Wednesday, April 28, 2010

SSC does *MND* at WU

Translation: the Seattle Shakespeare Company, as reported here earlier,
will perform A Midsummer Night's Dream at Whitworth University's Cowles Auditorium
on Saturday, May 8, at 7 pm. Tickets: $5.

Some comments from director George Mount of the SSC:

"We have been wanting to get our shows to the Spokane area for a few
years. When we developed or regional touring programs, Spokane was always
an area we hoped to book into. However, traveling that far can be costly
and we want to keep our performance fees as low as possible.
"This year, we used money from a grant from the National Endowment for the
Arts as part of their Shakespeare in American Communities initiative. With
their support, a lot of the cost to schools and community theaters (our
primary "customers" for these tours) is greatly reduced. So I arranged with
several high schools in the area to come out and perform. We'll be in your
area for about a week and a half with performances in places like Deer Park,
Ritzville, Colville and Wilbur."

(On May 5 at noon, they'll perform a show for local high school students at Whitworth, then return on May 8 at night for a general-public show.)

"The production has seven actors playing all the parts," says Mount. "Each actor plays at
least two other characters, and most play three. And their third character
is a puppet! I've focused on the fairy tale-like nature of Midsummer and
costumed the cast in a style reminiscent of Victorian-era children's
literature illustrations, like the work of Arthur Rackham. The characters
of Puck and the fairy attendants to Titania are played by near life-sized
puppets manipulated by the actors. It's a highly theatrical approach to the
show, yet also keeps it streamlined and simple for touring. As you guessed,
the show has to fit into the back of an SUV with the actors arriving in a
separate vehicle. And while children's literature was the inspiration, the
show, despite the puppets, isn't really a 'children's' show. It's a great
show for all ages. Younger audiences will like the puppets and the goofy
situations; older audiences will not feel "talked down to" and will still enjoy
all that Shakespeare has to offer.
"Well, not quite all that Shakespeare has to offer — we've reduced the
length of the show to about 90 minutes. But we didn't change the
language — except for a couple of muttered actor ad libs."

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At May 06, 2010 12:39 AM , Anonymous Jean said...

My 8th-grade Drama class was among the groups who saw today's matinee performance. They really enjoyed it; and so did I. Clever concept, wonderful energy, elegant diction - very enjoyable! The actors did a Q & A with the kids afterwards; and they were very gracious, funny and eloquent. Hope these visits will continue.


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