Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alum Julia Farrell Diefenbach (BA ’15), a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing program with a Minor in Stage Combat, is directing a long-delayed North American premiere — The Dark Ages: Otho the Great, an adaptation of English poet John Keats’ verse drama Otho the Great, running June 10-25 at Unity Lutheran Church, 1212 W. Balmoral, in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood. For tickets, call 773-293-1358 or click here.
The production features stage combat by Diefenbach’s fellow Columbia College alum Luke Van Marter (BA ’14), a graduate of the Columbia College Theatre Department’s Acting BA program.
Keats’ only full-length play was written in 1819, two years before the poet’s untimely death at 26 fromtuberculosis. Never produced in Keats’ lifetime, the play had its world premiere in London in 1950. Now it’s been adapted and produced by Chicago actor Frank Farrell, a former Columbia College Theatre Department faculty member. This historical drama is written in exact iambic pentameter—more exact than the verse which appears so frequently in the plays of William Shakespeare. It is based on the life of Otto I, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in the 10th century, and depicts the tragic fate of Otho’s valiant but hotheaded son, whose unfaithful lover and her scheming brother induce him to rebel against his father. “I see this work as Vikings putting on a play by Shakespeare,” says Farrell. “Audiences should see the play as a depiction of human transition into a more civilized society.”