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Monday, March 26, 2012

Last modified: Monday, March 26, 2012

'Lost' play by Shakespeare, Fletcher will open in new IUPUI theater

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March 26, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A "lost" Renaissance masterpiece that has been years in the re-making will take center stage in April, when Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis hosts "The History of Cardenio" in its new performance space.

The IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and Hoosier Bard Productions will premiere "The History of Cardenio," by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, recreated and reimagined by Gary Taylor, who edited Shakespeare's "Complete Works" for Oxford University Press. The play is directed by Terri Bourus, IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI associate professor of English drama.

The first of seven performances of the play will take place at 7 p.m. April 19 in the IUPUI Campus Center Theater, 420 University Blvd. Tickets are on sale now through the IU Alumni Association.

"The History of Cardenio" was inspired by episodes in the literary masterpiece by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, "Don Quixote," published in Spanish in 1605 and translated into English in 1612.

Don Quixote is an old man who believes what he reads about super-heroism, and Cardenio is a young man who believes what he reads about love. But such ideal fictions do not prepare either man for the comedies and tragedies they face in the real world. From the raw materials of madness, sexual coercion, racial prejudice, bisexuality, betrayal and death, "The History of Cardenio" creates a magical tragicomic romance, stubbornly real and hauntingly unreal, that will make young and old alike laugh and cry.

Taylor -- an internationally recognized scholar, award-winning author and Distinguished Research Professor at Florida State University -- recreated the 17th-century script of Shakespeare and Fletcher's play. In a rigorous 20-year quest for authenticity, he identified fragments of the original play and discredited some later claims about it.

Directed by Bourus, the IUPUI performances mark the first complete theatrical production of Taylor's new version. However, Shakespeare's Globe theater in London presented the most recent iteration of the script at a public reading in November 2011.

This isn't the first time Taylor and Bourus have worked together. Bourus wrote a history of the theatrical workshops Taylor used to test and refine his reconstruction of the play, set to be published this year by Oxford University Press. The two are also involved in the "New Oxford Shakespeare," an editing project to create the first multi-format, multi-platform edition of all Shakespeare's texts.

Taylor and Bourus believe performances are indispensable to their editorial research. In 2010, that belief led Bourus to found Indianapolis-based Hoosier Bard Productions -- the theatrical arm of the "New Oxford Shakespeare" -- because, as she said, "It is only through performance that we can see how our editing decisions affect these dramatic texts. Shakespeare is drama and editors need to play it out, as it were, on the boards."

In conjunction with the play's premiere, IUPUI will host an academic colloquium, "The History of Cardenio: Spain and England, Then and Now," which is already attracting attention from major Shakespeare and Cervantes scholars around the world.

Performances are April 19, 20, 21, 24, 26, 27 and 28. For ticket information, visit or contact IUAA at 317-274-5063 or Tickets are $15 for students, $35 for general admission and $30 each for groups of 10 or more.

For additional information on the performances, free public lectures and academic colloquium, visit For additional information on the "New Oxford Shakespeare project," visit

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