Come see Shakespeare’s NEW play!! Love and betrayal abound in Double Falsehood, directed by Jene Rebbin-Shaw. This play has recently been added to the Shakespeare canon and so has been produced only a handful of times. In it’s ninth season, Shakespeare in South Park’s production of Double Falsehood is the Midwest premiere! Acquaint yourself with this new work coupled with that familiar 80s style. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. And bug spray, too! It’s FREE w/ donations gratefully accepted.
What is ShakesBeer?
A) A casual mix and mingle for downtown residents and employees.
B) A fun way to enjoy Shakespeare’s Othello through a modern (and much shortened!) production.
C) An opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at one of Dayton’s local craft breweries.
All of the above!
Dayton Metro Library is hosting a free after-work networking event on Thursday, October 9 at the Main Library (215 E. Third Street, Dayton) with a double dose of craft.
First up: Enjoy the craft of acting from The Human Race Theatre Company as they perform a shortened and modern version of Shakespeare’s Othello (40 minutes of tweets and deceit) at the Main Library in Downtown Dayton. Then: Head across the street to Warped Wing to enjoy craft beer. Take a tour, take home a special pint glass (first 50 attendees), and enjoy locally-brewed beer available for purchase.
Don’t miss this free event for your opportunity to mix and mingle with other downtown residents and employees in a casual and quick ShakesBeerian adventure.
What’s on tap?
4:30 p.m. – Mix and mingle with fellow downtowners at the Library while you peruse the diverse items from the ShakesBeer collection: plays, modern movie remakes, home brew how-tos, great soundtracks, best brewery guides and more.
5 p.m. – Showtime! The Human Race Theatre Company presents their original production #othello. Adapted and directed by Aaron Vega. All the knavery of this classic tragedy fits into a fast-paced 40 minutes.
5:45 p.m. – As the show wraps, actors will be available for questions and comments about how plays translate from the page to the stage, and you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the fine craft of acting.
6 p.m. – We got our Shakes in, now for the Beer. Head across the street as Warped Wing offers a tour of the craft brewery to see behind-the-scenes magic. First 50 attendees to hand in their ticket will take home a free pint glass!
The Little Art Theatre, which completed a half-million dollar renovation in 2013, will present productions from London’s National Theatre beginning this month. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that broadcasts the best of British theatre from the London stage to cinemas around the world. Each broadcast is filmed in front of a live audience in the theatre, with cameras positioned throughout the auditorium to ensure that cinema audiences get the “best seat in the house” view of each production.
Shakespeare’s Coriolanus will open the series, with screenings on Saturday, February 22, at 2 p.m. and Wednesday, February 26, at 7 p.m. The hit production War Horse will be shown on March 22 and 26, followed by King Lear on May 24 and 28 and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time on May 31 and June 4.
Coriolanus, Shakespeare’s searing tragedy of political manipulation and revenge, stars Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers, War Horse, Thor) in the title role and Mark Gatiss (BBC’s Sherlock) as Menenius. Variety offered this praise: “Making enthralling theater out of one of Shakespeare’s best-known titles is one thing. It’s an achievement of an altogether higher order to take the austerely forbidding ‘Coriolanus’—an argumentative tragedy discussing the demands of politics and the power of the people—and turn it into a theatrical triumph. But that’s exactly what [director] Josie Rourke has done. Thanks to an ideally dovetailed ensemble led by a scorching Tom Hiddleston, tension builds, fills the theater and never flags throughout an all-consuming evening.” Coriolanus has a running time of 180 minutes.
Tickets for the National Theatre Live presentations are $20 for everyone and are available in advance online at www.littleart.com (under the Calendar tab) and at the door. The Little Art Theatre is located at 247 Xenia Avenue in downtown Yellow Springs, Ohio. Information and directions are available at www.littleart.com or by calling 937-767-7671.
One of the greatest strengths of the Theatre program at Sinclair Community College is its focus on the individual student, according to Steven Skiles, chair of Sinclair’s Theatre and Dance Department.
“We want to get to know our students,” Skiles says. “We want to get to know what their goals are. Do you want to go on to a four-year institution? Do you want to go straight to New York? Is it your dream to be an American actor living in London?”
“We try to engage students in those conversations,” he continues, “so that when they’re going through the program here, they also have a larger goal in mind that keeps them moving forward.”
