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Theater 101

More 101 events coming soon; stay tuned!

Each 101 class will feature a 45 minute lecture with Two River’s Artistic Director, John Dias (unless otherwise specified), followed by a Q&A, coffee & dessert.

This series is suitable for all levels of new and advanced theater goers. There is no cost to attend.



SHAKESPEARE 101 with John Dias
Monday, April 18 at 7pm at Monmouth County Library Headquarters, Manalapan

In addition to being the Artistic Director of Two River Theater in Red Bank, John Dias is an expert on the work of William Shakespeare (and a professor on the topic at Columbia University). Join John as he provides some context, history, and insight into the writer many consider the greatest playwright of all time, including discussing how directors and designers make choices about sets and costumes, and how actors learn to speak Shakespeare’s heightened language in a way that makes it accessible to audiences. Whether you’re a newbie or already a devotee, you’ll be sure to come away with a fresh appreciation of the Bard and his unforgettable work.

Thursday, February 11/2016 at 7pm

When writing a play, choosing the perfect word is hard. But trying to express the meaning of that word in another language is a translator’s greatest responsibility—and challenge. Two River’s Artistic Director John Dias will talk with Maria Alexandria Beech (whose translation of Ropes is having its American premiere at Two River February 20-March 20) and Andrea Thome (author of Pinkolandia), who are both playwrights and translators, about the challenges and joys of navigating the specificities—and eccentricities—of language to capture the spirit of a play. FREE!


SONDHEIM 101 with Literary Manager Anika Chapin
Tuesday, November 3 at 7:30pm

Stephen Sondheim is a titanic figure in American musical theater. The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and lyricist of 17 classic musicals including A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods. Sondheim's musicals changed the form itself. Join Two River Theater Literary Manager Anika Chapin for some background on Sondheim’s life (including his early mentorship by Oscar Hammerstein II) and an exploration of his game-changing work.

SHAKESPEARE 102: The Mysteries of Attribution and Authorship 
Tuesday, December 8 at 7:30pm

Shakespeare is unquestionably one of the greatest writers humanity has produced. But did the man we know as William Shakespeare write all the work attributed to him? And is there more work yet to be discovered? Questions of authorship and attribution arise both in Robert Rechnitz and Kenneth Stunkel’s LIVES OF REASON (which features an Elizabethan poem that might be the work of the Bard), and Shakespeare’s PERICLES  (which was almost certainly written with a collaborator). So how do we know who wrote the plays of William Shakespeare? How can we prove authorship of a newly discovered work, or decipher when a Shakespearean play is a collaboration? Join Artistic Director John Dias for a discussion of some of the methods of attributing authorship, and a look at the question of who we’re really talking about when we’re talking about “The Bard”.

August Wilson 101
Tuesday, September 8 at 7:30pm

August Wilson has been called “America’s Shakespeare”. His work, and especially his seminal “American Cycle” – 10 plays set in each decade of the 20th-century – are classics of American theater. In this evening lecture, Two River Artistic Director John Dias will provide background into Wilson’s life and the elements that shaped his work, and then explore the richness of the plays themselves.


Shakespeare 101
Thursday, January 23 at 7:30pm 

Ever wonder how artists make Shakespeare relevant to the present day? Artistic Director John Dias will discuss how directors and designers make choices about sets and costumes, and how actors learn to speak his heightened language in a way that makes it accessible to audiences. 
Moliere 101
Thursday, August 21 at 7:30pm
American theater artists revel in French farceur Molière's brilliant silliness. Ever wonder how they prepare to tackle all the French neo-classical fun? Join Artistic Director John Dias to find out - there may even be a few rhyming couplets!

Musical Theater 101
Thursday, October 30 at 7:30pm

From dancing knights to singing green witches, Musical Theater is a beloved and wide-ranging homegrown American art form. But it’s not all jazz hands and Jellicle balls; musicals are deceptively complex works of theater with their own rich history. Join Artistic Director John Dias and Literary Manager Anika Chapin for a deeper look at how musicals work and why we love them. 

Comedy 101
Thursday, Dec. 18 at 7:30pm

There’s an old show-biz adage that says: “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” Audiences love the release of laughter, but great comic performances can require both amazing physical dexterity and a special facility with language.  Join Artistic Director John Dias and learn how artists are approaching the unique—and uniquely rewarding—challenges of performing the works of Alan Ayckbourn.