Yale Bulletin and Calendar

February 2, 2001Volume 29, Number 17

William Congreve gave up playwriting when his works sparked controversy for their content.

Theater marks Yale's 300th year with comic romp

The Yale Repertory Theatre will celebrate the University's 300th birthday by presenting a 300-year-old masterpiece, William Congreve's "The Way of the World."

The comedy -- directed by Stan Wojewodski Jr., the Yale Rep's artistic director and dean of the School of Drama -- will be staged Feb. 9-March 3 at the University Theatre, 222 York St.

The production is part of a month-long examination of changing attitudes toward the theater over the past three centuries, being presented in honor of the Yale Tercentennial in conjunction with the Lewis Walpole Library, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Yale Center for British Art and the University's Department of English.

In "The Way of the World," Congreve skewers the courting rituals of the upper class, presenting a veritable parade of intriguers, fops and fools who are plotting multiple courses to betrayal, wealth and extra-marital dalliances.

The work has been called the greatest comedy of manners ever written. "The comedy of manners is theatrically voracious, a model of audacious behavior that has charmed audiences for three centuries," says Wojewodski. "Congreve has invested his masterpiece with a delicacy of thought and complexity of character that doesn't choke off its Restoration appetite.

"The play's wit and intricacy present challenges that demand actors who are masters of comic timing and a design team who are masters of style," says Wojewodski. "I am fortunate to have both."

Wojewodski is now in his 10th season at the School of Drama and Yale Rep, where he directed last season's "Richard III" as well as "Hay Fever," "Candida," "The Adventures of Amy Bock," "Hamlet" and "On the Verge, or The Geography of Yearning," among others. He has also staged numerous productions at regional theaters throughout the country.

The cast features Jessica Boevers and John Hines as the plotting lovers Millamant and Mirabell; and Sandra Shipley as Lady Wishfort. Boevers appeared on Broadway as Eponine in "Les Miserables," Philia in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," Maureen in "RENT" and Belle in "Beauty and the Beast." A School of Drama graduate, Hines appeared last season in the Yale Rep's "Betrayal"; his New York credits include "Labor Day" at Manhattan Theatre Club and "Black Snow" at Judith Anderson Theatre. Shipley appeared in the world premiere of Suzan-Lori Parks' "Venus" at the Yale Rep (and later in the Joseph Papp Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival production of that work); her credits include a role in "Indiscretions" on Broadway and several roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The cast also includes Willis Sparks as Fainall, Paul Mullins as Witwoud, John Plumpis as Petulant, Gerrit Graham as Sir Wilfull Witwoud, Lee Mark Nelson as Waitwell, Laurie Williams as Mrs. Marwood, Tracy Sallows as Mrs. Fainall, Alicia Roper as Foible, Susan Marie Brecht as Mincing, Matthew Q. Martin III as John, Josiah Rowe as James, Vanessa Mandeville Morosco as Peg, Michele Massa as Betty and Walter Corbiere as Thomas.

The design team for "The Way of the World" includes scenic designer Scott Pask, costume designer Katherine Roth, lighting designer Robert Wierzel, and composer and sound designer Fitz Patton. The latter is a student at the School of Drama; the former are all alumni of the school.

Rounding out the artistic team are production dramaturgs Anne T. Davison and Catherine Sheehy and vocal consultant Stephen Gabis.

Performance times for "The Way of the World" are 7 p.m. on Monday and 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. There will be 2 p.m. matinees on three Saturdays, Feb. 17 and 24 and March 3, and on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Tickets are $20-$36; discounted tickets are available for students, senior citizens and groups. Subscription packages to the Yale Rep are also still available. For further information, call the Yale Rep box office at (203) 432-1234 Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

"The Way of the World" is funded, in part, by the Lewis Walpole Library and the Beinecke Library. Additional support is provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.


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Campus Notes

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