Students in Sinclair’s Theatre program have a choice between three major tracks: performance, technical theatre, and a double major incorporating both. Even students who choose a single emphasis are required to take some courses in the other discipline, however.
“We like to give our students the opportunity to learn about as many different aspects of the theatre as they can,” Skiles says, “so that when they go out into the workforce, they have many different capacities in which they can fill positions.”
Hands-on experience is another major component of the Theatre program, according to Skiles.
“We’re a very practically-oriented program,” he says. “We want our students doing things; we want them involved in productions. On the stage, behind the stage, designing for the stage; we want them to be a very large part of our production season.”
Before graduating, students in both programs must complete a capstone: a portfolio showcasing their work in the case of technical students, and an auditions class for performance majors, which covers such topics as putting together a resume, cultivating and maintaining contacts in the theatre industry, and the various skills needed to put together a good audition.
But the most important responsibility of the program, according to Skiles, is in shaping and educating the theatre professionals of tomorrow.
“We’re not a program that says ‘This is what you have to do’ or ‘This is the approach you have to have as an actor,’” Skiles says. “I don’t want ten million actors out there approaching a role the same way I would. These are the theatre practitioners of the future, man, and we want to create proactive, engaging students who will move the theatre forward in ways that we can’t even imagine.”
The Theatre Department won raves for its production of “Women of Lockerbie” last spring and “The Crucible” this past fall. Upcoming productions include “Almost, Maine,” a romantic comedy by Tony Award-winning actor and playwright John Cariani, and “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” currently the longest-running comedy on the London stage. Performances of “Almost, Maine” begin at Sinclair’s Blair Hall Theatre on February 24.
DPO presents Romeo & Juliet Weekend: Ballet Music Meets Dramatic Script
@R_Montague: J-Babe! Can’t tweet/climb vines @ same time. ˄ in a sec!
The preceding conversation is part of the famous Balcony Scene from William Shakespeare’s tragic play Romeo and Juliet…in 2011-speak. Compared to the original, it lacks something, doesn’t it? Actually, it lacks a lot. In only 400-some years it has eroded to the former from this:
O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
With love’s light wings did I o’er-perch these walls; For stony limits cannot hold love out.
Granted, taken out of context, the dialog seems stilted, archaic. But put it in its proper place in this story of extreme hatred offset by complete unselfishness, and you have the most ageless of love stories.
Barely in their teens, Romeo and Juliet see one another at a masked ball and fall completely and helplessly in love before they even know each other’s names. Then they learn they are cursed by their very birth: their families hate each other with a stab-on-sight mindset. What follows is their attempt to break through their parents’ hatred and to hope, no matter how naively, that their love for one another might be the cause of their families’ reconciliation.
Written sometime between 1591 and 1595, it is conceivable that the play could have taken Shakespeare as long as five years to complete. That’s a huge chunk of one’s life to devote to a project. But the tale is so compelling that not only have theaters around the world performed it again and again, but it also has found its way into other genres.
In 1968, Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli made an intensely and beautifully told film version extremely faithful to the original play (Romeo and Juliet). In 1957, West Side Story, with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, opened on Broadway. A film version followed in 1961. Bernstein’s version is set in the 1950s in a Manhattan ghetto. The rival “families” were two gangs, the Jets and the Sharks; Maria (Juliet) belonged to the Sharks, and Tony (Romeo) was a Jet.
In 1996, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, hit movie theaters across the U.S. with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the title roles. The film was an updated and shortened reconstruction of Shakespeare’s play that retained the original Shakespearean dialogue. But then, the movie featured a novel twist: it was set in modern day. The Montagues and the Capulets were more like crime families, each owning big-dollar businesses at war and using guns instead of swords (the guns manufactured by Sword and Dagger rather than Glock or Smith & Wesson). The movie used some characters’ first, rather than last, names. And they all lived in the L.A.-esque city of Verona Beach.
In the 1930s, Romeo and Juliet was reborn in another media – ballet. Think ballet and ballet music, and the name Tchaikovsky usually comes to mind in connection with Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker. But in the 1930s another Russian composer, Sergei Prokofiev, wrote the musical score for the ballet Romeo and Juliet. Today, the score is generally recognized as a masterpiece. The ballet has four acts and ten scenes, and among its beautifully constructed musical score the love theme of Romeo and Juliet is at once the very soul of tenderness, longing, fervor, and refinement.
