Shakespearience Intern Performance: Friday August 17th! DR. PROSPERO’S SHAKESPEARE SHOW

SHAKESPEARIENCE, (Shakespeare in Delaware Park’s high school intern program) will be holding a performance on Friday August 17, 2012 at 6 pm, prior to Shakespeare in Delaware Park’s main stage performance of A MID SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM which will begin at 7:30pm.

Join us for Dr. Prospero’s Shakespeare Show.  It’s a world of play for Dr. Prospero, especially when a runaway couple unwittingly stumbles upon his Shakespearean retreat. Jon and Julie are in search of a phone; instead, they find the antics of Ariel, the whims of Prospero and the wordplay of Will. One tempestuous night in this enchanted abode and the twosome will never be the same. With a beguiling, and somewhat frightening, cast of characters including Caliban, Constance, Coriolanus, Mercutio, the MacBs, and that shrew Kate, Dr. Prospero’s Shakespeare Show brings out the Bard in everyone.

Shakespearience is truly a collaborative process. Lead teacher (Katie Mallinson) and 7 area students have worked together to write  the script, develop the concept and perfect their Shakespearian characters.  This educational experience promises to be  fun filled and entertaining for the entire audience. 

The Shakespearience Program is open to all area high school students and is designed to provide in-depth theatrical experience with theatre professionals.  Each session runs for five weeks, beginning the week prior to regularly schedule professional Shakespeare in Delaware Park performances. In addition to attending classes, students gain hands-on experience in a professional production as part of SDP technical crew.

All performances are FREE of charge.

Shakespeare in Delaware Park is now in its 37th Season of FREE Shakespeare. A MID SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM runs nightly at 7:30pm until August 19th.    Shows take place on Shakespeare Hill inDelaware Park, next to Hoyt Lake behind the Rose Garden, off Lincoln Parkway near the Albright-Knox ArtGallery. Further information may be obtained at www.shakespeareindelawarepark.org or by calling (716) 856-4533.

New local arts foundation announced

Attorney Neil Garvey, right, appeared in more than 25 Shakespeare in Delaware Park productions including “The Tempest.”

 

Today, family and friends of Neil Garvey, the popular actor, lawyer and theater supporter who died in February, announced the establishment of a new foundation in his name. The Neil E. Garvey Foundation for the Arts, will raise money for local theater companies and other arts organizations and help to spread the word about the work they do.

A statement from today’s press release about the foundation’s launch follows:

“During his life, Neil Garvey fought tirelessly to help the theaters of Buffalo and Western New York, knowing that a strong community depends on a strong cultural component. The Neil E. Garvey Foundation for the Arts intends to continue that mission, to foster local theaters through fundraising initiatives, to build awareness for the many artistic endeavors throughout Western New York, and in turn to make Western New York a better place to live.”

“A Midsummer Night’s Picnic,” the first fundraising event to be held under the auspices of the new foundation, is slated for 5 p.m. July 26 in Delaware Park’s Marcy Casino. Visitwww.neilegarveyfoundation.com or call 856-4533 for more information.

–Colin Dabkowski

SHAKESPEARE IN DELAWARE PARKS announces upcoming Special Events

Shakespeare In Delaware Parks (SDP) RICHARD III hit the stage last Thursday to a packed hill.  Be a part of the excitement this summer as we celebrate 37 years of FREE theatre in Buffalo’s own, beautiful Olmsted Park.  RICHARD III will run Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30 until July 14th.  Then the ever popular A MID SUMMER NIGHTS DREAM will begin on Thursday July 26th and run until August 19th.

SDP is also proud to announce many special events happening at the park this season…..

* Join Artistic Director Saul Elkin, along with special guests from this season’s productions for MONDAY IN THE PARK WITH SAUL.  These informal conversations about our current plays, past productions and the future of SDP, will take place on our “off” nights –Monday July 2nd, and Monday August 6th from 7:00-8:00 PM. Bring a chair and join us on-stage.

* On Special Tuesdays local musical groups including The Freudig Singers, The Royall Consort and City Honors String Orchestra will perform pre-show music on the SDP stage at 7pm.

* The SPCA and the Whiska Wag’n will join us at the hill July 15th and August 12th.

*SHAKESPERIENCE interns will perform their special preshow production on Friday July 13th and Friday August 17th at 6pm on the main stage.

 

Follow us on facebook for information on many more upcoming events!

 

SDP performances are held every evening (except Mondays) at 7:30 p.m.  Shows take place on Shakespeare Hill in Delaware Park, next to Hoyt Lake behind the Rose Garden, off Lincoln Parkwaynear the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Further information may be obtained atwww.shakespeareindelawarepark.org or by calling (716) 856-4533. Or like us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/shakespeareindelawarepark.

 

2012 Season Sponsors Provide Generous Support

M&T Bank, Erie County, NYSCA, WGRZ Channel 2, The Buffalo News, Brodo, CP & I and Wynn Creative Group Additional funding comes from members, donors and audience donations.

In a World of Wise Guys, Richard is King

Diana L. Carter, reviewer, playshakespeare.org

Acting 4
Costumes 3
Sets 3
Directing 5
Overall 4

Shakespeare in Delaware Park’s production of Richard III takes a weighty historical play and makes it delightfully accessible for a modern American audience in Buffalo, NY.

Through some choice bits of stage craft, from an introductory pantomime explaining Richard’s character to a battle riddled with marching ghosts, founding director Saul Elkin’s touch welcomes even the most casual of Shakespearean audiences into a part of British history plagued with royal rogues.

