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American Shakespeare Center

- By Emma Gomes, Staff Writer -

Twenty years since their first visit, the American Shakespeare Center (ASC) will be returning to Meredith College Oct. 17 and 18. Formerly known as the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the company spent their first ten years touring the east coast, visiting Meredith for three consecutive years: 1993 to 1995, performing classics including “Antony and Cleopatra,” “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” “Othello,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Tempest,” and “Hamlet.” Professor of English, Dr. Garry Walton, requested  ASC return this year with two different productions: “The Taming of the Shrew” and ‘Sense and Sensibility.” Dr. Walton states that “all English faculty are teaching one of these two works this semester, so we wanted as many students as possible to be interested in these performances”. He adds that ASC has “typically done comedies and tragedies but this year they’ve included a Jane Austen novel, “Sense and Sensibility,” which will appeal to a different crowd than that of only Shakespeare.” Luckily, the productions go hand-in-hand with the English curriculum this semester.

In 2001 The American Shakespeare Center moved into a permanent home called the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia where two companies emerged: one solely on stage and one on tour.  As stated on their website, the goal of the American Shakespeare Center is to “forge a sense of community between performers and audience rarely found in theatre today”. They will transform Jones Auditorium into a space that uses Shakespeare’s original staging conditions. During their performance, the lights will be kept on so the cast can interact with the audience. Doubling, costuming, and music will be a vital part of the production as well.

     “The Taming of the Shrew” will be performed Tuesday night, Oct. 17 and “Sense and Sensibility” on Wednesday night, Oct. 18, both at 7:30 p.m. in Jones Auditorium. Both nights will have a pre-show at 7p.m. and Tuesday’s performance will include a talkback in which audience participation is encouraged.


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