On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, October 13, 14, and 15, at 8pm in the Schuster Center Neal Gittleman and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra will bring both William Shakespeare’s and Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet to life again. Actor Bruce Comer brings over thirty years’ experience to the task of injecting the narrated script of Shakespeare’s original play into Prokofiev’s music.
In structuring the words with the music, Cromer – Professor and Head of Acting for the Professional Actor Training Program at Wright State University and a Resident Artist with the Human Race Theatre – faced a daunting challenge.
“Using the Prokofiev score, Neal and I worked together to find which parts of the text worked best with the music,” Cromer states. “Knowing the script as I do, I could hear beautiful ‘underscoring’ moments for some of the scenes and speeches. Neal was able to brilliantly assemble the pieces of the puzzle with his conducting – leaving pauses, sustaining notes, cueing me, etc. The narration that I’ve added here and there is meant to fill in the gaps of the missing Shakespeare.”
And the challenges don’t end there. “Though I love transforming into characters, and have done a few one-person shows, it’s difficult to see myself as Juliet – a beautiful, fourteen-year-old girl, in the passion of her first (and tragically last) love. But that music can drag any sensitive actor fully into the story – it plunges you into the savage duels, the madness of Mercutio, the torchlit dance where Romeo is first entranced by Juliet.”
“Romeo And Juliet is perhaps the touchstone of True Love for western civilization; Prokofiev’s score captures the sweeping passion of love-at-first-sight, that breathless combination of sexual attraction and spiritual union, the feeling of ‘I know you – I’ve always known you, I cannot breathe without you!!!,’” Cromer notes. “Nothing’s more moving to Romantics than the notion that one cannot live without the beloved. Nothing’s more powerful than that first moment when you connected with another human being, when you first said, ‘I love you’ – and knew it was The Truth.”
Ain’t it, though?
This artistic tour-de-force finds Bruce Cromer, from Human Race Theatre Company, enacting roles and providing narration to Prokofiev’s suite based on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet! Working in close collaboration, Neal and Bruce have created an excing new combination of Shakespeare’s immortal words and Prokofiev’s immortal music.
Thursday, October 13 & Saturday, October 15 ~ 2011
Schuster Center, 8 pm
Take Note Talk, Mead Theatre, 7pm
With the thermometer quickly dipping, and cool breezes winding their way throughout the Miami Valley, we come upon another autumn here in Dayton. And as the leaves start to change, the Shakespeare in South Park Company gears up for its fourth season of outdoor theater with a presentation of The Merry Wives of Windsor on September 16th through the 18th. This whimsical play is a return to comedy after last year’s excellent production of Romeo and Juliet flexed many of the player’s dramatic muscles. However it is unique in its own right among Shakespeare’s more lighthearted affairs, offering a far less formal structure than what most might expect out of an evening with the Bard of Avon.
A perhaps less known work, The Merry Wives of Windsor is a play written about the common people and for the common people. Of Shakespeare’s work, it is the only one that includes only middle and lower class individuals, with no king or queen, lord or lady taking up stage time, and the only play he ever wrote almost entirely in prose (or, in common language, as it were) instead of in poetic rhythms. Plus, as producer Galen Wilson is glib to point out, it’s a Shakespeare comedy that is actually funny. Though some may turn their noses up to this play as perhaps less sophisticated than Shakespeare’s more epic dramas, it has kept the masses rolling in the isles for well over 400 years, and promises to do so again this upcoming weekend in South Park.
The Merry Wives of Windsor is a story about a fat, middle aged, lecherous, dishonest, and boisterous knight named Sir John Falstaff, (rumored to be one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite characters) who comes to town hard pressed for money. He devises a plan to serenade two local wives and then leech off of their husband’s money by writing them each a lover letter and confessing his desire for them. Realizing the knight has sent them both identical letters, the wives decide they will teach him a lesson for thinking they would so easily fall for his ploy. Through a series of increasingly embarrassing and entertaining situations, Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford exact their revenge on Falstaff for his lack of discretion, convincing him they are both madly in love with him before each situation inevitably goes “awry” for Falstaff, and he must flee, beaten, battered, and soaking wet.
Playing around the events of the gregarious knight, are two middle class families from Windsor; the Pages the Fords, and their friends. The Page’s daughter Anne is to be wed, but each parent has a different idea of who would best be her suitor. Her father prefers the bumbling but wealthy Abraham Slender, while her mother prefers the eccentric French physician Dr. Caius. However she loves neither of them, and searches for a way to be with the man that holds her heart. Mr. Ford is a jealous husband and suspects Falstaff of his intentions to woo his wife, and plots to catch him in the act. Sir Hugh, and old priest, is mistaken by Dr. Caius as a suitor for Anne, and he challenges the old man to a duel for it. Each situation comically plays itself off of one another, with suspicions, misunderstandings, double entendres, and a wide cast of different personalities until the very last scene.
First year director Susan Robert has decided to set the play in the style of a 50s sitcom. Her inspiration came after she had read through the script a few times and suddenly realized how much Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford reminded her of Lucy and Ethel from I Love Lucy. She said the more she read it, and the more she thought of the story, and forgot about Shakespeare; the more she realized that it was a farce, a sitcom, and the type of thing you would watch on Friday night. “I wanted to make it silly,” she said, “I decided that I wanted to direct this, not for those that love and are in the ‘know’ of Shakespeare, but for those that really don’t care about Shakespeare, and hated reading it in English class. There are so many places to see serious dramatic performances of Shakespeare, but I want this to be a play for all audiences to enjoy.”
Robert, who has a robust background in theater, has directed at local schools for the last 14 years; first at Dayton Christian Middle School and then Brookeville High School. This is her first foray into directing for a local amateur company, but being familiar with the South Park troupe, (She played Lady Capulet in last year’s Romeo and Juliet) she thought it a great opportunity. “Everyone was just so nice to work with,” she said. “When I was approached about directing this year, they hadn’t yet picked a show, and I really had never directed Shakespeare before. But if there was any place to direct it for the first time, I knew this would be the place to do it. I knew how easy going it was [from last year].”
Her vision for Merry Wives covers all facets of suburban America during the 50s, and doesn’t miss a beat using “modernized” settings, props, and aesthetic to pull the audience into post-war America. From white picket fences and pulp comic books, to dashing fedoras, greasers, and rumors of UFO sightings, the audience will find themselves immediately familiar with the Pages and the Fords and the whimsical situations they get into.
The cast, like most years before it, is made up of roughly half South Park residents and half local thespians from around the Dayton area. Galen says he has tried to encourage as many residents as possible to be a part of the performance and make it a neighborhood activity. “This is a truly unique experience,” he commented, “it is good to bring people to South Park each year to see a neighborhood involved in a truly artistic expression.” However he enjoys the opportunity to work with other experienced actors, and welcomes anyone who wants to give their time to participate. After all, if Susan Robert had not auditioned last year, she probably would not be directing this year. Several residents from South Park are staring this year, including Galen Wilson as Mr. Page, Matt Fuqua as Dr. Caius, Jarrett Dicky as host of the Garter Inn, and John Fredland as one of Falstaff’s lackys, along with many others. Amazing talent from around the area also include J Gary Thompson as Sir Hugh, Jene and Judy Shaw as Mrs. Ford and Mistress Quickly, and Brendan Higgins as Bardolph.
Sir John Falstaff is being played by Mark Reuter, who has been acting since about the age of 10, when he would do passion plays for his church. Confessing himself to be painfully shy as a child, he recalls his first real venture into acting beyond the church was after his family moved to Washington Courthouse. “I still was not very comfortable, but the school was doing a musical and I decided to audition. Somehow I got the role of Captain Andy in Show Boat. It was kinda cool, I met a lot of people and they seemed to like what I did, and liked me for who I was.” This, at the age of 16, was when he first started to really open up, and continued several more performances throughout high school, all through college, and even during his time at West Point, and his military career. I asked him if he enjoyed playing Falstaff, and he laughed, “I love Falstaff,” he mused, “because he is so open about his dishonesty. It seems like a contradiction in terms, but he is just so open about the fact that he is a rogue and makes no bones about it. It’s fun to play a character that is… not necessarily good. He isn’t irredeemably evil, he does have a good side to him. He is a likable character, even if what he does is not very nice.”
