From the 2009-2010 Season:
Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales Jan. 2010
Playing January 01, 2010 to January 31, 2010
$12 General Admission Performance January 1, 2010
Join us for another medieval romp through boisterous and bawdy olde England. Drawing on the Celtic British influences of Geoffrey Chaucer's writing, this hilarious (almost Monty Python-esque) adaptation reintroduces the tales in forms ranging from romantic comedy to spaghetti Western! We've got two new tales to entice you! Did we mention the bawdy part? (Not suitable for children)
Sponsored by Representative Earl Ehrhart
Join the cast and crew members for a Question and Answer session on Sunday January 10 after the show!
Read the Plot Synopsis
Synopsis Not Available for this Production.
Directed by John Stephens.
Admittedly, it takes a bit of pluck to take on an adaptation of Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th century classic THE CANTERBURY TALES. The opening lines have been unnerving high school English students for generations.
Whanne that April with his shoures sote
The droughts of March hath perced the rote
And bathed every veine in swiche licour
In whiche verture engendered is the flour;
I remember trolling through verses of this just looking for the naughty bits rumored to be hidden within.
One of the earliest and most enduring contributions to English literature, for THE CANTERBURY TALES, Chaucer chose his native tongue, the vernacular, the melodious English of the taverns and the countryside, rather than the more posh and literate French or Latin of his day.
The pluck continued when I first considered adapting THE CANTERBURY TALES for Theatre Gael, a theatre that draws mainly from the Celtic literary heritage. Geoffrey Chaucer was a most English poet and his CANTERBURY TALES an English literary treasure. Haven’t the Irish provided the English-speaking world with enough poetry of their own? Indeed, poets and poetry are about the only things the Irish have done right. Leave Mr. Chaucer alone.
In browsing Chaucer’s source materials, however, I was delighted to find that crown Prince of English Poetry borrowed heavily from his Celtic neighbors – Welsh and Scottish tales, the Arthurian traditions of Celtic Britain and Irish bawdy. Chaucer looted the Italian traditions as well and if you hear an echo of Dante or The Decameron on our Canterbury trek, know that Chaucer stole from the very best.
But perhaps what draws both my admiration and adaptation is Chaucer’s own poetic pluck - his instinctive love of a good story, his unrelenting mischief, and his mastery of the workings of the human heart. For Chaucer had a brave heart. He was the stand-up poet of his age, willing to take on the avarice and hypocrisy of the church and the government as well as celebrating the dignity and decency of his fellow Englishmen and women.
So, thank you, Geoffrey, for your wonderful pilgrimage. I hope we have made you proud with our humble CANTERBURY TALES. Or, at least have given you a few laughs.
Act One - 60 minutes Act 2 - 70 minutes
Bardometer RatingHow difficult is this Shakespearean play to grasp? On a scale of 1 to 10.
What does rating this mean?
These are plays you may have read in high school or college. The plot is fairly uncomplicated, though some of the themes may be dense or dark. These plays may include supernatural elements, straight-forward politics, historical content or religious content. (In these cases, we offer a synopsis with important historical or contextual explanations which you may read in the Playbill before the show.) In these plays, there may also be bawdy language and certain adult situations, and the language may be hard to follow for a first-timer.
We recommend this type of play to High School and College Students, casual theatre-goers, people who like mainstream films and reading “The Onion”, and Shakespeare lovers who enjoy delving into the Elizabethan world.
How to prepare for seeing this kind of play: You may wish to read the synopsis we provide (and maybe your notes from Literature Class). Or simply do a small amount of internet research. No worries – you won’t get lost.