Mountain Man 

Sometimes people get to be big deals by playing it simple. Ralph Cohen, co-founder and director of the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, took his traveling Shenandoah Shakespeare Express around the world in the late-'80s and through the '90s, generating international recognition for its skillful productions of the Bard's plays, using a minimum of actors for a maximum of roles. When Cohen and the company finally built a performance space — the Blackfriars Playhouse — in 2001, it was a simple affair too. Big, empty hall, bare wood, sparse sets — but it was a re-creation of Shakespeare's original indoor theater. So it, too, became a big deal. Cohen comes to Virginia House to give a talk on bigness, simplicity and Shakespeare's use of language on Monday, Feb. 23, at 3:30 p.m. $10. 4301 Sulgrave Road. 784-8881. — Brandon Reynolds

Correction: We incorrectly reported that the Richmond Shakespeare Theatre was hosting Cohen.


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