Ben Allen (Olivia) and Joseph Chance (Viola) in Propeller's "Twelfth Night." Photo: Manuel Harlan

This week: Propeller lands again at Power Center

All-male Shakespeare company returns with 'Twelfth Night' and 'The Taming of the Shrew'


The month ends with five days of performances by the exquisitely bawdy all-male Shakespeare company Propeller, performing "Twelfth Night" and "The Taming of the Shrew" in repertory with the same acting ensemble. Performances begin Wednesday, Feb. 20 and conclude Sunday, Feb. 24.

Presented by the University Musical Society, Propeller is an all-male Shakespeare company that seeks to find a more engaging way of expressing Shakespeare and to completely explore the relationship between text and performance. Mixing a rigorous approach to the text with a modern physical aesthetic, Propeller has been influenced by mask work, animation, film and music from all ages.

One of Shakespeare's best loved comedies of love and confusion, "Twelfth Night" tells a twisted tale of mistaken identity, transformation and deception. With a man playing a girl disguised as a boy, illusion and reality are almost indistinguishable on Propeller's island of Illyria. Dark and delightful, the plays asks "What happens when you fall in love with the wrong person?" - and the answer is both beautiful and bittersweet.

In "The Taming of the Shrew," two disguised, competing suitors clamor for the hand of the beautiful Bianca, while gold-digging Petruchio agrees to wed her viciously ill-tempered sister Kate sight-unseen. The difference between marrying for love and marrying for money, however, becomes increasingly difficult to judge.

The New York Time says, "As directed by Edward Hall, the Propeller Company specializes in knuckle-duster Shakespeare that digs for the harshness beneath the lyricism. Funny, antic, bawdy: the productions are all these expected things. But they also make sure that the chuckles stick in your throat. The poetry may still be pretty; the comedy definitely is not."

Performance dates and times are as follows:

"Twelfth Night" by William Shakespeare

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 23, 2 p.m.

Sunday, February 24, 7:30 p.m.

"The Taming Of The Shrew" by William Shakespeare

Thursday, Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 24, 2 p.m.

All performances take place at Power Center, 121 Fletcher Street, Ann Arbor.

Tickets start at $18. To purchase tickets or for more information, log on to, call 734-764-2538, purchase in person at the Michigan League (911 North University Avenue), or at the performance venue beginning 90 minutes before performance start time. Box office hours are Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., closed Sunday.

Free Related Events:

Opening Night Q&As

"Twelfth Night": Wednesday, Feb. 20

"The Taming of the Shrew": Thursday, Feb. 21

Get a glimpse into the lives and minds of the artists who bring their creativity to the stage after each opening night performance. Must have a ticket to that performance to attend.

People Are Talking Live: Twelfth Night

Friday, Feb. 22

Sava's (216 South State St.)

A post-performance audience meet-up at Sava's, where audience members can exchange their interpretations, questions and responses in a social setting. No registration or expertise necessary. Hosted by Clare Croft (U-M Department of Dance) and Jim Leija (UMS director of education & community engagement).

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