TRAVERSE CITY — David Montee is a Shakespeare geek.
So when he heard about the bard’s lost-and-found play with fellow 17th-century playwright John Fletcher, Montee vowed to stage it someday.
“The play had recently been produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford but the company also stages plays in London and they were selling the script and the story behind it,” said Montee, who snatched up a copy during a 2011-12 sabbatical in the city.
Five years later Montee is making good on his word. He’ll direct the Interlochen Arts Academy Theater Company in a rare production of “Cardenio” April 21-23 at Harvey Theatre.
“It’s something I’ve been looking forward to since I went to London,” said Montee, an actor, director and academy theater instructor. “The last five years I’ve been forming my own version.”
The tragi-comedy — lost for more than a century, then revised several times by various authors — is the subplot of Cervantes’ novel, “Don Quixote.” It tells the story of young Cardenio, who solicits the help of friend and duke’s son Don Fernando to win the love of the upper-class Luscinda. Instead Fernando woos Luscinda himself, breaking his own betrothal pledge and causing Cardenio to go mad from the betrayal.
Montee’s version sticks close to the Royal Shakespeare Company version by artistic director Gregory Doran and “co-writers” Shakespeare, Fletcher and Shakespeare scholar and editor Lewis Theobald.
Theobald first discovered and revised the original manuscript in the 1700s, stirring up controversy and causing some to question whether his play, which he called “Double Falsehood,” was based on a Shakespeare/Fletcher original or a fake. But when, 50 years after Theobald’s death, records turned up that told of an early play that was performed at court in 1613 and licensed…