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Shakespeare Month Brings The Bard to The Alden

The Alden in McLean has declared January 2014 “Shakespeare Month” and has pulled together a month-long celebration of The Bard which will include films, a discussion with local experts, and two performances by the acclaimed American Shakespeare Center on Tour. Prices vary and some events are free. The Alden is located at 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean, inside the McLean Community Center.

The celebration will start next Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 1 p.m. with a free showing of the 1953 movie “Kiss Me Kate,” starring Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, and Ann Miller. Cole Porter composed the score for this film in which a divorced couple appears in a musical version of “The Taming of the Shrew.”

On Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 7:30 p.m., The Alden will show the silent film with live accompaniment, “The Rest Is Silence: Silent Shakespeare.” A streamlined version of “As You Like It” from 1912, which uses the early English theatrical device of cross dressing, will be the springboard to other silent films that used the same device. Tickets are $10 and $6 for MCC tax district residents.

Experts from the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Folger Shakespeare Library, and American Shakespeare Center will come together at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22, for “Brush up Your Shakespeare.” This free presentation will help novices better understand The Bard. Special attention will be paid to “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and “Othello,” which will be presented by the American Shakespeare Center on Tour at The Alden.

American Shakespeare Center of Staunton will perform two of The Bard’s best-known works at The Alden on Saturday, Jan. 25.

The first of the two plays presented at The Alden will be “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” featuring the popular character Falstaff. The show will start at 2 p.m. The play deals with love, marriage, jealousy, revenge, and social class. Live music will begin at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 and $20 for MCC tax district residents.

ASC’s second show, “Othello,” will begin at 8 p.m. One of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies, it is a story about jealousy, betrayal, and “one who loved not wisely but too well.” Live music starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 and $20 for MCC tax district residents.

House lights will remain up for these shows, allowing for interaction with and asides to the audience. Because the music of the day was integral to Elizabethan theatre, the actors open each performance with a half hour of live contemporary music that relates to the plays.

Tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit aldentheatre.org or call 703-790-0123.

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