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UPIKE hosts American Shakespeare Center

January 08, 2018 12:00 AM
Pikeville, Ky.
The Taming of the Shrew and Sense and Sensibility

The University of Pikeville will host the American Shakespeare Center (ASC) Wicked Folly Tour production of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew on Monday, Jan. 22, and Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility on Tuesday, Jan. 23. Both performances will be held at 7 p.m. in Booth Auditorium, located in Record Memorial Building.

The Taming of the Shrew is a hilarious comedy that is much more than a battle of the sexes; it is also a profound look at the necessity of play in life. This production includes Shakespeare’s Induction, which presents Kate and Petruchio as a play within the play. Blending romantic comedy and outlandish farce, Shakespeare gives us a love story of psychological liberation and the mysteries of being married.

“In contemporary parlance, this is a rom-com,” says director Jemma Alix Levy. “Katherine’s fight to establish herself as equal to the men around her comes wrapped in the story of what happens when we fall in love. This is a play about how we change ourselves for others, both by choice and unknowingly. It looks at the ways in which we all perform for each other. Shakespeare uses comedy to make us look closely at how many of the compromises we make - to fit in, to attract others, to get what we want, to find happiness - are worth it, and how many are utterly ridiculous.”

Following the Monday night performance, the audience is invited to stay for a “talk back” to discuss the performance with the cast.

In Sense and Sensibility, the Dashwood women must learn to embrace a new life, for better or for worse, after a father’s death. Sisters Marianne (a hopeless romantic) and Elinor (a stoic realist) experience the pitfalls of society, the generosity of new friends, and the passion of unexpected love in this world-premiere adaptation of Jane Austen’s exquisite early work. By battling through vicious gossip, relative poverty and silly characters (not to mention countless set-ups by the “helpful” Mrs. Jennings), these sisters learn the importance of both sense and sensibility.

“When we decided to put Jane Austen on stage, my excitement was not just in telling a story of another author I love, but in her continued relevance and relatability today, something she shares with William Shakespeare,” says director Stephanie Holladay Earl. “Sense and Sensibility tells a story of people finding their own moral code, striving to fulfill their unique ambitions, and above all, simply figuring out how to be happy. The aftermath of the battle between the head and heart, logic and impulse, and foresight and willful ignorance is something we all know well. We’ve been betrayed. We’ve remained silent when we should have spoken. We’ve fallen helplessly in love. We’ve looked when we should have leaped. Two hundred years later, Ms. Austen encourages us to find happiness and peace in our very own Barton Cottage.”

The ASC brings a unique performance style to the university, blending Shakespeare’s stagecraft with modern sensibility. The company uses Shakespeare’s Staging Conditions: universal lighting, minimal sets, character doubling, cross-gender casting and live music. Shakespeare’s performance company couldn’t turn the lights out on the audience: actors and audience shared the same light. The Wicked Folly Tour shares the light with the audience throughout the performance for a unique brand of audience contact rarely seen in theatre today.

The 2017/18 Wicked Folly Tour is the ASC’s 29th annual tour. Founded as Shenandoah Shakespeare Express in 1988, the ASC grew to international prominence and is now the home of the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre in Staunton, Va. ASC on tour has performed in the 46 U.S. states, one U.S. territory and five other countries. The Wicked Folly Tour features Hilary Caldwell, Josh Clark, Topher Embrey, Ally Farzetta, J.C. Long, Mitchell McCollum, Kyle Powell, Annabelle Rollison, Ronald Roman-Melendez, Calder Shilling and Constance Swain.

The performance is hosted by UPIKE Division of Humanities. Tickets for The Taming of the Shrew and Sense and Sensibility are $5 each for general admission and available at the door. Proceeds will be donated to Turning Point Domestic Violence Services, which serves Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, Martin and Pike counties. The pre-show will begin at 7 p.m. and the performance at 7:30 p.m.

-UPIKE-

 
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