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Friedrich Schiller's
adapted by John Rafter Lee


The Royal Family
Phillip II, King of Spain - Tom Fitzpatrick
Queen Elizabeth of Valois, his wife - Alyce LaTourelle
Don Carlos, the Crown Prince - Chistian Leffler

Marquis of Posa (Rodrigo), a Knight of Malta, friend to Carlos - Nick Offerman

The Queen’s Court
Duchess of Olivarez, chief lady-in-waiting to the Queen - Lisa Black
Marchioness of Mondecar, lady-in-waiting, friend to Elizabeth - Liz Davies
Countess Eboli, lady-in-waiting, new to the court - Mandy Freund
A Page to the Queen - Douglas Hernandez

The King’s Court
Duke of Alba,commander of the King’s Army - Christopher Kelley
Count Lerma, commander of the King’s Guard - Mark Daneri
Duke of Feria, Knight of the Golden Fleece - Don Oscar Smith
Don Ramon of Taxis, Lord Postmaster - Kirk Wilson
Officer - McLaurin Jackson
Guardsman - Aaron Francis

The Church
Father Domingo, the King’s confessor - Jan Munroe
The Prior, of a Carthusian monastery - Don Oscar Smith
The Grand Inquisitor - Tony Abatemarco

Director - Bart DeLorenzo
Scenic Designer - Jason Adams and Alicia Hoge
Lighting Designer - Rand Ryan
Costume Designer - Ann Closs-Farley
Sound Design - John Zalewski Prop Design - Connie Monaghan

Producer - Bart DeLorenzo
Associate Producers - Cheline Jaidar and Lee Lawlor
Associate Director - Lauren Campedelli
Assistant Costume Designer - Ames Ingham

Stage Manager - Beth Mack
Sound Board - Randall Luckow

Graphic Design - Colleen Wainwright
Photographer - Jason Adams

June 9 - July 29, 2001

Nick Offerman (Posa) and Christian Leffler (Carlos)

Nick Offerman (Posa), Alyce LaTourelle (Eizabeth), and Christian Leffler (Carlos)

Tom Fitzpatrick (Phillip) and Christian Leffler (Carlos)

Lisa Black (Olivarez), Mandy Freund (Eboli), Nick Offerman (Posa),
Alyce LaTourelle (Eizabeth) and Liz Davies (Mondecar)

Mandy Freund (Eboli) and Lisa Black (Olivarez)

Tony Abatemarco (Grand Inquisitor) and Tom Fitzpatrick (Phillip)


Los Angeles Times

Here it comes, you find yourself thinking: Another title from the World Drama’s Greatest Hits list, a golden oldie you’d really rather not see again until, say, next year. Familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt – the great plays are riddles, with more than one answer hidden in their shadows – but it’s no antidote, either.

In America, Friedrich Schiller is a different, rarer story.

Evidence Room’s staging of Don Carlos, Schiller’s 1787 historical tragedy, blows the dust off a seldom-revived classic. Most American audiences have never seen it (Verdi’s opera gets more mileage). It’s a fascinating, unstable work, and after one too many OK productions of Hamlet or somesuch, it’s an especially welcome theatrical tonic.

The Hamlet parallels are many; Schiller knew his Shakespeare. The time is 1568. Prince Carlos (Christian Leffler) is recently back from university. In John Rafter Lee'’s adaptation, he’s described as a "hothead," and for sound reason: He’s in love with his former fiancee, Elizabeth of Valois (Alyce LaTourelle), who has married Carlos’ father, the rigid Spanish king, Phillip II (Tom Fitzpatrick).

Beyond this familial sturm und drang, Don Carlos encompasses larger matters of state. Spain’s chokehold on the Netherlands has begun to foment rebellion. Carlos wants to wrest control away from his father. Carlos’ friend Roderigo (Nick Offerman), the Marquis of Posa, likewise dreams of freedom for his people and becomes an unlikely power broker in the king’s duplicitous court.

