Austin Shakespeare audiences loved the beautiful language, romance and comedy of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia in 2012. It was one of our most popular Rollins shows. Since then, we have been dreaming of doing Stoppard’s The Invention of Love for it’s depth of spirit and lush poetic imagery and delight in classical allusions. NOW with much effort in the precise casting plus special fundraising from our Board President, the wonderful Boyce Cabaniss – we will share The Invention of Love Feb 19-March 8.
To give the most powerful telling of this dream-scape story of A.E. Housman’s life-long unrequited love with an Oxford University friend we are bringing to Austin two guest stars. From New York, Philip Goodwin as the older Housman and Andre Martin as the younger Housman. And yes, they do meet each other! It’s Stoppardian fun. The last time I worked with the amazing actor, Philip Goodwin was he played “George” in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at ZACH Theatre with Fran Dorn. Those two had played together at the Shakespeare Theatre DC in many roles including Macbeth and his Lady. Philip has been on Broadway in the Diary of Anne Frank, Tartuffe, and School for Scandal as well as Law and Order: Criminal Intent… and the not to be forgotten Pink Panther movie.
During months of auditions of Equity union and non-union actors in Austin, we found charismatic two Equity actors who moved to Austin last fall, both will play Housman’s good friends. Nick Stevenson, most recently seen in Netflix hit “Orange is the New Black” has guest starred in the CBS drama, Person of Interest.
One of Nick’s three feature films coming out this year is “The Big Spoon,” shot in Austin.Erik Mathew, Housman’s unrequited love, has played in The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park in NYC, and California’s Independent Shakespeare Company and Delaware Shakespeare Festival, also recently moved to Austin. We are always proud to blend Austin actors who have worked with us many times with new folks. The play culminates with a visit from the rambunctious Oscar Wilde played by the wonderful Austin Equity actor Brian Coughlin, who was our “Touchstone” in As You Like It” in Shakespeare in Zilker park last summer.
Keith Paxton who charmed audiences in his curly locks as Cyrano’s “Christian” will play A.E. Housman’s young friend “Chamberlain.” Michael Miller played “Iago” last year in Othello will play bold Oxford Professor Jowett, and Labouchere, the controversial politician who spearheaded the law against “the love that dare not speak it’s name.” Austin Shakespeare regular, David Boss will play aesthetician Walter Pater. Reginald Brown will return as Rector Pattison, the classical scholar.
Cyrano’s Ragauneau, Robert Stevens is thrilled bring to life the pre-eminent art critic John Ruskin. Alison Stebbins, last seen in Cyrano, will return as Housman’s sister Katharine, like many characters in the play, her appearance will span decades as Housman sees his life in flashes before him on the River Styx with Charon, played by an actor new to Austin Shakespeare, Chase Brewer, who just played Orestes on the Rollins stage in Deus ex Machina.
We are also welcoming David Beau Paul who I worked with many years ago was most recently in Different Stages Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and sophomore at West Lake High School, Cal Ussery. We auditioned more than 100 actors to come up with this cast of 14 (13 men and one woman by the way). We hope you will join us early in the run, because you may want to return!
Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love 8 pm Thurs- Sat and 3 pm Sunday from Feb. 19-March 8 with a low priced preview on Wed Feb. 18. TKTS http://thelongcenter.org/event/invention-love/ or call (512)474-5664