For one weekend of stellar performances at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts, Aquila Theatre brings two literary classics to life in downtown Asheville: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby on Friday, Feb. 4 and Shakespeare’s Macbeth on Saturday, Feb. 5.
One of the Wortham Center’s fan-favorite companies, returning each season with two new and exciting productions of literature’s best works, Aquila Theatre is one of the foremost producers of classical theatre in the United States. The critically acclaimed, award-winning company is known for its innovative interpretations of the classics, specifically designed for today’s audiences.
Founded in London in 1991 by Peter Meineck, Aquila Theatre moved to New York City in 1997 — and, throughout the years, the company has been praised as producing high-quality classics “with superb acting and clever staging” (The New Yorker) and has been called “one of the most inventive and daring theatre companies in the country” (The Lincoln Star Journal).
This season, Aquila brings two exciting productions to the Wortham Center, the first of which is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Beneath all the glitter, glamour and glitz of the Roaring Twenties was a culture of success defined by extravagance — of classism and prejudice, of wealth, material possessions, and obsession masquerading as love. Though often romanticized in modern pop culture, The Great Gatsby paints an honest and moving portrayal of American society that still resonates today, an exploration of the quest for the American dream in the absence of true equality. Aquila Theatre’s theatrical adaptation of the famous novel uses clever and impactful design, superb acting and insightful direction to emphasize the connections between our current culture and that of a century past. The Great Gatsby event page
The second evening brings a thrilling tale of ruthless ambition, deadly deception, intense paranoia, and ultimately, insanity, in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. On a deserted moor shrouded in mist, a warrior returning from the battlefield is met by three old women who deliver a chilling prophecy – that one day he will be crowned King of all Scotland. So begins one of Shakespeare’s most exciting plays. This is a world where “fair is foul and foul is fair.” Read by millions each year, Macbeth offers timeless lessons about motivation and human nature. Macbeth event page
When it comes to Shakespearean tragedies, Aquila Theatre “takes the classics off their pedestals and presents them as live action, flesh and blood adventures” (Dramatics Magazine).
A play is considered classical when it transcends the original culture it was created for — provoking the central question of what it means to be human — and Aquila Theatre’s mission is to make these classical works accessible for all, cleverly connecting the original text to the culture and society of today.
Aquila Theater Ancillary Events: Connect beyond the curtain with Aquila Theatre in four public ancillary events, Feb. 4-7.
- Join Aquila Theatre and fellow patrons for two insightful pre-show discussions, offering a deeper dive into the production of each work. At 7 p.m. both evenings, Friday, Feb. 4 and Saturday, Feb. 5 in Tina McGuire Theatre. For ticket holders.
- Connect past to the present in “A More Perfect Union,” a workshop with the company that explores the origins and ideas of democracy from the ancient Greeks to America today. At 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 5 in Tina McGuire Theatre.
- Enjoy a special, unabridged Matinee Series performance of “Macbeth” and supplement your students’ classic literature lesson with a field trip they won’t forget. At 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 7. Tickets: $10 each / $9 for groups of 11 or more.