The Illusion to Cast A Spell Over Villanova Theatre Audiences
Tony Kushner’s Spellbinding Adaptation Completes 2007-2008 Season
As the finale to its 2007-2008 season, Villanova Theatre will mount a magical production of The Illusion by Pierre Corneille, freely adapted by Tony Kushner. Barrymore Award-winning director Harriet Power leads an exceptional artistic team including Barrymore winners Jorge Cousineau (sound) and Jerold Forsyth (lighting), Charlotte Cloe Fox Wind (costumes), and Frank McCullough (set), who was a key member of the 2007 Tony Award-winning set design team for Broadway’s The Coast of Utopia. The Illusion will be on stage April 15-27, 2008.
Villanova Theatre is located in Vasey Hall on the Villanova University campus. Performances will be held at 8:00pm on Tuesday – Saturday and at 2:00pm on Sundays and Saturdays (no Saturday matinee during the first week). Tickets cost $20-$24, with discounts available for seniors, students, and groups, and may be ordered by calling the Villanova Theatre Box Office at (610) 519-7474 or online at www.theatre.villanova.edu.
Blurring the boundary between truth and fantasy, The Illusion is a moving testament to the mysteries of love and the transformative power of the theatre. When a desperate lawyer consults a magician to discover the whereabouts of his estranged son, the sorcerer obliges – but the vivid scenes he conjures are baffling. Reality seems fluid, time is capricious, and facts are impossible to pin down. Variety called Kushner’s adaptation of The Illusion “laugh-out-loud funny, a bright and buoyant blend of 17th century attitudes and contemporary farce.”
Power’s 1997 production of Kushner’s Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika, co-directed with James J. Christy, garnered her the Barrymore Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play. She has a special affinity for Kushner’s writing, and relishes the playfulness and accessibility of The Illusion. Says Power: “Audiences who have previously encountered Tony Kushner’s work are in for a wonderful surprise. His adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s 17th century comedy unfolds with humor, a richness of language that rivals Shakespeare’s, and his usual uncanny insight into what makes us human. I must admit, I laugh and weep every single time I read the script. I hope audiences will delight in the strange, wonderful, and ultimately familiar journey of the play, and recognize the lengths we’ll go to for love.”
During his long association with Parisian theatres, French dramatist and poet Pierre Corneille (1606-84) wrote more than 30 tragedies and comedies. In 1637, the production of his most celebrated play, the tragicomic Le Cid, marked the beginning of a resurgence in French drama. The Illusion was originally titled L'Illusion comique and was first performed 1636. Corneille was elected to the Académie-Française in 1647.
Tony Kushner is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches and Part Two: Perestroika, both of which also received the Tony Award for best play. His works, which include Caroline or Change, Homebody/Kabul, and A Bright Room Called Day, have been produced throughout the country and abroad.
Harriet Power is an award-winning director and associate professor in the Villanova University Theatre Department. Her recent directing credits include the world premiere of Jeff Baron’s Brothers-in-Law, currently at Act II Playhouse; Chekhov’s Three Sisters, Michael Hollinger’s Incorruptible, and the American premiere of Sebastian Barry’s Fred and Jane at Villanova Theatre; the world premieres of Seth Rozin’s Reinventing Eden and Missing Link (which received the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia’s Barrymore nomination for Outstanding New Play) at InterAct Theatre; and Measure for Measure at Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival, which received a Barrymore nomination for Outstanding Direction of a Play.
The Illusion will be on stage April 15-27, 2008. Show times are 8:00pm Tuesday – Saturday and 2:00pm Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $20-$24 and may be ordered by calling the Villanova Theatre Box Office at (610) 519-7474 or online at www.theatre.villanova.edu .