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Event Calendar

Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production ofEquivocation

NOV 18, 2011 – JAN 1, 2012

By Bill Cain

Directed by Bill Rauch
Illustration by Tim O'Brien

in the Kreeger

A story so incredible
only Shakespeare could write it

LONDON, 1606: The worlds of King James and the Gunpowder Plot collide with William Shakespeare and his theatrical troupe in a startling cat-and-mouse game of politics and art. Bill Cain's high-stakes political thriller reveals the complexities of the truth and the terrible consequences of compromise in "one of the most bracingly intelligent, sizzlingly theatrical American plays in a decade" (Variety).

Arena Stage is committed to presenting the best in American work from around the country. Founded in 1935, the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) is among the oldest and largest professional non-profit theatres in the nation. Each year OSF presents an eight-and-a-half-month season of eleven plays in three theatres with more than 780 performances annually and an attendance of approximately 400,000. OSF has completed the Shakespearean canon three times since 1935. In addition to Shakespeare, The Festival produces classic works from Ibsen and Chekhov, American giants like Miller and Williams, as well as world premieres like Bill Cain's intelligent, action-packed, human and humorous script, Equivocation


“We're actors. Words made flesh. We step out on stage and try to show them something enormous, unimaginable for good or ill. And if they catch a sight of themselves in us, we've done our job. We hold the mirror up. Nothing more.” — Richard

“It's not a way to lie, you know — equivocation— it's a way of telling the truth.” — Father Henry Garnet

“Concerning faith – It is not only in what you believe, but also in whom.
Faith is community as much as a creed.”
— Father Henry Garnet

Equivocation runs approximately 3 hours, including one 15-minute intermission.

What People Are Saying

“A full-out, heart-stopping performance … with the force and effect of a Shakespearean drama … The stakes are the highest imaginable … The writing is gorgeous.”

DC Theatre Scene

… riveting … infused with wit and poignancy … flawless … a tension that borders on sexual.”


  ... a meaningful, clever, and exciting experience ... The cast of Equivocation is extraordinary.”

Maryland Theatre Guide

“A stunning triumph ... A testament to the energy and
versatility of the cast and to Bill Rauch’s brilliant direction …
if you’re ready to have your mind blown, then go!”

Woman Around Town

“Thoughtful, clever  … terrific cast …
just the right amount of theatrical flair.”

Bightest Young Things

“A near ideal cast and a savvy director …
a tremendously satisfying evening.”

Indianapolis Business Journal

American Voices

Bill Cain

Bill Cain

Originally equivocation meant a way of attempting to tell the truth in the face of a false question. The original meaning can be best illustrated by using an example from World War II. If – in 1943 – you were working at 263 Prinsengracht in Amsterdam and the Gestapo came to your door and asked, “Are you hiding Anne Frank in your attic,” what would the true answer be? The literal truth? Or questioning the validity of the question – equivocating – asking yourself what they are really asking.

I am grateful to be taking the journey of Equivocation (with its extraordinary original creators) in a time when the questions being placed to us do not seem to me to be the real ones. I am grateful once again to be traveling with Shag and his wonderful company of actors, and with Garnet and his terrible aloneness, seeking the questions beneath the questions and seeking the courage to answer them honestly and with our lives.


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