Love, with all its uplifting promise and torturous pain, will be explored by Actors' Theatre of Columbus during the 2019 season.

The theme, "Tainted Love," also a 1981 radio hit by British New Wave artist Soft Cell, "came about naturally," said Philip J. Hickman, artistic director for Actors' Theatre. "As we were selecting the 2019 season, the shows that most stood out were ones that involved problems of relationships, romantic love, familial love -- and how we navigate those problems.

"Each of the shows is linked by these problems, yet they overall span comedy, tragedy and drama."

The troupe's 38th season kicks off with "Beowulf (and the Bard)" on April 11 at MadLab Theatre, 227 N. Third St. in Columbus.

Hickman said the location is "one step in moving toward year-round production."

"Beowulf (and the Bard)" is an original adaptation of the classic Old English poem, "Beowulf." It was written by Vidas Barzdukas and Christopher Bartlett.

Barzdukas adapted "Captain Blood" for Actors' Theatre in 2015.

"Romeo and Juliet," last performed in 2013 in Columbus Commons, opens May 23 in Schiller Park, which serves as a base for Actors' Theatre.

"This classic play deserves to be presented every few years, as it is perpetually relevant, engaging and timely," Hickman said.

He said it was last performed in Schiller Park in 2005.

It will be followed by "Little Women," adapted by Marian de Forest, on June 20, and "As You Like It," one of Shakespeare's light and joyful comedies that last was performed by Actors' Theatre in 2003, on July 18.

The season closes Aug. 15 through Sept. 1 with "Dangerous Liaisons," an adaptation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos' 1782 novel "Les Liaisons Dangereuses."

The Actors' Theatre version, adapted by Christopher Hampton, appeared on Broadway in 1987.

" 'Dangerous Liaisons' provides a good dramatic bookend with 'Romeo and Juliet' for the Schiller Park portion of the season, while 'As You Like It' and 'Little Women' provide the kind of hope and joy that we also receive from stories of tangled love," Hickman said.

Scott Vezdos, director of marketing and development for Actors' Theatre, said he is upbeat about expanding the company's reach beyond the standard four plays in Schiller Park.

"We're very pleased to be expanding our 2019 summer season and excited to be collaborating with MadLab on the world premiere of 'Beowulf (and the Bard),' a zany take on the oldest English epic of all," Vezdos said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary