From the 2010-2011 Season: Timon of Athens Playing November 04, 2010 to November 28, 2010

Kathryn Lawson, Maurice Ralston Photo by Scott King

"We have seen better days". - (Act IV, Scene II).

Timon is a wealthy Athenian noble who responds to flattery by hosting banquets, giving gifts and bailing out his suitors. When his fortune runs out and his friends reject his pleas for help, he becomes an embittered recluse and sees that those who abandoned him suffer

Timon of Athens may be a simple story about a generous and self-indulgent man driven to misanthropy by his fair-weather friends, but it produces an avalanche of philosophical questions: Does Timon deserve our compassion for shunning society and condemning/contaminating the very people he once called friends? Does he deserve to be punished for his vanity and ostentation or is he right to expect more from his parasitic friends? Is there a place for cynicism in society? Watch and Decide.

Money: it can’t buy love, but it can promote hate.

Watch a short video on why Maurice Ralston is the perfect choice to play Timon here.

Historical Note: With the opening of this production, ASC has officially completed Shakespeare's Folio. (The Completion of his Canon will occur in the Spring with Edward III!)

Completion of the Canon is made possible by the special generosity of ASC's Board of Directors.

Read the Plot Synopsis

by Drew Reeves

Act I
The merchants and artisans of Athens are gathered around Timon’s house, including a poet and a painter who have created works specifically for him to purchase.  Timon is a wealthy Athenian, and everyone knows he spends and gives his wealth extravagantly.  When he arrives the merchants and artisans all flatter him to gain his business, and the lords flatter him for gifts.  Lords offer gifts to him knowing he will give them back much more in gifts and money.  Apemantus, a philosopher, arrives and begins insulting everyone.  His insults, however, do speak to the truth of the overly generous Timon and the shallow flatterers.  Alcibiades arrives, and is the only person to greet Timon warmly.  Timon invites all into his house for a feast.

At the feast, Timon provides food and wine to all, and has hired dancing girls to entertain them.  In addition, Timon continues to give gifts and money as he proclaims them all his friends.  Only Apemantus and Alcibiades refuse his gifts.  Apemantus has brought his own food and drink and continues to rudely comment on the whole situation.  Flavius, Timon’s faithful Steward, is worried for his master because he’s starting to run out of money. 

Flavius has tried to protect Timon by borrowing from wealthy Senators.  They become concerned with his extravagance and begin sending their servants to collect the debts.  Flavius tries to keep them at bay, but ultimately must confess to Timon that he is now broke.  Timon sends to his friends for help, and to collect debts owed to him, but they all refuse.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, a friend of Alcibiades is being put to death.  Alcibiades pleads for the life of his friend.  The Senators refuse to acquiesce and banish Alcibiades from Athens.  Before he leaves he vows to take vengeance on Athens for the wrongs done to him and others.

Timon invites the lords who have denied their assistance to another feast.  When the dishes are uncovered they contain water instead of food.  Timon goes into a rage, chases off the lords, and burns down his house.  He leaves Athens to live in the woods and renounces wealth and the society of men.  Flavius and Timon’s other servants are now without a home or a job.  Flavius splits all of the money he has among the others and vows to remain true to Timon.

Act II
Timon is now living alone in a cave.  He spends his time digging for roots to eat.  While digging, he discovers buried gold and is once again a wealthy man.  He denounces wealth as an evil that will destroy society.

Alcibiades, accompanied by two prostitutes, happens by on his way to attack Athens.  He tries to talk to Timon, but Timon rejects his friendship.  Timon gives him gold which he takes to pay his soldiers.

Apemantus comes seeking Timon because he has heard that Timon affects his manners.  He offers Timon food but Timon refuses it with curses.  He observes that Timon never knew the middle of humanity, but had only lived at the extremes.  The two misanthropes fall into an exchange of insults.  As Apemantus leaves, three thieving soldiers arrive.  Timon freely gives them gold so they no longer have to be thieves, which drives at least one of them from his wicked ways.
Flavius comes in next.  His compassion moves Timon, but in the end Timon still drives him away.  Next the Poet and Painter come in because they’ve heard of Timon’s new found wealth.  Timon drives them away.  Two Senators come to ask Timon’s aid in turning back Alcibiades attack.  Timon drives them away.
The Senators take the news back to Athens that Timon has refused his aid.  They prepare for Alcibiades attack.

