William Shakespeare Lives Coming to Elgin

Nathan Wonder will perform William Shakespeare Lives next week in Elgin. Photos courtesy of Duplicity Ensemble.

Janus Theatre Company in collaboration with Duplicity Ensemble welcomes Nathan Wonder to perform his award-winning play William Shakespeare Lives at the Elgin Art Showcase in downtown Elgin. Or, if you prefer the full title: William Shakespeare Lives; or, William Shakespeare, a 30 year-old playwright who lives in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood, has just opened his new play, Titus Andronicus, and it was not well-reviewed; a comedy in three acts. Yes, it's a comedy.


Duplicity Ensemble’s Artistic Director Nathan Wonder will take the stage in this original production that dives head-first into the young artist’s struggle to find success in Chicago’s storefront theatre scene. This contemporary – and unapologetically vulgar – William Shakespeare has recently lost his job, his girlfriend, and he has just opened a wildly unsuccessful production of his new play, Titus Andronicus. This confluence of unfortunate events prompts him to call this audience together so he can air out his troubles. Still youthful, undiscovered, and unappreciated, William shows sparks of his brilliance yet to come while he works out his craft in Chicago’s humblest venues, but can he overcome this series of disheartening setbacks?


Nathan Wonder is an actor, director and deviser of new work. He holds an M.F.A. in acting from the Theatre Conservatory of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. After working with Chicago companies like The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Chicago Mammals, and The Building Stage, Nathan founded Duplicity Ensemble, a new and vital theatre dedicated to producing original plays with music and dance. After two seasons and six original productions, Nathan moved to Portland, Oregon, where he is working on his next big project.


William Shakespeare Lives premiered at the 2015 Chicago Fringe Festival and was praised by the Chicago Reader:  "In this wise and witty solo show Nathan Wonder plays William Shakespeare, transported to Chicago, where he’s doing storefront theater. The modern-day Bard drinks PBR while he ruminating about the setbacks that have knocked him on his ass—no woman, no job, and latest play, Titus Andronicus, eviscerated by the critics. A clever take on the city’s off-Loop theater scene."

The show also won the award for best attended production at its venue at the 2015 Chicago Fringe Festival.


The production runs Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm at the Elgin Art Showcase. Tickets are $10. This production is part of Janus Theatre's Elgin 400 Shakespeare Festival and is generously sponsored by the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission, City of Elgin and Elgin Art Showcase.