There’s both relevance and humor in Larry Shue’s WENCESLAS SQUARE, the latest offering from Cesear’s Forum, presented as part of a limited five-week engagement this September/October, at Kennedy’s Theatre, Playhouse Square, Cleveland, Ohio .
A semi-autobiographical “memoir” piece based on the conflicts of the late 1960s, early 1970s when the then Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia. An American theater graduate student traveled to Prague to interview Czech theater artists involved in “theater as revolution” to write a book, only to find upon his return a few years later that political repression had all but shut down the theater as a voice.
The piece “splits time and characters through different settings, tones and themes”. Relevant, haunting and very funny, WENCESLAS SQUARE reflects naivety in the face of the ruthless.
Larry Shue (born 1945, New Orleans) was an American playwright and actor, best known for his two oft-acted farces; THE NERD and THE FOREIGNER (written and premiered while playwright-in-residence at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre). He holds a BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University, graduating with honors in 1968, followed by a stint in the military until 1972. He then began his career as a professional actor and playwright at Harlequin Dinner Theater in Washington, DC and Atlanta. He has worked in regional theater and on the New York stage and appeared on the television show One Life to Live. Film appearances include the shorts A Common Confusion; An other city ; and The Land of the Blind: or The Hungry Leaves; and the feature film Sweet Liberty. He died tragically young in a plane crash at the age of 39 in 1985.
Cesear’s Forum, a small theater collective that produces on and off, continues its mission to perform unusual or lesser-known plays and share these perceptions regionally. The company has been both criticized and praised for the scope of its work in a minimalist imprimatur, works that offer “political, social and cultural awareness”.
WENCESLAS SQUARE was presented by the New York Shakespeare Festival (Joseph Papp, producer) at the Public/Martinson Hall Theater in New York City on March 2, 1988. It was directed by Jerry Zaks.
The Cleveland production will be directed by artistic director Greg Cesear, with sets by Michael Larochelle, lighting by Andrew Kaletta and costumes by Betty Pitcher. The production is sponsored, in part, by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and the Bonne Bell Family Foundation.
WENCESLAS SQUARE by Larry Shue runs September 30-October 29 at Kennedy’s Theater, Playhouse Square, 1501 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio. Call 216-241-6000 or visit www.playhousesquare.org. The price of the ticket is: $18.