Enough plot. Part of the payoff here is Schiller’s twisty, highly melodramatic narrative. Lee’s translation, about half an hour shorter than most English-language versions of Don Carlos, compresses the various acts of betrayal and vengeance very tightly. By design Lee gives the lines a modern spin, sometimes verging on parody. "I'm floundering here!" says the prince’s would-be paramour, the Countess Eboli, played by wry Mandy Freund. At another point, the queen lets loose with, "I'm shocked, shocked to hear there are underhanded dealings in Madrid," in a line paraphrased from Casablanca.

It’s an uneven translation and an uneven 16-person ensemble, but director Bart DeLorenzo plays both like a fiddle. He favors speed and urgency without flattening out this zigzagging drama’s rhythms.

Without much of a budget, scenic designers Jason Adams and Alicia Hoge fashion an effectively hermetic enclosed environment, filled out visually by Ann Closs-Farley’s rich costume palette, which edges into the 20th century as the play progresses. Rand Ryan’s lighting carves out sharp pools of conspiratorial conversation, opening with a literal Golden Age of sunshine, the hues darkening in subsequent scenes. John Zalewski’s sound serves up a feast of discordant clanging, without falling into cliche.

A stronger, less unvaryingly insolent Carlos wouldn’t hurt, nor would a more authoritative queen. But Fitzpatrick’s Phillip II throws some wonderful mood-swinging fits; Tony Abatemarco’s blind but all-seeing Grand Inquisitor is indelibly creepy, straight out of Beckett’s Endgame. While Offerman’s Roderigo, like Leffler’s Carlos, may not relish the language, he lends a sharp edge of irony to his scenes.

The play itself is a stirring call to liberal-humanist arms. It seems especially valuable right now.

– Michael Phillips

In Los Angeles

Theatregoers even tardier than this observer should race to catch Don Carlos at the Evidence Room during its remaining two weeks. Friedrich Schiller’s 1787 masterpiece of Inquisition-era anarchy and unrequited passion here receives an invigorating revival, suggesting a standoff between Luchino Visconti and Sam Mendes.

Schiller’s epic text, both Shakespearean homage and political diatribe, imagines empirical intrigue under Philip II of Spain (Tom Fitzpatrick) against a romantic entanglement between the titular character (Christian Leffler) and his stepmother and former betrothed (Alyce LaTourelle). The ricocheting counter-plots take in collusion between church and state, treasonous deception versus patriotic loyalty, and the conflict of duty and desire.

Opera buffs know this as the basis for Verdi’s Don Carlo, and both Bart DeLorenzo’s staging and John Rafter Lee’s thankfully streamlined adaptation have a musical cadence, illuminating the blank verse with fluent immediacy. If the political undercurrents are less involving than the personal dilemmas, that is a flaw in Schiller’s dramaturgy more than the production.

The sleek, vaguely post-Restoration aesthetic is arresting, thanks to the supremely integrated designs of Jason Adams and Alicia Hoge (set), John Zalewski (sound), and Rand Ryan (lighting). Ann Closs-Farley’s costumes are striking, although the variations of Fascist uniform and religious garb for the men resonate more fully than the clever but inconclusive thrift store finery the women sport.

The entire Hamlet-ready ensemble is redoubtable. Fitzpatrick and Leffler make a gripping father and son, seething and invested if overzealous at vocal peaks. LaTourelle is both classically poised and touchingly human as the virtuous queen, and Nick Offerman’s noble Marquis of Posa is brilliant, suggesting the young Brian Blessed.

Mandy Freund’s Eboli, while less enigmatic than neurasthenic, is affecting, and Lisa Black, Christopher Kelley, and Ken Roht are notable standouts amidst the estimable cast. At climax, a dark-bespectacled Tony Abatemarco glides on as the Grand Inquisitor and thunderously absconds with the proceedings. This level of involvement typifies the whole enterprise, an elegantly assured watershed for both company and venue.

– David Nichols

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