Tag: stage production

Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” comes to Cloak Theatre

The power of words for good and ill are explored in the Lawrence University Theatre Arts Department’s production of one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies.

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Kip Hathaway plays Benedick and Olivia Gregorich portrays Beatrice in Lawrence’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Four performances of “Much Ado About Nothing” will be staged in Cloak Theatre Feb. 18-20 with an 8 p.m. show each night and an additional 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Feb. 20. Tickets, at $15 for adults, $8 for students/seniors, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Written around 1598, within a few years of “As You Like It” and “Twelfth Night,” the play’s most well known story features  Beatrice and Benedick, bantering foes who are tricked into falling in love with each other by their well-meaning friends.

It chronicles the almost fairytale world of reunion, celebration, barbarous wit and mischief when Benedick and his fellow officers return from a successful battle and turn their attentions to pleasanter, more domestic matters. That witty world comes crashing down into a still comic, but gentler and more complex reality, where words cause real pain and communicate real love.

According to director Kristin Hammargren, the production is set in Regency England (1811-1820) in order to provide an appropriate context.

“Regency England is a time period that gives us the class distinctions, structured polite society, appreciation for conversation and even the military element (the Napoleonic Wars) that this play needs,” said Hammargren, a 2008 graduate of Lawrence, now a professional actor and teaching artist who is spending Term II at her alma mater as a visiting instructor of theatre arts.

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Director Kristen Hammergard

In her writing about the production she notes the production she envisioned is just as important for the coherence of the play as it is for the benefit of the student actors.

“Here you see an environment crafted for the imagination and play of young theatre artists,” Hammargren wrote. “History gives us a setting and a mood, Shakespeare gives us the story and poetry and the students give it all life.”

Olivia Gregorich, a junior from Greenwood, plays Beatrice while Kip Hathaway, a junior from Nimrod, Minn., plays Benedick. Senior Aiden Campbell, from Fort Collins, Colo., is cast as Claudio while freshman Ming Montgomery, from Minneapolis, Minn., plays Hero.

After graduating from Lawrence, Hammargren earned a master of fine arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked with several Shakespeare festivals, including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks and Door Shakespeare in Wisconsin. She created an original one-woman show entitled “Discovering Austen,” which she performs regularly throughout the Midwest.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Play “Street Scene” Comes to Stansbury Theatre Feb. 20-22

Four performances of Lawrence University’s production of Elmer Rice’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Street Scene” will be staged Feb. 20-22 in Stansbury Theatre of the Music-Drama Center.

Performances are at 8 p.m. each day with an additional 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Feb. 22. Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors (free to LU faculty staff and students), are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

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Jenny Angeli ’15 (Anna Maurant) and Matt Johnson ’16 (Lippo Fiorentino) rehearse a scene from “Street Scene.”

Set entirely on a front stoop and surrounding street in New York City, the play follows a neighborhood through one 24-hour period in the summer of 1929. At the center of the story is the Maurrant family: Anna Maurrant, a woman struggling with infidelity; her abusive husband, Frank; and their daughter, Rose, and son, Willie. More than 30 other characters make their way into the plot, which addresses themes of despair, love and dreams among the diverse inhabitants of the neighborhood.

Director Kathy Privatt, Lawrence professor of theatre arts, says the play’s setting is critical to its action.

“Elmer Rice is absolutely giving us a slice of neighborhood life in a section of the city he describes as a ‘mean quarter,'” said Privatt. “Think of a melting pot of ethnicities all crammed in an apartment house together before the Crash.”

The close quarters heighten tension in the many complex relationships the play reveals, questioning the verbal conflict to which audiences are often exposed while watching theatre.

“The play is really a snapshot of how we communicate, and how often we don’t, even though we’re talking, talking, talking,” Privatt added.

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Isabel Hemley ’16 portrays Rose Maurant and Jacob Dalton ’17 plays her father, Frank Maurant, in the upcoming production of “Street Scene.”

In a particularly collaborative effort that underscores the symbiotic relationship between the theatre arts department and the conservatory of music, the play will be staged mere weeks prior to Lawrence’s production of Kurt Weill’s opera adaptation of “Street Scene” March 6-8.

“We thrive on collaboration,” said Privatt. “The sum really is greater than the parts and this dual production project lets us collaborate and creatively ‘feed’ each other in fabulous ways.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.