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Toil and Trouble: The Ides of March

By Genie Davis

February 17, 2017

The Ides of March has never been sexier than this March 29th, when the exciting new performance company Toil and Trouble presents their take on the classic. Described as a re-imagining – with burlseque – of Shakespeare’s tales of betrayal and revenge, the production is Toil and Trouble’s third.

According to Toil and Trouble’s creator Angie Hobin, the unique production has been percolating for a long time. “I found both Shakespeare and burlesque when I’ve been ‘lost’ at different points in my life. I was required to do a book report on Hamlet when I was in eighth grade, when one most always feels a bit lost,” she laughs. “I fell in love with the accuracy and poetry with which Shakespeare describes the human condition. I was introduced to burlesque when I’d hastily moved to New York in pursuit of a failing relationship at age 22, and googled ‘powerful women performing tonight in New York.’” Hobin walked some thirty-three blocks to watch  the burlesque show Champagne Riot, which she says was the “greatest show I’d ever seen in my life at the time, and the women that performed in it are my burlesque idols to this day. I knew I wanted to be a part of this culture, even though I didn’t know if I had the nerve to do what they were doing.”

When Hobin returned to Los Angeles, she made a list of the things that brought her joy. “At the top of that list were Shakespeare, burlesque, and performing. So I decided to find a way to combine all three.” At the cast party following the closing of a play, Hobin mentioned the idea as a potential project, and overwhelmed by the positive response she heard, she went for it.

Toil and Trouble’s public relations director, Courtney L. King says “The performances border on cabaret style. Actual Shakespeare is performed, and then the production moves into a burlesque performance aspect.”

The Ides of March will be centered around the assasination of Julius Caeser, and features eight acts built around the theme of betrayal, each taken from eight of Shakespeare’s plays. “Each act will begin with with a scene and end with a strip tease,” Hobin explains. “I firmly believe that’s the route that Shakespeare would have taken with his writing, if Queen Elizabeth hadn’t been so staunch about her necklines.”

Performing in Hollywood is “terrific,” Hobin says, and both the theater and the show are a part of the changing, newly exciting entertainment scene on the busy boulevard. “Toil and Trouble is, in my mind, what the evening gown and suit-and-tie patrons of the golden age of Hollywood would have expected to see when they stepped into a theater for a sophisticated night on the town. The young adults of today are more intellectually influenced than they were during the rise of the club scene in the early 2000’s, and as unusual as our subject matter may be, I feel as though it’s suited to the time.”

The company has previously mounted two other well-received shows, one for Halloween, and a performance in January eponymously titled Toil and Trouble.

As described by the creative producer, Burgundy Kate, “Toil and Trouble has something for every kind of audience member, not unlike how the theater was in the time of William Shakespeare himself.” Kate notes that theater buffs will enjoy classic scenes unfolding in new ways, and burlesque fans will see some of the most talented and creative performers Los Angeles offers. “We like to think of it as being ‘low-brow Shakespeare, and high-brow burlesque.’”

The Ides of March will be performed March 29th at 8 p.m, with doors opening at 7. Tickets are $20. For more information visit http://www.toilandtroubleburlesque.com/

*UPDATE: This show will no longer take place at Prospect Theatre. The new location is El Cid, 4212 W. Sunset Blvd.


Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and journalist, and produced screen and television writer. Passionate about everything-Los Angeles, you can see her work in the arts on her own www.diversionsLA.com.

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