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From Erasmus to Mel Brooks, the wisdom of foolery – and the foolery of the wise – has made us laugh and made us think. In this evening of readings, songs, and insightful commentary, CUNY professor of English Richard McCoy, joined by a motley troop of players including Zachary Fine, Bill Irwin, Flor De Liz Perez, and Natalie Woolams-Torres, will offer a spirited look at the history and meaning of clowns and fools in Shakespeare. Together, we’ll explore the distinction between the rustic malaprop-loving “clowns” like Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, professional court “allowed fools” like Feste in Twelfth Night, and Lear’s famously melancholy “bitter fool.” What do these sometimes lovable, sometimes needling, sometimes despairing figures bring to their plays? How does their truth-telling alongside their nonsense challenge the hierarchies of the dramatic worlds they inhabit and the values of the powerful individuals they mock?
PUBLIC SHAKESPEARE PRESENTS: Wise Fools & Foolish WitsMonday, July 23 at 7pmWith scholar Richard McCoy Performances by Zachary Fine, Bill Irwin, Flor De Liz Perez, Natalie Wollams-Torres
Season support provided by the Blavatnik Family Foundation. The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust provides leadership support for The Public Theater’s year-round activities.
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