The man, the myth, the legend: William Shakespeare. You might hate him; you might not understand a word he wrote; you might love Ten Things I Hate About You and consider that your big interaction with him; you might be a purist and cherish every word he ever wrote (cough). No matter what you think about him, there’s no denying that Shakespeare is one of the world’s most (if not the world’s most) renowned poets and playwrights. With that towering reputation in mind, most teachers, actors, and producers present Shakespeare with the grandiose loftiness and painstaking effort that most befits his acclaimed name.

Not so in the production of Thphoto2e Tempest I’m in this semester, opening in less than a week. Forget everything you think you know about Shakespeare.

Headed by Honors senior Angel VanBennekom as a critical part of her thesis, these performances of The Tempest incorporate “original staging,” or putting on the show as close to the manner in which Shakespeare would have done it. As it turns out, this involves a lot more singing, dancing, and interacting with the audience, and a lot less sitting in the dark clapping at all the right moments. One of the unbreakable rules you’re taught as an actor is not to break the fourth wall: not to talk to, or even look out at, the audience; this makes teasing, taunting, flattering, flirting with, singing to, dancing for, and generally bringing the audience right into the performance an exciting challenge.photo5

Amazingly, I do believe we’ll be able to hook these audiences (though you’ll have to come see for yourself to prove me right!). Like I said earlier, forget everything you think you know about Shakespeare. This isn’t your high school literature class, where you dragged yourself through scene after scene, reading alone in your room after school. This production of The Tempest will have you splitting your sides laughing one second, and wanting to cry the next; I’m not exaggerating.

I’ve performed Shakespeare before, but never like this, and my character, Ariel, is one of the most musical and audience-interactive players in The Tempest. I sing in almost every scene, and direct most of my lines out to the audience even when I’m talking to someone on stage. When I’m not technically in the scene, I’ll be out with our hilariously unsuspecting theatre-goers and attempting to get them to interact with us, the stage actors, in any way I can. I haven’t had a live audience with which to practice just yet, but Sunday, March 23rd (opening night!) is coming up quickly.

photo4So. One more time. Forget everything you think you know about Shakespeare.

And come find out what the Bard’s really about.




Sunday, March 23rd at 3:30 p.m. in the Trabant Food Court.

Sunday, March 23rd at 6:30 p. m. in the Trabant Food Court.

Monday, March 24th at 8:00 p.m. in the Scrounge in the Perkins Student Center.

Tuesday, March 25th at 3:30 p.m. in Smith Hall, Room 120. *Special performance for professors, classes, thesis students, and honors students (hint hint!).

Tuesday, March 25th at 6:00 p.m. in Pencader Dining Hall.

Wednesday, March 26th at 8:00 p.m. in Gore Recital Hall, Roselle Center of Fine Arts.

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