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Hail Shakespeare at Hanesbands, a haven for geeks in Greensboro

by Mark Burger

As far as I’m concerned, ’tis always the season for William Shakespeare. When it comes to literature, the Bard is the best.

The NC Shakespeare Festival will present the National Theatre of London’s production of Timon of Athens on Monday evenings at the Hanesbrands Theatre (209 N. Spruce St., Winston-Salem).

Acclaimed actor Simon Russell Beale stars in the title role of this production, adapted by Thomas Middleton. Timon of Athens is man of means 

who blissfully outspends his resources but remains convinced that his friends will lend support.

Much to his dismay, they collectively and individually ignore his pleas for help and desert him in droves. It is then that he plans a final, vengeful banquet to “celebrate” their loyalty.

The themes of greed, avarice and retribution have struck a chord with contemporary audiences and critics. The Daily Telegraph hailed the production as “[a] bold, incisive revival… an urgent play for today” and the Evening Standard called it “a lacerating parable for our troubled times.” As for Beale, he is “the greatest stage actor of his generation,” according to the Independent.

This is only the latest in the ongoing series of successful theatrical broadcasts from the Royal National Theatre, which began in June 2009 with its production of Helen Mirren in Phedre. Subsequent offerings have included London Assurance (which also starred Beale), Hamlet, All’s Well That Ends Well, The Comedy of Errors, Frankenstein (with Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch alternating between playing Dr. Frankenstein and his creation), and One Men, Two Guvnors.

Beale made his acting debut at age 14 in a production of Othello, and his subsequent Shakespearean credits include Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, to name a few. He also appeared in Uncle Vanya, Candide, The Winter’s Tale, The Cherry Orchard, and played King Arthur in the award-winning Monty Python stage smash Spamalot. His film and television appearances include Sally Potter’s Orlando (1992) with Tilda Swinton and Billy Zane, An Ideal Husband (1999) with Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore, as Winston Churchill in the BBC docudrama “Dunkirk,” The Deep Blue Sea (2011) with Rachel Weisz, My Week With Marilyn (also ’11) opposite Oscar nominees Michelle Williams (as Marilyn Monroe) and Kenneth Branagh (as Laurence Olivier), and the new James Bond spectacular Skyfall, opposite Daniel Craig as 007.

Showtimes are 7:30 pm Mondays (Nov. 12 and 19). Admission is $18; $15 for students (with valid ID). For advance tickets or more information, call 336.747.1414 or visit the official Hanesbrands Theatre website: www.hanesbrandstheatre.org.

The official  website for the NC Shakespeare Festival is www.ncshakes.org.

Next Friday (Nov. 16) marks the gala grand opening of the Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema (2134 Lawndale Drive) in Greensboro.

Described as a “craft theatre,” the Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema is also a full-service coffee shop that also features beer, pastries and snacks. It will also be utilized as an event space for game nights, crafting workshops, seminars, trivia contests and other “Geek-themed” special events.

It’s also, literally, an “underground cinema,” one that will feature daily screenings of independent and foreign films, cult classics and obscurities, and undoubtedly some surprises. It’s a geek’s delight, through and through.

Friday’s gala opening will include a “cosplay contest” in which contestants will dress up as their favorite comic-book, film or television character, with the winner receiving the coveted “Chalice of Awesome,” a cup that will entitle them to free Geeksboro coffee for life. There will also be a video-game tournament, board games, free hors d’oeuvres, and a midnight screening of director Tetsuro Takeuchi’s awardwinning 1999 Japanese punk-rock zombie classic Wild Zero, in which the members of the rock ‘n’ roll band Guitar Wolf (Guitar Wolf, Drum Wolf and Bass Wolf) are called upon to save Earth from an invasion in which aliens manipulate the living dead to devour and conquer. (The film is in Japanese with English subtitles.)

The party begins at 7 pm with the videogame tournament commencing at 9:30 pm. Admission is free. For more information, call 336.355.7180 or 336.662.5691.

The official Geeksboro Facebook page is: www.Facebook.com/Geeksboro.

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