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Photo courtesy Shakespeare & Company

LENOX -- Noël Coward’s sharp-witted comedy, "Private Lives," enlivens Shakespeare & Company’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre this month and next in a production featuring company artists Dana Harrison, David Joseph, Adam Huff, Annie Considine and newcomer Elizabeth Cardaropoli.

Shakespeare & Company artistic director Tony Simotes is directing.

Performances begin tonight. The show runs through March 30. Press opening is Feb. 22 at 7 p.m.

The company also is hosting a Valentine’s Brunch Sunday morning at 11.

Complete performance, brunch and ticket information is available at shakespeare.org or by phone at (413) 637-3353.

"Private Lives" charts the follies of a divorced couple, Elyot and Amanda, who are honeymooning with their new spouses in the south of France. By chance they meet across adjoining hotel balconies, and rekindle their former tempestuous relationship without concern for scandal, their new partners, or any memory of what drove them apart in the first place. As the plot gets hot, it becomes apparent that while Elyot (David Joseph) and Amanda (Dana Harrison) cannot live without each other, they clearly can’t live with each other either. When the affair is discovered, the two wronged spouses, Sybil (Annie Considine) and Victor (Adam Huff), turn up the heat even more.

"As I was rereading this play after many years, I remembered why I liked it so much," says Simotes in a news release.


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"Coward’s facility with language, and quick and witty banter is simply brilliant. The dialogue moves so rapidly at times it has a dizzying effect."

Joseph’s Shakespeare & Company credits include "It’s A Wonderful Life," "Love’s Labor’s Lost" and "The Liar." Harrison has appeared in "Les Faux Pas," "The Liar" and "The Learned Ladies." Considine has performed in "Accomplice" and "A Midsummer Night’s Dream"; Huff has been in "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" and Cardaropoli appeared in "Julius Caesar" with The Conservatory at Shakespeare & Company program.

"Private Lives" opened the new Phoenix Theatre in London in 1930, starring Coward, Gertrude Lawrence, Adrianne Allen and Laurence Olivier. A Broadway production followed in 1931. The play has been revived many times in the West End, on Broadway and is performed around the world.

In the Berkshires, the play has been seen at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Barrington Stage Company and at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, N.Y.