethe's Faustus: Part 1 Saturday, April 23 at 11am
Goethe's Faustus: Part 2 Saturday, April 23 at 3pm
Tickets to Elemental Recitation readings are $10, and are free to Quintessence subscribers.
QUINTESSENCE THEATRE GROUP is a professional theatre, dedicated to the performance and adaptation of works of classic literature and drama for the contemporary stage. Founded in 2009, Quintessence takes its name from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “What a piece of work is a man…. And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust?” Quintessence aspires to the Elizabethan understanding of the word: the fifth element (the element of the heavens and the soul), and the purest essence of a substance. The word “classic”, as defined by Quintessence, is a dramatic or literary text written over one hundred years ago, or adapted from a piece of theatre or literature written before that time.
Quintessence will continue to work toward the establishment of an acting ensemble and a rotating repertory at the historic Sedgwick Theater, a 1928 Art Deco movie palace designed by William Lee, in Mt. Airy, Philadelphia. Quintessence’s residency at the Sedgwick has played a fundamental role in the renaissance of main street Mt. Airy, a revitalized neighborhood in northwest Philadelphia.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION & PARKING: The Sedgwick Theater is readily accessible via SEPTA Regional Rail to either the Allen Lane Station (Chestnut Hill West) or Sedgwick Station (Chestnut Hill East). The SEPTA 23 Bus also services the Sedgwick Theater, connecting South Philadelphia to Chestnut Hill. Free Parking is available behind the theatre and in the municipal parking lot across Germantown Avenue.
General Admission weekday tickets are $27. General Admission weekend tickets are $34.
Senior tickets (65 and older) are $25.
Youth tickets (21 and under) are $15.
Individual tickets go on sale September 1, 2015 and will be available via box office, website, or phone.
SUBSCRIPTIONS: Subscriptions to Season VI are on sale now. Subscribers save up to 35% on the cost of tickets, may exchange tickets up to 24 hours before the performance, and receive free tickets to the Elemental Recitations series and discounts at local Mt. Airy restaurants and businesses. To purchase a subscription visit: www.QuintessenceTheatre.org or call 215.987.4450, Ext. 1.