For South Park, this not only is becoming a September experience, but a September tradition. As a neighborhood looking forward, with many hopeful opportunities on the horizon, the one thing most all residents agree upon, is how amazing the community itself is. It is the strong social bonds, the neighbor watching out for you, the friendly conversations when walking your dog, a story and a pint of beer at the local tavern, and the dozen or so of annual events that keep everyone connected, as well as introduce others to what South Park has to offer. Shakespeare in South Park has become not only a place for neighbors to bond and have fun, but also a way for them to give something cultural back to their neighborhood as well as to the Dayton community, by sharing a part of what they love about living there. Susan Robert admitted that while growing up she used to hate Shakespeare. It was not until she saw a performance by Ian McKellen (Gandalf, for those who may not know) in the 1980s that she grew fond of his plays. “It was good Shakespeare, and I understood what was going on for the first time, because he understood what was going on, and it was a huge change for me.” She smiled as she regaled about the performance, “That is the feeling I want to give to people who come see this show. I want them to have new perspective on Shakespeare, and leave, if only this one show, loving every minute of it.”
The Shakespeare in South Park Company will be performing September 16th through the 18th at the South Park Green at the corner of Hickory and James. Performances will start at 8:00pm, and admission is free. (but donations gladly welcomed.) Bring a blanket or lawn chair, and if weather is not permitting, performances will be held across the street at Hope Lutheran Church. For more information, visit www.historicsouthpark.org.
A Midsummer Nights Dream
In many communities around the world, a treasured summer activity is outdoor performances and festivals devoted to classic Shakespeare plays (Shakespeare Fellowship List). Two of the most well-known in Ohio are Cincinnati Shakespeare Co. which tours two shows in fourteen different parks and Actor’s Theatre which is celebrating it’s 30th season presenting shows in Schiller Park in Columbus’ German Village. Suddenly in the past few years there is much interest in this terrific tradition right here in the Miami Valley, ranging from a small neighborhood troupe near downtown (Historic South Park – currently rehearsing for their 4th presentation) and the touring company known as Free Shakespeare! the brainchild of director Chris Shea.
Shea, a graduate of Kettering-Fairmont High School, spent time studying acting in the Pacific Northwest. Inspired by the GreenStage Theatre Company’s offering of free outdoor Shakespeare, he decided to bring the concept to the Miami Valley in 2010 in the form of Free Shakespeare! The troupe is described as a traveling community of artists with the goal of creating an event where people can rediscover the power and beauty of language and art. Shea wanted to take the performances to multiple venues throughout the region over a series of summer weekends – and free to audiences.
Shea launched his vision for a theatre company in 2010 with Hamlet, which was received enthusiastically during it’s tour of four venues in Dayton and Yellow Springs. 2011 brings a new production, this time the ever-popular A Midsummer Night’s Dream. After opening last weekend at Antioch Amphitheatre in Yellow Springs, Shea and his team of 14 actors will continue to bring the bard’s best-loved comedy to Dayton stages over the next several weekends. They can be seen at the Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark (July 29-31), Newcom Founders Park in the Oregon District (August 5-7), The University of Dayton’s ArtStreet (August 12-14). All performances are outdoors and weather permitting and begin at 7PM. Admission is free with donations accepted after the performance to pay the actors.
The cast of A Midsummer Nights Dream includes Allison Husko (Titania), Chris Shea (Oberon), Will Hutcheson (Demetrius), Travis Cook (Lysander), Amy Brooks (Hermia), Megan Cooler (Helena), Kes-lina Luoma (Puck), Jason Antonick (Theseus), Lauren S. Deaton (Hippolyta), Zach Schute (Nick Bottom), Juliet Howard-Welch (Peter Quince & Peaselblossom), David Harewood (Francis Flute & Cobweb), Philip Titlebaum (Snug & Mustardseed), and, after a 48 year absence from the stage, Bill Styles as Egeus.
The group has recently partnered with Involvement Advocacy, an umbrella organization which fosters community initiatives. Involvement Advocacy’s partnerships include, among others, the Blue Sky Project and the Dayton Arts Project. Involvement Advocacy will act as Free Shakespeare’s! fiscal agent, allowing supporters of Free Shakespeare! to make tax deductible donations to the theatre company.
On the partnership, Free Shakespeare! founder Chris Shea had this to say, “We are very grateful to Peter Benkendorf and the folks at Involvement Advocacy for their tremendous support of our organization. This partnership is the perfect bridge for us as we make arrangements to form our own non profit corporation.”
“Our purposes shall be proud, our garments poor; For ’tis the mind that makes the body rich” The Taming of the Shrew, Act IV, sc. iii
-SA, Free Shakespeare! Press Release & website.
