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Commonwealth Shakespeare Company Stages Coriolanus

Bard’s political drama comes to Boston Common

The Republican and Democratic conventions are still weeks away, but a compelling political drama of another kind is unfolding nightly on the Boston Common. And you have only a few days left to catch it.

The Commonwealth Shakespeare Company is staging the Bard’s tragedy Coriolanus as its annual summer Shakespeare on the Common production. The choice couldn’t be more timely.

Coriolanus depicts the rise and fall of a powerful Roman general who reluctantly enters politics at his mother’s urging. A master on the battlefield, he proves less adept at politics and soon finds himself raging against the citizenry. Dealing, as it does, with two fierce political rivals, partisanship, and a battle between the haves and the have-nots, Coriolanus is a meditation on disillusionment with government and its leaders.

CSC artistic director Steven Maler, who is also the play’s director, says he chose the play because of its relevance to this year’s election.

Playing the title role is Nicholas Carriere, whose smoldering good looks and 6-foot-3-inch height make for an imposing Coriolanus. A classically trained actor, Carriere appeared in numerous productions of the Bard’s work while studying at the Yale School of Drama, among them Titus Andronicus, Troilus and Cressida, All’s Well That Ends Well, and Much Ado about Nothing.

Also appearing in lead roles are CSC stalwarts Fred Sullivan, Jr., as Menenius Agrippa, and Karen MacDonald (CFA’72), who portrays Coriolanus’ mother, Volumina.

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company was created 17 years ago by Maler and is dedicated to performing the Shakespeare canon free of charge. The company draws more than 100,000 patrons each summer to its Boston Common productions.

To get a good seat, plan to arrive at least two hours before curtain time. You can either bring a picnic or buy dinner from any of the numerous food trucks along the Boston Common. And with a running time of nearly three hours, you’re going to want to either bring a lawn chair or rent one at the Common ($7).

The Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s production of Coriolanus runs through Sunday, August 12, at the Boston Common’s Parkman Bandstand. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. Admission is free, although a donation of $10 is encouraged. For bad weather cancellation announcements, check on Facebook or Twitter or call the weather hotline at 617-426-0863, ext. 6. By public transportation, take the MBTA Green Line to Park Street or the Orange Line to either the Chinatown or Downtown Crossing stops and walk to the Boston Common.

john o'rourke, editor, bu today
John O’Rourke

John O’Rourke can be reached at orourkej@bu.edu.

3 Comments on Commonwealth Shakespeare Company Stages Coriolanus

  • jdg on 08.07.2012 at 9:13 am

    I believe that Boylston is closer than Park Street…

    • A on 08.08.2012 at 9:33 pm

      Maybe they posted Park Street because both the Green and Red lines come in there (and the Orange is close as well), whereas Boylston is only the Green Line. That being said, you are absolutely correct – based on where in the Common this event is set-up, Boylston is the closer stop.

  • emp on 08.08.2012 at 12:25 pm

    Thanks for celebrating this Boston summertime tradition! Set Designer Cristina Todesco and Stage Manager Diane McLean are also CFA alumnae. Todesco is also a long-time Lecturer in Scene Design in the School of Theatre. Congrats to all!

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