One change in the lineup for this summer's Shakespeare Festival of Dallas seems to lend credence to the persistent rumors that Dallas' twitchy Undermain Theatre, under the direction of Katherine Owens and Bruce DuBose, is setting its sights on a move to New York City. Undermain and SFD had planned a July 4 reprisal to their joint production of Pericles, first staged here in October and backed by a National Endowment for the Arts grant. SFD executive director Cliff Redd was fairly salivating over the opportunity when he announced the show in March. "Undermain brings a different perspective to this town," Redd says. "They're edgy, risky."
Now, festival marketing director Derrick Ricketts says SFD will present The Complete Works of William Shakespeare in the Pericles slot. Described as Monty Python meets William Shakespeare, Complete Works features three male actors racing through snippets of all 37 Shakespeare plays. The show was introduced off-Broadway and ran for years in London's West End. Ricketts says three local actors and a local director have been signed to do the piece. René Moreno, who directed Othello for SFD in 1996, will direct Dallas-based actors Chamblee Ferguson, Khari Payton, and Matt Tomlanavish. Moreno has two decades of acting credits with the festival and is currently enrolled in SMU's graduate program for directing.
Ricketts says Undermain backed out of the Pericles gig "for certain reasons." One, he says, is a conflict with New York City's SoHo Festival. "The synergy for all of them at Undermain was concentrated in another area," he says, namely New York, where various sources say the company is getting more and more recognition. "It was very amicable," Ricketts insists. Owens could not be reached for comment.
The summer season of Shakespeare Festival of Dallas opens June 20 for six consecutive weeks, beginning with Canada's Repercussion Theatre presenting Comedy of Errors and Romeo and Juliet. On July 18, Spanish-speaking Shakespearean actors from Mexico City will open A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Carlos Corona. The new local production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare opens on July 4 and Texas Shakespeare Festival of Kilgore finishes the season with The Winter's Tale. All performances will be held in Samuell-Grand Park in East Dallas.