-Photos by Alisha McDarris (copyright 2010) – submitted by Free Shakespeare!
Tickets & Performance Information:
Weekends through August 14, 2011
Tickets Prices: FREE (donations accepted after the show to pay actors)
Locations: Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark (July 29-31), Newcom Founders Park in the Oregon District (August 5-7), The University of Dayton’s ArtStreet (August 12-14)
For more information about Free Shakespeare! visit http://freeshakespeare.com/
The Human Race Theatre Co.
What is love? ’tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What’s to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies no plenty;
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
Youth’s a stuff will not endure.
Seize the day. Enjoy the moment. Youth won’t last. Carpe Diem.
Aaron Vega has a vision. Take the bard’s classic comedy, Twelfth Night (orginally set in ancient Illyria) and plop it into an American / Jazz Age / F. Scott Fitzgeraldean setting. Cool.
You gotta be creative and have some guts to do something like that, no? Well Vega is and does! At 28, Aaron Vega (recognizable to most WSU & Loft Theatre audiences from his appearances on-stage) now holds the record as the youngest director of a production in The Human Race Theatre Company’s history.
The show, one of Shakespeare’s classic comedies, was written in 1601. It earns it’s name from the 12th night after Christmas Day, referred to as the Eve of the Feast of the Epiphany in the Catholic faith. In Shakespeare’s time, however, this 12th night had become quite the uproarious occasion, and the Bard felt compelled to contribute an evening’s entertainment to the frivolity. What better contribution to the revelry than a plot featuring shipwrecks, misguided romance, mistaken identity, merry pranksters, and, (of course) cross-dressing.
“if music be the food of love, play on.”
Don’t expect to hear lutes or panpipes accompanying this production, instead a wide range of music from the 1920’s, from Gershwin to Fats Waller. Additional music has been composed by WSU grad Christian Duhamel, who also appears on stage as Feste, the clown.
onStageDayton questioned Vega about his unique vision for the production & his first experience directing in the Loft.
onStageDayton: What was your goal in setting this production in 1920’s Jazz-Age America instead of the original Ancient Illyria?
Aaron Vega: Playing it in the ‘20s will help tell the story to a modern audience. The poetry of Shakespeare can be a hurdle for some audience members who aren’t used to it, so placing the story into a time-period that we all have at least a vague visual knowledge that helps people relax and enjoy the beautiful story. That being said, most people that have never seen or heard Shakespeare except in a high school English class, will find themselves pleasantly suprised at how much they will understand the poetry of the language.
OSD: By moving the plot into a more modern setting, what kinds of problems did this present to you and your actors? What creative freedom did it provide?
AV: The question I asked was, “does this help or hinder the story?” We’ve all heard about Shakespeare shows that have been placed in settings that don’t make any sense. HAMLET set in space springs to mind as an example. It was a fairly logical step to set it in the ’20’s because of all the rich history in this country at the time. Women’s suffrage, prohabition, jazz, etc. I knew we were onto something when the actors started coming to me with ideas about their characters based on the period AND supported by the text. It helped us go further and deeper with a play that can sometimes be played just for laughs.
OSD: Do you think that your choice to change the time and place of Twelfth Night might make the show more appealing to an audience that might normally not choose to attend a Shakespearian production?
AV: Yes. Yes. Yes. But again, give the play 8 minutes and then you’ll really be shocked at how much ANYONE can enjoy the language. The story is so accessible and there are so many characters, that everyone watching will be able to connect to at least one of the characters on stage. The actors and I have worked very hard to make sure that the play remains human. All of the relationships, character’s intentions or plots-even clowning-say human. It’s really been quite lovely to watch. The setting only amplifies that. It’s easier for me, as an audience member, to feel connected to a character if they’re dressed at least a bit like me. The second you put someone in poofy pants, and poofy shirts, even I get turned off.
OSD: This is your first directing gig with The Human Race and you are the youngest director in the history of the company–What has this experience been like for you? Following in the footsteps of great local directors such as Kevin Moore, Scott Stoney and Marsha Hanna, did you ever find yourself questioning your creative decisions throughout the process?
