Posts tagged ‘Shakespeare’

Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night,’ Updated

dsc_0814-maria-viola-fabiana-medWhen I heard that Penn State Centre Stage would be presenting the Shakespeare classic Twelfth Night this season, I pictured a production and costumes that would be—well, Shakespearean.

But it turns out that director Steve Snyder wanted to offer a more contemporary take on the tale. He set it in 1953, and studded it with a few musical numbers from the 1940s and 1950s—songs like “As Time Goes By,” “Unforgettable,” “Beyond the Sea,” and “C’est Si Bon.”

After all, Snyder says, the themes of the 17th century play are still relevant: “We still fall in love with the wrong people,” he writes in the show’s notes. “We still try to disengage from life, or alter how we engage with life, when it gets hard. We still desire to rise or somehow get more. We still have that one relative who is insufferable, but is still family. We still deal with bullies, then sometimes become the bully ourselves. We still have to learn and re-learn the need for forgiveness, kindness and mercy.”

Snyder is an Equity actor and faculty member in Penn State’s School of Theatre, and virtually everyone else involved in the play—from the cast members to the set designer to the costume designer—is either an undergrad or grad student in the school. It’s an impressive ensemble.

Twelfth Night had a preview performance on Monday and and will have another tonight, with the official opening tomorrow night. The show goes dark next week, but resumes Nov. 29. It closes Dec. 3. More information here.

Below are a few photos I took at a dress rehearsal last weekend. Click on them if you’d like to scroll through them individually.

Tina Hay, editor

November 16, 2016 at 3:55 pm Leave a comment

A New Take on Shakespeare’s ‘Labours’


Those who attend the Penn State production of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost at University Park this month will see a play that’s set not  in Shakespeare’s 17th-century England but instead in the United States in 1914.

That was the idea of director Edward Stern, who wanted to give the play a modern touch and make it seem less foreign to theatergoers. Stern also has some of the actors play musical instruments—guitar, harmonica, clarinet, etc.—during the show. The result is a different and intriguing kind of Shakespeare experience, and you can see it at the Pavilion Theatre starting tomorrow night and continuing through Saturday, Feb. 23. (There are two shows on the 23rd: a matinee and the evening performance.)

Stephanie Koons has more about the show in this article from the Centre Daily Times, and below is a gallery of photos I took during a dress rehearsal last weekend. The cast includes a Penn State theatre faculty member and more than a dozen undergraduate and MFA students—and as always, the stage design, lighting, and costuming are terrific.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tina Hay, editor

February 14, 2013 at 5:30 pm Leave a comment

The Story Behind John Rogers: American Stories

Rogers sculpted this scene from The Merchant of Venice.

Early in Chris Castiglia’s gallery talk last Friday at the Palmer Museum of Art, he made clear that he wasn’t a scholar of art. So as far as commenting on the actual art—sculptures by John Rogers, the most popular sculptor of the 19th century—he wasn’t the guy.

But what Castiglia did talk about was just as fascinating. A liberal arts research professor of English, Castiglia rooted Rogers’ work in a specific time and place. Speaking specifically about Rogers’ sculptures of dramatic scenes—from Shakespearean plays and dramatic adaptations of Washington Irving’s novels—he explained that they reflected Americans’ search for a national identity after the Civil War.

One of the display cases in the museum’s exhibit, John Rogers: American Stories, is filled with sculptures depicting scenes from plays such as King Lear and an adaptation of Rip Van Winkle. Even without knowing any of the context behind them, they’re stunning. Rogers sold more than 80,000 sculptures in his career, not just because (more…)

April 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm Leave a comment

Free Shakespeare Outside Our Office

William ShakespeareI’ll say this straight up: I am a huge fan of William Shakespeare.

My senior year of high school, all I wanted for Christmas was a leather-bound edition of his complete works, and Santa came through in fine fashion. My love of Shakespeare even survived an uncomfortable experience in ENGL 444, when I was inexplicably chosen by the professor to come to the podium and explain Twelfth Night to the class. That would have been bad enough even without the extenuating circumstances: I had woken up late and arrived in class unshowered. And wearing glasses left over from fourth grade.

All of this to say how thrilled I am that the School of Theatre is putting on a free performance of Romeo and Juliet — right outside my window! The performance will be on the lawn of the Hintz Family Alumni Center during the week of Homecoming, Oct. 13, 14, and 15. (That’s Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.) Curtain is at 6:30 p.m., so I’ll be able to grab a primo viewing seat immediately upon leaving the office. (And I will, I promise, be clean and wearing my contact lenses.)

If you aren’t as well situated as I am, you can still enjoy the show. The College of Information Sciences and Technology is helping to facilitate a live webcast. And the University Resident Theatre Company will perform a slightly shorter version of the play that can be used in classes, along with a working script and other background information. You can also follow along on their rehearsal website, which has cool practice notes, including this staff favorite from Sept. 8: “Travis asked if we could further discuss the securing of our weapons.”

Here’s hoping that follow-up discussion went well.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

September 28, 2009 at 6:10 pm 7 comments

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