From September 6 to September 15, 2007, the C. Walsh Theatre at Suffolk University will present the world premiere of The English Channel, an original play by Robert Brustein. Co-produced by Theatre Department chair Marilyn Plotkins and General Manager Jim Kaufman, directed by Associate Professor Wesley Savick, and designed by Assistant Professor Richard Chambers, the production celebrates the recent appointment of Robert Brustein as Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Suffolk University and the rededication of the recently renovated C. Walsh Theatre.

The English Channel takes place in 1593 London, where the theatres have been shuttered against the plague. Will Shakespeare, holed up in the Mermaid Tavern, labors to produce the sonnets he has been commissioned to write. Romantic embroilment, espionage, and danger abound as Will tangles with the Fair Youth and Dark Lady of the sonnets, while jostling for fame, love, and patronage with rival playwright Christopher Marlowe. Playful and provocative, the play captures a critical moment in the artistic, personal, and political life of William Shakespeare.

Robert Brustein joined the faculty of Suffolk University’s College of Arts and Sciences as Distinguished Scholar in Residence in 2007. During his career, he has been the founding artistic director of the Yale Repertory and American Repertory Theatres, the Dean of the Yale School of Drama, and the author of fifteen books, including The Theatre of Revolt, a seminal collection of essays on the modern theatre. Mr. Brustein was the drama critic at The New Republic for over forty years and has previously taught at Columbia, Yale, and Harvard Universities. He has produced more than 200 plays, acting in, directing, adapting, or translating a number of them. His wide-ranging work in theatre has garnered many awards, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts, the Pirandello Medal, and a medal from the Egyptian government for his contribution to world theatre. He was inducted into the Theatrical Hall of Fame in 2002 and his archives were installed at Boston University in 2003.

Yet Brustein, who first tried to write a play when he was 18 years old, feared that he could never complete a script. “I never had the courage,” he says. “And then I found all these other things to do.” Some sixty years, five original plays and fifteen adaptations of others’ works later, there can be no doubt that Brustein has steeled his nerves: The English Channel concludes with a flourish that will alter viewers’ perceptions of William Shakespeare irrevocably.

Our Suffolk University production features a professional company including Sean Dugan, Merritt Jenson, Gabriel Fields, and Alex Pollock, a recent alumnus of the Theatre Department who won the prestigious Princess Grace Award a few years ago.

A panel including Stephen Greenblatt, Professor of English at Harvard University, advisor on the film Shakespeare in Love, and author of the best-selling Shakespeare biography, Will in the World, which inspired our play, will precede the first public performance on September 6. This panel will be part of the Lowell Lecture Series.


Thursday, September 6 4:00pm - Panel discussion; 7:30pm - Performance

Friday, September 7 7:30pm - Performance

Saturday, September 8 3:00pm & 7:30pm - Performance

Thursday, September 13 7:30pm - Performance

Friday, September 14 7:30pm - Performance

Saturday, September 15 3:00pm & 7:30pm - Performance

All seats are General Admission. Please note that the content of this play is not recommended for children.

Tickets for the general public are $30 and $15 for students with ID.

Box office: Theatre Mania, 866-811-4111