AV: It’s been a joy and an honor. I’ve questioned a few decisions early on but I had Marsha Hanna and Kevin asking the tough questions and making sure that I was as specific as I needed to be. They’ve been incredibly gracious and supportive. The other side of the story is that there is a larger staff at The Human Race Theatre Company, in their office and scene shop (where they build all of their beautiful sets), who have also been tremendously supportive. It’s nice to know that there are theatre companies in this country who are still dedicated to local audiences and telling a beautiful stories on the stage. My wife and I live in New York City and the amount of work has been getting smaller and smaller due to the economy and theaters closing their doors. The fact that a professional theatre company with such a good national reputation is still willing to produce the classics AND call Dayton, Ohio it’s home is truly inspiring. That is all because of people like the staff at the Human Race and specifically their leadership in Kevin Moore and the late Marsha Hanna.
OSD: Now that the show is about to open, what excites (or terrifies) you most about preparing for audiences to see this new version of classic Shakespeare?
AV: The actor’s dedication to the humanity of the characters is what keeps inspiring me. My dream is that people in the Miami Valley will choose live theatre as an entertainment option in a world that is becoming increasingly more disconnected. The Human Race Theatre Company at The Loft Theatre is Dayton’s opportunity to directly engage in their community and have a collective experience with other people from the area. It’s also fairly inexpensive and a wonderful way to enjoy their day. They’ll remember the play for the rest of their lives. Can any of us say that about the last TV show we watched?
Twelfth Night is the fourth production of the 2010-2011 Eichelberger Loft Season of The Human Race. It will be the first Human Race production in more than 20 years without Artistic Director Marsha Hanna, who died January 3 of complications from esophageal cancer.
The cast of Twelfth Night is a result of local and national auditioning, including many members with local ties. It includes two Human Race Resident Artists, Tim Lile as Sir Toby Belch and Scott Stoney as Malvolio. Vega’s wife, Claire Kennedy (Lend Me a Tenor, A Christmas Carol), plays Viola, whose disguise as a man sets off the play’s events. Another WSU alum, Sara Mackie (Green Gables) plays Olivia.
Yellow Springs native Kevin Malarkey, a UC College-Conservatory of Music senior, is Valentine. Matthew Moore of Cedarville plays the Captain and Antonio. David Dortch, a veteran of Blue Jacket, plays Orsino.
Jennifer Johansen of Indianapolis (A Christmas Carol, Romeo and Juliet) is Maria. Josh Stamoolis, longtime Cincinnati Shakespeare resident performer, is Sir Andrew Aguecheek. And Justin Flagg, from the Royal Scottish Academy via New York, is Sebastian.
Behind the scenes, Dick Block designed the set, Lowell A. Mathwich the costumes, Rich Dionne the sound, Resident Artist John Rensel the lighting. Heather Jackson is the production stage manager, Scott Kimmins the Technical Director, with Heather Powell on props, Andrew Ian Adams on wardrobe and Nathan Dean on sound.
Photos by Scott J. Kimmins
-SA/Human Race Theatre Co. Press ReleaseWe encourage local theatre companies to submit calendar items HERE, and official press releases to [email protected]
Tickets & Performance Information:
TWELFTH NIGHT (January 28 – February 13 at The Loft Theatre, various performance times).
More information and tickets are available through www.humanracetheatre.org, by calling Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or toll free (888) 228-3630. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Schuster Center box office, or at the box office at The Loft two hours before curtain.
SHAKESPEARE IN HISTORIC SOUTH PARK
A few years ago I met up with my family in Columbus to attend a Shakespeare in the Park production in German Village. While not a huge fan of “The Bard,” I still completely enjoyed the experience. The acting was terrrific, it was a perfect atmosphere-a great sense of community and idyllic summer evening under the stars with my family watching the Tempest. Fast forward a couple of years and the neighborhood in which I now reside in Dayton has the same great tradition.
This weekend marks the third outdoor Shakespeare production in the Historic South Park neighborhood in as many years. The passionate and dedicated troupe of actors and other volunteers have previously produced A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM (2009) and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (2008). The 2010 Shakespeare in South Park Company will tackle it’s first tragedy in what will surely be a unique setting for the classic ROMEO & JULIET. As in past productions, a significant number of cast and crew are Historic South Park neighborhood residents.
