Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The American Shakespeare Center, formerly known as Shenandoah Shakespeare, a national professional touring troupe of Shakespearean actors from Staunton, Va., (where they perform in a re-creation of Shakespeare's indoor theatre, the Blackfriars Playhouse) will visit Fairmont State on January 26-28, 2006, for a series of performances.

The Troupe will be performing three plays: "Richard III," "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Return to the Forbidden Planet." "Return to the Forbidden Planet" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26; "Richard III" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27; and "Much Ado About Nothing" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28. All performances will be in the Wallman Hall Theatre. There will be a talk-back session for the audience after each show during which audience members may interact with the actors. For show tickets, call the Box Office at (304) 367-4240. General admission tickets are $8; tickets for seniors are $6; and tickets for students with Fairmont State ID are $4. Tickets are free for GEAR-UP families. To reserve their free tickets, GEAR-UP families should call (304) 367-0436.

Educational workshops will be available throughout the week of Jan. 23, 2006, some in the evening, some during the week and one on Saturday morning. Admission to all workshops will be free. For times and more specific information on the workshops, call Marian Hollinger at (304) 367-4300.

"Richard III," widely considered the Bard's first box-office smash, chronicles the cataclysmic end of England's greatest power struggle, "The Wars of the Roses," which pitted Richard's "House of York" against their legendary cross-town rivals, the "House of Lancaster." The rascally Richard, Duke of Gloucester, takes the audience into his confidence as he plots one heinous murder after another.

For those in the mood for comedy, Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" is a delightful delectation ranging from rapier-keen wit to broad-as-a-barn farce. Will Beatrice and Benedick succumb to the benevolent machinations of their loyal friends Claudio and Hero and admit their much-denied love for one another, or will the dastardly devices of Don John undo the designs of love?

The final production is a meticulous rendering of Shakespeare's long-lost masterpiece, "Return to the Forbidden Planet," a cunning concoction of morsels from "The Tempest," raucous strains of 16th-century rock 'n' roll and a stunning storyline steeped in the as-yet-little-appreciated conventions of Renaissance underground science fiction.