Tug of War: Civil Strife at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is an epic theatrical endeavor that distills six Shakespeare histories into two, action-packed dramas that trace the injustice and intrigues of war.
From the rise and fall of kings to the courage of common men, this adaptation—infused with live music and inventive storytelling—is CST’s centerpiece of the yearlong Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival and runs for a limited-engagement until Oct. 9.
Civil Strife opens in a period of lawlessness and turbulence in England as the country’s leading families—the Houses of York and Lancaster, embroiled in the Wars of the Roses—scheme for the English throne. The Duke of York manipulates the beleaguered King Henry VI’s weakness. The country spirals further into chaos when the King is murdered, and his brother Richard—one of Shakespeare’s most diabolical villains—seeks the crown. Embittered by his own physical deformities, the power-hungry Richard will stop at nothing to gain control of England, seducing and murdering his way to the throne. A new age dawns for England as this chronicle comes to a dramatic close.
Featuring some of Chicago’s most celebrated actors, the ensemble cast of 22 performs over 100 characters. Shakespeare’s stirring poetry is complemented with live music performances across genres, from classics and blues to contemporary pop and rock anthems—including songs from Pete Townshend and Tim Buckley. The six-hour theatrical event is punctuated with several short intermissions and an extended meal break, during which pre-ordered meal options are available.
Tug of War: Civil Strife will be performed in CST’s Courtyard Theater September 15–October 9, 2016. To purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312-595-5600 or visit www.chicagoshakes.com.