Actors from the American Shakespeare Center (ASC) will perform in Jones Auditorium on the campus of Meredith College, October 17 and 18, as part of their 2017-18 Wicked Folly Tour.
ASC will present Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew on Tuesday, October 17 (with a talkback afterwards), followed by Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility on Wednesday, October 18. Doors open at 7 p.m. each night for live pre-show music, with performances beginning at 7:30 p.m. Members of the Meredith community can attend for free, while admission for the general public is $10 per show.
William Shakespeare’s classic Taming of the Shrew tells of a battle that begins when a gold digger named Petruchio unites himself in marriage to Katherine, a “shrew” who will not bend her will for any man. Shakespeare wages a comedic clash of wit, character, and gender, bringing an unexpected romance out of hilarious chaos.
For Sense and Sensibility, ASC will perform a new adaptation of the Jane Austen novel by Emma Whipday. This story revolves around two sisters: Elinor Dashwood, the sensible older sister, and Marianne Dashwood, her flighty younger sister. When the sisters lose both their social standing and the men they love, their search for identity requires the power of their minds and hearts.
This touring company started in 1988 with Jim Warren and Ralph Alan Cohen as the “Shenandoah Shakespeare Express” (SSE). Throughout the 90s, the SSE troupe came to Meredith on multiple occasions. Over the following decades, the troupe grew in popularity and prestige, opening the Shakespearean indoor theater The Blackfriars Playhouse in 2001, the world’s only replica since Elizabethan times. In 2008, SSE changed its name to ASC, and was granted the Virginia Governor’s Award for the Arts.
English adjunct instructor Jennifer Suchanec toured with SSE in their early days, and is excited for the performances. “Since the beginning until today, Ralph Cohen has determined that everything needed to perform and relate to Shakespeare doesn’t require modern additions,” she said. “People who have never understood Shakespeare will see the company perform and say, ‘I finally understood the words,’ because they realize that the themes and conversations in Shakespeare’s plays still happen in real life today.”
Professor of English Garry Walton is excited for the upcoming performance. “In the past our Meredith students have traveled to Staunton, Va., to enjoy and learn from the productions of this marvelous group of actors. We are delighted that they are coming to us … I hope Jones Auditorium is full.”
These performances will be held as part of Meredith’s English Week, which runs from October 16 through October 20 and includes a lit live event, a major declaration day, an English alumnae panel, and workshops conducted by the ASC actors.
By Abigail Ojeda, ’19