From the Official Press Release:
Director Daniel Wilson has set the famous story of star-crossed lovers shortly after the conclusion of the Civil War and placed it near the border state region in a spot historically similar to Montgomery County, Ohio. As students of history know, it was a time when sympathies still ran hot. The Montagues (Romeo’s family) are depicted as Union soldiers and officers; Juliet’s Capulets as Confederates.The director explains his choice for the play’s setting: “The Civil War’s causes are complex, but…those involved came to believe the only way to resolve their differences was through violence. Romeo and Juliet is a play about…non-violence. Friar Laurence (“Mother Laurence” in this production, played by Judi Earley), the only character respected by [both the Montaguesand Capulets], consistently preaches the need for balance and peace.”By setting the play 150 years ago in America, Wilson finds renewed relevance in a 400-year-old play written in England and set in Italy. The divisive politics of today have left people unwilling to compromise. Shakespeare’s play reminds us that if we are unwilling to find peaceful solutions to our differences, our children will pay the price.
The venue for Romeo & Juliet will once again be the South Park Green, an intimate park located on Hickory Street. The troupe reports that they will be utilizing a historic two-story carriage house in the bordering property as a backdrop. This setting also provides a terrific opportunity for the famous “Balcony Scene,” utilizing a second story window and the foliage below.
Show times are 8:00 PM Friday through Sunday, September 17-19 at South Park Green on Hickory Street in the Historic South Park neighborhood.
Shakespeare in South Park productions are free to the public, while contributions are gratefully received and used to defray costs of the show. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket.
The weekend is calling for some gorgeous weather, with just a slight chance of rain on Sunday. If it does rain, don’t worry, the play will be staged at Hope Lutheran Church, 500 Hickory Street.
For more information, visit the Historic South Park website at historicsouthpark.org, or call 937-603-4893.
Win Tickets to Idina Menzel & the Cincinnati Pops!
Encore Theater Company’s MusicalWorld Podcast & DaytonMostMetro.Com’s onStageDayton team up to offer you an exciting opportunity to WIN TICKETS to see
IN CONCERT WITH THE CINCINNATI POPS ORCHESTRA
SEPTEMBER 24-26, 2010
Tony Award winner Idina Menzel has a diverse career on the stage, in films and in music. Menzel recently joined the cast of GLEE, the Fox juggernaut where she plays the coach of rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline, McKinley High Glee Club’s main competition. Last year, Menzel concluded a national tour promoting her album, I Stand. A skillful songwriter, Idina writes and performs her own music. She released the Glen Ballard-produced album for her record label, Warner Bros. Records, and played to sold out houses around the United States. Menzel performed her show in New York as part of the Mastercard Soundstage series, which aired on PBS. PBS also aired the concert version of Chess: The Musical, recorded at the Royal Albert Hall where Idina shared the stage with Josh Groban. In film, Idina appeared opposite Susan Sarandon, Patrick Dempsey and Amy Adams in Disney’s hit, ENCHANTED as well as Chris Columbus’ film version of the Pulitzer and Tony Award winning musical RENT, in which she reprised her role as Maureen. This was on the heels of her co-starring role in Robert Towne’s ASK THE DUST, opposite Salma Hayek and Colin Farrell.
In television, Idina recently completed an arc on the Grey’s Anatomy hit spin-off, PRIVATE PRACTICE on ABC.
Menzel completed her Tony Award winning performance, for Lead Actress in a Musical, in WICKED in December 2005. Helmed by Tony Award-winning director Joe Mantello, WICKED has played to packed audiences at the Gershwin Theatre since it opened in October 2003. Additionally, Menzel was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her role as the misunderstood green girl.
Idina received a Tony nomination for her Broadway debut performance as Maureen, in the original production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning hit RENT. She also earned a Drama Desk nomination for her performance as Kate in Manhattan Theater Club’s Off- Broadway original musical THE WILD PARTY.
…but how do I win the tickets…?
REGISTER TO WIN
1. Become a Facebook fan of Facebook.com/MusicalWorldEncoreTheater
2. Post on our wall why you are “Idina’s Biggest Fan” -OR- post a YouTube video on our wall of yourself singing “Defying Gravity” or another Idina Menzel song (this one counts as two entries in our drawing!).
3. All entries will be entered into a drawing for TWO tickets to see IDINA MENZEL with the Cincinnati Pops September 24-26, 2010. (note: winner will need to make arrangements early next week with the onStageDayton staff for retrieval of the ticket voucher for the Idina Menzel tickets).
HURRY! – DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES IS