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Catawba College presents double dose of Shakespeare

In Catawba College’s Theatre Arts Department, they’re billing it as “the Shakespeare Project,” but elsewhere on campus and in the community, Shakespeare fans are referring to it as a special chance to see two very different plays by the Bard of Avon in the same week.

Performances of “As You Like It” and “Macbeth” will be offered in two separate performance venues on campus beginning February 6 by two very different troupes.

‘As You Like It’

One of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies and considered by many as one of his greatest, “As You Like It” will be performed by an all-female cast. It will be presented in a contemporary adaptation using multimedia technology in Hedrick Theatre of the Robertson College-Community Center.

“As You Like It” has a plot filled with hilarious twists and turns as young lovers come together amidst social turmoil in the wilds of the forest of Arden. Will they be able to come to understand enough about their amours and themselves to find genuine love? Or will they be trapped by preconceptions and habits?

The play is directed by Catawba College Theatre Arts Department Chair, Dr. Woody Hood.

“Though perhaps lesser known in our time than ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ or ‘Twelfth Night,’ ‘As You Like It’ to me is Shakespeare’s most endearing comedy,” Hood says. “Full of warmth and romance and a little laughter, this 120-minute adaptation of the play is just what the soul needs in the middle of winter.”

Cast members in the production include sophomore Claire Alston of Kernersville as Hymen; freshman Amanda Lederer of Bradenton, Fla., as Dennis; sophomore Emilie Kuhar of Gaithersburg, Md., as Amiens; sophomore Sara Johnson of Matthews as Corin; senior Caitlin Heinen of Wauwatosa, Wis., as Rosalind; senior Tiffany Hogan of High Point as Adam; freshman Yolanda McClure of Eden as Lord; sophomore Meghan McLaughlin of Owings Mills, Md., as Jacques; freshman Amber Hughes of Seattle, Wash., as Silvius; junior Sarah Koerner of Rocky Mount as Le Beau; senior Amy Guenther of Asheville as Duke Senior; senior Jessica Dugger of Gainesville, Fla., as Charles and Audry; senior Maggie Phillippi of Boynton Beach, Fla., as Lord; junior Brianna Smith of Austin, Texas, as Touchstone; junior Laura Klayman of Cloudcroft, N.M., as Sir Oliver Martext; junior Guerin Piercy of Swannanoa as Celia; sophomore Nicole Durant of Fairview as Phebe; freshman Anna Aileen See of Frederick, Md., as Lord; sophomore Jennifer Short of Jersey City, N.J., Orlando; senior Jessica Moretti of Charlotte as Jacques de Boys; senior Elizabeth Ballard of Culpeper, Va., as Oliver; and senior Elizabeth Simpson of Loveland, Ohio, as Duke Frederick.

Crew members include junior Jordan Danz of Mequon, Wis., co-director; junior Jared Kenish of Glassboro, N.J., stage manager; sophomore Michael Matthias of Georgetown, Del., assistant stage manager; senior Meredith Fox of Elon, choreographer; sophomore Claire Alston, dramaturge; and freshman Amanda Lederer, prop master.

Performances of “As You Like It” are scheduled in Hedrick Theatre at 6:55 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, February 6 and 7; at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, February 8, 9 and 10; and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 10. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students.

‘Macbeth’

Catawba College’ s production of “Macbeth,” Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy, will employ many of the staging conventions of Shakespeare’s age as an alternative to the high-tech authoritarianism which dominates both theatre and politics in contemporary America. Rather than relying on elaborate sets augmented by lighting and electronic sound, it will depend entirely on the skill of the actors, the imagination of the audience, and the power of the play’s language. Its all-male cast will also provide patrons with the original gender dynamics of Shakespeare’s plays.

In “Macbeth,” an evil ruler seizes power illegally and maintains it by spying on his own citizens and wrongly accusing his political opponents of treason. It is a classic tale of a lust for power.

Traditionally, the staging of “Macbeth” has been the subject of much theatrical superstition. It is said that a band of witches cursed the play after hearing about the role of witches in the tragedy. It is considered bad luck to say the word “Macbeth” in a theatre; when talking about the play, it is referred to as “The Scottish Play” or “The Scottish King.” If the word “Macbeth” is uttered, it is believed that serious accidents will occur.

Cast members include senior Michael Lasris of Seaford, Va., as the first witch and the Porter; junior Justin Dionne of Salisbury as Macduff; senior Jordan Richards of Hendersonville as Banquo; senior Taylor Edwards of Hickory as Lady Macbeth; freshman Josh Hodgson of High Point as Fleance and three apparitions; senior Jared Wietbrock of Grayson, Ga., as Seyton; junior Justin Johnson of Fuquay-Varina as Ross and apparition king; senior Catori Swann of Hickory as Macbeth; sophomore Aaron Ganas of Milwaukee, Wis., as Donalbain, Young Siward, a leper, and the apparition king; senior Joe Catillo of San Antonio, Texas, as Lennox and a leper; Johnathan Menius of Kannapolis as Angus, a leper and apparition king; sophomore Justin Lewis of Knoxville, Tenn., as Malcolm; Guiseppe Ritorto of Greensboro as the second murderer, the English doctor and apparition king; senior Nik Kear of Gatlinburg, Tenn., as Lady Macduff, the gentlewoman, and the second witch; junior Sonny Kong of Charlotte as the third witch and Young Macduff; senior David Loehr of Charlotte as Duncan, the Scottish doctor, apparition king, and a leper; and sophomore Paul Saylor of Isle of Palms, S.C., as the first murderer and the old man. Dr. Sheila Brownlow, a Professor of Psychology at Catawba, also makes an appearance as the Good Queen.

Directed by Catawba College Adjunct Theatre Arts faculty and professional Shakespearean actor Joe Falocco, other crew members include senior Joe Castillo, master carpenter and props assistant; and senior Lauren Connolly of Moon Township, Pa., stage manager.

Performances of “Macbeth” will be offered in the Florence Busby Corriher Experimental Theatre at 6:55 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 6 and 7; at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 8; at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, February 9 and 10; and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 11. Due to graphic violence involved in the play, the production is not appropriate for small children. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students.

For more details on either Shakespearean production, contact the Catawba College Box Office at 704-637-4481. Group rates are available.

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