American Shakespeare Center Presents "Restless Ecstasy Tour" March 30-April 1

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Fairmont State University School of Fine Arts and Department of Language and Literature present the American Shakespeare Center’s “Restless Ecstasy Tour” for a week of Elizabethan lyricism, love and oh-so-bitter woe.

The appearance of the American Shakespeare Center tour on the main campus is made possible by the Fairmont State Gear Up program, Fairmont State University, Pierpont Community & Technical College, FSU’s Department of Language and Literature and FSU's School of Fine Arts, as well as the City of Fairmont’s Arts and Humanities Commission. The American Shakespeare Center uses original staging practices and is known for its energetic, physical performances.

Three separate productions will take place — "Measure for Measure," "As You Like It" and "Macbeth"—as well as a bevy of highly instructive workshops.

On Wednesday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m. in Wallman Hall Theatre, the ASC troupe will perform "Macbeth."

From the first words of the play until the title character loses his head, Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy is his most unrelenting examination of the dark side of humanity. Driven to bloody deeds by their lust for power, Macbeth and his Lady tragically struggle to hold on to their sanity, and to each other.

The following night, Thursday, March 31, at 7:30 p.m. in the theatre, the troupe will perform "As You Like It." 

To escape death, the extraordinary Rosalind, her brave cousin Celia, and one of Shakespeare’s funniest fools flee into the woods. There, in the bewitching Forest of Arden, they discover shepherds and aristocrats, country folk and lovers—and, ultimately, life, love, joy and freedom. Shakespeare’s glorious and wise comedy reminds the audience of everything it is to be alive.

Finally, at the same time and place on Friday, April 1, the ASC troupe will perform "Measure for Measure." 

Shakespeare’s electrifying exploration of the arrogance of power hovers tantalizingly between comedy and tragedy. "Measure for Measure" stares unblinkingly into the way people confuse lust and love, goodness and self-righteousness; and it manages an unforgettably ironic look at who sins most in a congregation of murderers, pimps, politicians, whores, nuns and dukes.

Ticket price for each performance is $10 per person. For more information, call the Box Office: (304) 367-4240.

In addition to the public performances, the American Shakespeare Center offers a wide range of specialized workshops for the benefit of students. For more information about the workshops, call (304) 367-4219.

— I. Curing the ShakesFear Series

“{t}his hour upon the stage” —Beginning Verse

ASC actors will take students through the basic steps involved in acting Shakespeare at The American Shakespeare Center. Explore tools of rehearsal such as scansion, understanding the importance of meter, identifying rhetoric, and paraphrasing, all of which help take Shakespeare’s words from the page to the stage. Participants of all experience levels are welcome.

“That’s a Certain Text” —Advanced Verse

Using scenes from Shakespeare’s and his contemporaries’ plays, learn skills in paraphrase, scansion, and working with rhetoric and consider the clues text provides about character and staging. The students will apply these lessons in a final presentation.

“O Excellent Motion” —Directing through Text

Working with ASC actors, participants will explore and learn how to find clues for performance in Shakespeare’s plays. Participants will make artistic choices based on their new knowledge and direct the ASC actors in a scene from our repertory.

— II. Playing the Stage Series

“We Shall Not Scape a Brawl” —Stage Combat

Students consider the text surrounding the fights in Shakespeare’s and his contemporaries’ plays, practice stage combat techniques, and apply the skills in a safe environment.

“Within This Wooden O” —Shakespeare’s Staging Conditions (ASC Style)

This overview workshop considers scenes from seven of Shakespeare’s most popular plays in the context of the early modern stage and demonstrates Shakespeare’s expertise in writing for his playhouses’ conditions. Topics covered include: audience contact, playing darkness and the supernatural, hiding on the early modern stage, and asides.

“Concord of Sweet Sounds” —Music in Shakespeare

Participants in this workshop will explore the song-writing and song placement involved in the production of plays at the American Shakespeare Center. Work with our actors to write a song, pick some songs, and perform a song from plays in our season.

“And Foot It, Girls {and Guys}” —Dance and Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s use of dance in plays such as Much Ado About Nothing and Love’s Labour’s Lost, shows that he possessed an intimacy with the specific requirements of each step and gesture in specific moments in his plays. In this workshop, students learn the dances and place them in the context of the scenes Shakespeare wrote them for.

“We’ll talk of that hereafter…” —Talkback with Actors

If you are not able to attend one of our regularly scheduled Talk Back! sessions, you can book one just for your group. Five minutes after the end of the show, several return to the stage to take your questions. Learn from the actors the secrets of bringing Shakespeare from the page to the stage of the Blackfriars Playhouse.

— III. Restless Ecstasy Show Specific Workshop Series

Law and Order: Scotland —The Trial of Lady Macbeth

Macbeth did not act alone. Or did he? Lady Macbeth urged her husband to kill King Duncan but did she bear any of the responsibility for the deaths of Banquo, and the MacDuff’s? The participants are the jury in this mock trial.

“But soft! but soft! aside:” —"Measure for Measure"

Audience interaction is part of what makes the plays of Shakespeare and the work at the American Shakespeare Center stand out. Through interactive play with text and a close consideration of engaging with audiences, our Measure for Measure workshop will introduce students to the thrilling world of “asides” and playing with (and for) an audience

“How many actions most ridiculous” —"As You Like It"

This American Shakespeare Center workshop focuses on the actions and words most ridiculous in love. Through examination of the text of As You Like It, we explore gender ideals and stereotypes, pastoral and city life, and the foolish and fantastic choices we make when we fall in love.