A soldier happens upon Timon’s hole, and finds him dead.  Timon has written his own epitaph on a gravestone, but the soldier cannot read.  He makes a wax inscription and takes it to Athens.

Alcibiades and his army are before the gates of Athens.  The soldier brings news of Timon’s death, and Alcibiades reads his epitaph.  He reconciles with Athens, but vows to heal the city of its shallow ways.

Director's Notes

Directed by Drew Reeves
Assistant Director - Travis Smith

Dear Future Audience Member,

It is my great pleasure to invite you to share a milestone. By directing TIMON OF ATHENS, I complete a lifelong dream of working on all of the plays compiled in the First Folio, and the Atlanta Shakespeare Company takes another giant step towards its goal of completing the ‘Shakespeare Canon’, which includes four plays not found in the First Folio.

As a self-proclaimed ‘Shakespeare Geek’ the opportunity to direct TIMON OF ATHENS is a rare, delicious treat. Left unfinished and never produced during Shakespeare’s career means that we are performing a work by Shakespeare that even his own company didn’t. We are working with an unfinished draft of what appears to be an experimental play for the time.

So now I’m going to cut to the chase: my intent here is to try to convince you to come see this show. We can get you to flock to see ROMEO AND JULIET, MACBETH and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM over and over, but sometimes with the more obscure plays such as this one, you don’t come! Admittedly, sometimes there’s reason for that. The lesser known ones are often thought of as ‘lesser plays’, paler versions of ROMEO AND JULIET, MACBETH and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. TIMON OF ATHENS, however, is its own unique play, unlike anything else in the Shakespeare canon in many ways. The main theme of ‘friendship and finances don’t mix’ is as timeless as the themes of the greatest plays, and the subject of daily conversations and conflicts between so many people I know. Adding to the intrigue and controversy for this play, and one of my favorite elements from my research, is that it was a particular favorite of Karl Marx. Though the play is not necessarily ‘pro-socialist’, it does come across as very ‘anti-capitalist’.

I should also let you this will not be a typical Tavern staging. Our love of a bare bones style which we call ‘Original Practice’ is, in my opinion, partly because the great ones can stand on their own. We don’t need to re-write Shakespeare, he did a good enough job on his own, in most cases. He didn’t finish this one, though. Also, it was never performed, so his intent on the staging can’t be fully imagined from the text. As a director, I felt an obligation to help “finish and form” this incomplete text for you, the audience. This production will have an overarching conceptual element utilizing Greek style mask work to help clarify some aspects of the story, focus it on the vibrant and engaging moral and ethical questions raised through this study of the dark side of an ‘Everyman’, and hopefully give it the a sense of completion that Shakespeare never did.

And if that doesn’t get you in the door, don’t forget the beer, wine, and liquor available at reasonable prices.

Did I mention the strippers?

See you soon,
Drew Reeves

Show Information


Act One - 70 min / Act Two - 55 min

Show Roles

Nov 4-28, 2010
Timon – Maurice Ralston*
Alcibiades – Travis Smith*
Flavius – Paul Hester*
Apemantus – Andrew Houchins*
Matt Nitchie
Daniel Parvis
Laura Cole
Troy Willis*
Kathryn Lawson
Kenneth Wigley
Eve Butler
Chris Rushing

Show Times
Shows at The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse begin at 7:30pm, except on Sundays, when they begin at 6:30pm

Bardometer Rating

How difficult is this Shakespearean play to grasp? On a scale of 1 to 10.
What does rating this mean?

These plays are extremely passionate and heavy on religious, historical and/or political content. The language is complex and the themes are dark. We provide a synopsis in the Playbill for these plays which will explain any historical or political elements you may need to know. There may be increased violence, gore and sexuality (though there is never any nudity). If we feel a show contains a plethora of Graphic Elizabethan Poetry we will put that disclaimer in the blurb about the show

Note for all plays: The performers of The Atlanta Shakespeare Company are specially trained to make Shakespeare’s text and intention clear, no matter the plot or the subject matter. They know precisely how to get to the emotional core of each line, each moment, each scene. We promise you will understand everything! Leave the heavy lifting to us!

Additional Information