the premiere of History of Cardenio is provocate’s theatre pick of the week — maybe the event of the year

The History of Cardenio is a big deal for Indy, for IUPUI and for the history of theatre. Shakespearean scholar Gary Taylor has reconstructed and re-imagined one of Shakespeare’s “lost” (“disappeared”?) plays. Under the direction of dynamic IUPUI professor Terri Bourus, The History of Cardenio is being performed in North America for the first time. There’s more, much more, than just having an original and possibly one-time-only theatrical experience. Before most of the performances you can talk with Taylor and other scholars who have been part of resurrecting this play. You can stick around after the performances to talk to director and cast. You can attend conferences bringing together experts in Shakespeare, Jacobean drama, and 17th century Spain and England. You can be part of the first events in IUPUI’s new state-of-the-art theatre. What else do you want? 

what will happen?

when & where (play and conversations)

[jcolumns inbordercss=”1px solid yellow” model=”1,2″]History of Cardenio plays at 7:00 pm

Thurs Apr 19
Fri Apr 20
Sat Apr 21
Tues Apr 24
Thur Apr 26
Fri Apr 27
Sat Apr 28

Pre-performance talk each evening @ 5:30 pm (except April 21)

Post-performance talk-back with director Terri Bourus, Shakespearean scholars, the cast @ 10 pm

[jcol/]Pre-performance talks

April 19
“Cervantes and Shakespeare”

April 20
“When is Sex Legal? Rape, Coercion, Bigamy, Mixed-Race Marriage, Transvestism, and Not Being Straight”

April 27
“Working Together: Theatre, Collaboration, and Cardenio”

April 28
Poetry Reading and Classical Spanish Guitar concert


We have a chance to watch the staging of The History of Cardenio, the North American premiere of an unknown play by William Shakespeare based on a story in Cervantes’s Don Quixote, lost for 400 years. What an opportunity! But it gets better. For 10 days Indianapolis will be the focal point of global Shakespearean studies, with leading scholars, directors, and actors flocking to Indy to be part of the historic experience. Before every performance some of these scholars will discuss aspects of the background, reconstruction, and contemporary significance of The History of Cardenio. Wait, there’s more! After every performance you can talk-back with the director (IUPUI’s Terri Bourus), the scholar most responsible for the resurrection of Cardenio (Gary Taylor), the play’s cast and other Shakespeareans. All this, plus you can be part of christening a new state of the art theatre on the IUPUI campus.

[jbutton color=”red” link=”″]Tickets[/jbutton]

[jcolumns inbordercss=”1px solid #555555″]3 reasons to go

  1. Prices of tickets were just slashed, they are now $10 for students, $20 grown-ups, $15 apiece for groups of more than ten. When you figure that pays for a pre-performance discussion, the play, and a post-performance talk-back with the people who made the magic … that’s more than 5 hours of once-in-a-lifetime entertainment.
  2. It may not be Hamlet- or Lear-quality Shakespeare, but everything the Bard wrote can illuminate the human condition. Some of the themes of Cardenio that seem “ripped from today’s headlines”: racial prejudice and ethnic conflict, power between the sexes, gender ambiguity and confusion. Who wants to miss that?
  3. Do you remember how much fun and pride Indy got from hosting the Super Bowl? Now we can do it all over again, only hosting Shakespeare and Cervantes rather than Eli Manning and Tom Brady.

[jcol/]if this sounds cool, check out …

April 21: Gala reception for “History of Cardenio” & IUPUI’s new theatre
Kick off a new theatre at IUPUI with an old play by Shakespeare performed for the first time … sounds like a good reason for a gala reception.

April 27: Meet the next generation of Shakespeare scholars
A graduate colloquium showcases contributions by young scholar that broaden current understanding of early modern Anglo-Spanish relations, especially the relationship between Cervantes and English drama, in order to better contextualize Cardenio within the early modern imaginary.

April 28: The History of Cardenio — Spain and England, Then and Now
Recent scholarship on the context of Shakespeare’s “lost” play, “The History of Cardenio,” will be presented at a colloquium of renowned Cervantes, Fletcher and Shakespeare scholars.

May 3 – June 2: Spend Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays watching NoExit perform Sophocles’ “Theban Plays”
NoExit is providing Indianapolis with a treat: a rare performance of all three of the “Theban Plays” by Sophocles: Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone.


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