This sparkling comedy about love, passion and the liberated woman was written by one of the 20th century’s most vibrant playwrights.
(Sarasota, Florida) The FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training presents Candida by George Bernard Shaw, April 9-28, 2013, at the Cook Theatre in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets are $29 evenings; $28 matinees. Students receive 50 percent off with advance ticket purchase. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Asolo Rep’s box office at the FSU Center for Performing Arts; 941-351-8000. Pay What You Can Night: On Tuesday, April 9, 7:30 p.m., audience members are invited to attend a production of Candida and pay whatever they can afford for their ticket. These special tickets are available on day of performance only.
In Candida, a minister’s wife must choose between a passionate young poet who is smitten with her, and her older but far more reliable husband. This sparkling comedy about love, passion and the liberated woman was written by one of the 20th century’s most vibrant playwrights, George Bernard Shaw.
Greg Leaming, director of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory, explains that he always includes plays from classical dramatic literature when choosing the season’s four productions. “Our second-year students get to stretch their muscles, push themselves creatively, and explore a stimulating mix of roles and situations in both classic and modern masterpieces. Simultaneously, our audiences get the rare opportunity to see works that aren’t often performed. Candida is a terrific ensemble piece. Our students will breathe new life into it and make it completely appealing to contemporary audiences.”
Director Andrei Malaev-Babel approaches Shaw’s text with respect. “This is going to be George Bernard Shaw’s Candida, not a piece of conceptual theater,” he says. “Shaw was very specific about his stage directions, and we are going to honor his intentions. We are not going to put our own contemporary spin on the play, or set it in a different time period. Shaw is a true genius, and when a true genius tells you how the material should be performed, you honor that suggestion. Audiences are going to be coming for Shaw, and Shaw is what they’re going to get.”
Malaev-Babel adds that the work of genius never gets dated. “The play is still amazingly contemporary,” he says. “Shaw looks at the puzzle of life, which is the same in 1894 or 2013. Here is art, here is passion, here is religion, here is conventional morality—how do all these pieces fit together? And maybe they don’t! That’s the human condition, whether we like it or not, it’s not so neat. Candida has quite a few laughs because it’s about our messy species and all of its contradictions. Shaw pries apart the difference between who we think we are and who we actually are—and that can be very funny.”
According to Malaev-Babel, Shaw, like Shakespeare before him, mixes pure comedy with fearless philosophical investigation. “There’s a divine spark at the heart of one of the characters,” he says. “What’s funny is the divine spark is in the poet, not the priest. And maybe this gift is not such a blessing! Creative drive, imagination, poetry are, perhaps, inseparable from loneliness. Divine truth and human truth don’t always get along so well together—and divine truth may not really be the most important thing in life. Shaw doesn’t say one way or another. Candida is ultimately a mystery play. He leaves you to wrestle with the mystery and find your own answers.”
Candida runs April 9-28, 2013, at the Cook Theatre in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Productions are Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $29 evenings; $28 matinees. Students receive 50 percent off with advance ticket purchase. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Asolo Rep’s box office at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts; 941-351-8000.
Pay What You Can Series: On Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 7:30 p.m., audience members are invited to attend a production of Candida and pay what they can afford for their ticket. These special tickets are available on day of performance only.
ABOUT ANDREI MALAEV-BABEL
Andrei Malaev-Babel holds an M.F.A. from the renowned Vakhtangov Theater Institute in Moscow, Russia. He trained and worked under Alexandra Remizova, the actress-director and co-founder of the Vakhtangov Theater, Stanislavsky’s student and Vakhtangov’s protégé. In 1985, Malaev-Babel co-founded the Moscow Chamber Forms Theater, one of the first private professional theater companies in Russia. He taught on the faculty of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and currently serves on the board and as a member of the international faculty for MICHA, Michael Chekhov Association in New York City. Malaev-Babel’s reputation as one of the leading experts on the Stanislavsky/Vakhtangov/Chekhov theater techniques brought him special engagements and commissions from such prestigious national institutions as The Kennan Institute of The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Smithsonian Institution and The World Bank. Malaev-Babel is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.
ABOUT THE CONSERVATORY
The FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training is a celebrated three-year graduate program culminating in a master of fine arts degree. For more than 30 years, tens of thousands of actors from across the continent have auditioned for admission. A maximum of 12 students are admitted each year. In their second year, the students perform in the Cook Theatre, a 161-seat space designed to create an intimate experience for the audience and actors. Third-year students are seen on the Mertz Stage working with the Asolo Rep’s professional actors in exciting and significant roles. For more information, visit www.asolorep.org/conservatory.