9/9: All’s Well That Ends Well

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Case Western Reserve University visiting professor Geoff Bullen — who also serves as associate director of England’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he specializes in Shakespeare — makes his directing debut in the school’s MFA acting program tonight. Not so surprisingly, it’s one of the Bard’s works. Somewhat surprisingly, it’s All’s Well That Ends Well, which doesn’t get performed nearly as often as his other plays. It tells the story of Helena, who wants to marry Bertram, even though he doesn’t want to marry her. She follows him to court, where the king takes a liking to her and promises her any husband she wants. She picks Bertram. Under pressure from the king, Bertram says he’ll marry Helena only if she accomplishes what he thinks is impossible: have his child and get a ring off his finger (it apparently fits very tightly). But since this is Shakespeare, you can expect plenty of wily tricks along the way. And don’t feel weird if you don’t know whether or not to laugh at all of this: All’s Well That Ends Well is one of Shakespeare’s problem plays, so nobody is sure if you should laugh or cry. It opens at 8 p.m. with performances through September 19 at Cleveland Playhouse’s Brooks Theatre (8500 Euclid Ave., 216.795.7000). Tickets: $7.50-$15. — Michael Gill

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