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|Students to Perform Shakespeare Parody
|Knox College theatre students will present "The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (abridged)" -- which compresses all of Shakespeare's plays into a single two-hour comedy -- on a student-built portable stage at 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 14 and 15, and 2 p.m., Sunday, May 16. The performances are free and open to the public on the south lawn of Old Main on the Knox campus in Galesburg. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own seating.
Samantha Newport, a senior theatre major, has spent most of the past the academic year building a "pageant wagon," as they're known in theatre history.
"I started with a six-by-ten-foot base from a grain wagon, donated by a farmer who's a friend of my family -- that saved us several thousand dollars," Newport says. "On top of that base, we built a large box that folds out into seven-by-20-foot performance space."
"Pageant wagons" -- decorated carts that could be hauled about -- originated in the Middle Ages, when they were used both by the church to stage 'mystery plays' that portrayed major events in the Christian calendar, and by theatre troupes that used portability to evade ecclesiastical authorities who were opposed to secular theatre, according to associate professor Craig Choma, who teaches set and lighting design and theatre technology at Knox.
"Sam's project started as a one-term independent study," said Choma, Newport's faculty advisor for the project. "She's devoted an incredible amount of work over the past year to the construction, and now to the rehearsal and performance."
"The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (abridged)" was written and premiered in 1987 by The Reduced Shakespeare Company. Newport's production features student actors John Dryden, Shane Donegan and Keegan Siebken. The parody renders all of Shakespeare's plays through a two-hour-long series of comedy sketches -- from TV shows to sporting events, disposing of "Hamlet" in under a minute.
Newport and Choma are researching traffic regulations that govern hauling the wagon on public streets.
"We can see opportunities for community outreach," Choma said. "There have been site-specific performances before. This is the first time we've had anything like this. It's well built and can withstand the weather."
Newport has done most of the construction herself. Materials were provided by Knox's Richter Memorial Grant program, which supports undergraduate research projects across the curriculum.
|05 08 10 by Newsroom
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