Elkin’s choice to stage the play circa the late 1950s, complete with fedoras, busy street sounds and strands of pearls, is inspired. Richard’s followers come off as so many “made men” or “wise guys,” always ready to betray a former ally for survival. Now that’s a bad guy American audiences can understand.

And as for the chief bad guy, he’s played with great depth by Timothy Newell, who has been acting on Buffalo stages for 17 years. Newell brings Richard’s evil lust for the throne to life, presenting a charismatic leader one minute, an unctuous suitor another and a sarcastic plotter above all.

When he plants an unwanted kiss on his brother’s widow, Queen Elizabeth (regally played by Eileen Dugan), after demanding that she make her young daughter available for him to marry, the audience can’t help but recoil.

Yet Newell never makes Richard into an over-the-top caricature of a villain. The prologue pantomime helps illuminate the twisted body of his twisted character. Richard’s two aides (Andrew Kittler and Todd Fuller, who also play murderer one and two) assist him in removing his dressing robe, thus unveiling his hump, and then into military uniform, reminiscent of Gestapo garb. In this extended scene, Kottler massages Richard’s twisted limb and carefully straightens each coiled finger, eliciting a gasp of pain from Richard.

Then, instead of a spoken prologue or – as they do it in the movies – a scrolling synopsis of the historical moment, Richard clicks on a radio and hears a broadcast about recent “wars of the roses” that bring him and the audience up to speed.

Newell is clearly the standout here. His slight build seems perfect for the role, and Mary McMahon’s makeup adds darkness to one side of his face, suggesting both dark scars on his character and a two-faced nature. Despite depicting Richard’s infirmities so clearly, Newell also demonstrates Richard’s unswerving passion. He woos the widow Anne with a kiss, and then meticulously wipes his mouth as soon as she leaves.

He is well-matched by his bloodless best cheerleader, Buckingham, played by character actor Robert Rutland.  Buckingham seems to take great glee in Richard’s mayhem until the moment that Richard asks him to join in his beyond-the-pale plot to murder his two young nephews and heirs to the throne, Edward and York. Then Rutland’s swagger turns stammering and careful.

Costume designer Donna Massimo dresses the witch-like Queen Margaret (Lisa Vitrano) in anachronistic and ragged Victorian mourning garb, deftly setting her apart from Richard’s court and putting the ancientness of her grudge on exhibit. Vitrano shoulders the mantle of grief and anger well, her voice reaching glass-etching sharpness when she delivers the curse that foreshadows Richard’s murders and his eventual failure.

Sadly, when this moment is echoed later in the play by the Duchess of York (Colleen Neuman) cursing her surviving son, Richard, Neuman does not match the intensity. In the performance we saw, she lost her way in the dialogue, repeating a section.

Christopher Cavanaugh’s set, evoking industrial buildings of the Lancaster & Sons and YRK Inc. companies, is not especially well used. A second story is all but ignored for the first half of the play and then used almost as an afterthought a few times after the intermission.

But these faults are upstaged by excellent choices in editing the dialogue, direction, and even the sound design, which includes original music by Tom Maker as well as sound effects of rain.

The final battle scene is especially well crafted. Ghosts of all of Richard’s victims march relentlessly across the battlefield, looking like so many white-faced and macabre ducks in a shooting gallery as Richard and Richmond (an appropriately earnest and beatific Tom Wrath) fight with swords. The appearance of each ghost seems to take an emotional potshot at the flagging Richard before Richmond strikes the final blow.

Fittingly, Elkin trimmed the play to end at the moment Richmond pronounces Richard dead. It’s a moment of triumph for an experienced director and for the audience he whips into disgust over the evil king.

‘Richard III’ is devilishly well done

Tim Newell plays. Richard,Duke of Gloucester, along with Kay Kerimian, playing Lady Anne,in the first Shakespeare in Delaware Park production of the year, “Richard III.” on, Friday, June 22, 2012.

Harry Scull Jr. / Buffalo News

By Ted Hadley

NEWS CONTRIBUTING REVIEWER

 

Summer Shakespeare is back.

For the 37th time, Shakespeare in Delaware Park has returned with the first of two plays by the Bard of Avon along the shores of Hoyt Lake, where canoes glide and gulls swoop; a great blue heron visited on opening night. Peaceful. Serene. Idyllic.

Well, at least until actor Tim Newell begins to recite the famous first lines of “Richard III,” a history tale from Shakespeare’s dark side: “Now is the winter of our discontent,” he sardonically tells his audience confidants, an ominous start to his bloody narration of his trail to the British throne. His villainy begins at once. The body count rises rapidly.

In Shakespeare’s version of the story, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was born in 1452 — “unfinished,” he admits—with several physical handicaps: a withered arm, a gimpy leg, a hunchback. “Sent into this world half-made up,” he laments. Dogs bark at him. When his evil plans are gradually discovered, Richard is called “a bottled spider,” “an elfish, marked, abortive, rooting hog” and “a foul lump of deformity.” And those insults were from kin.

As Newell’s malignant Richard lopes about, he discloses to everyone what he’s going to do next. His favorite word is “dispatch.” His brothers, his nephews — princes, heirs, they could be a problem — his allies Hastings and Buckingham, are dispatched in rapid fashion. Richard, off-center funny, self-deprecating, can be strangely appealing. His sister-in-law, Lady Anne, widowed now thanks to him, is wooed over her dead husband’s coffin. “I’ll have her,” says the cackling one, “but not for long.” Next?

Richard finds that it’s good to be the king but uneasy lies the crown, so the saying goes. A challenger, the Earl of Richmond (later Henry VII), defeats Richard’s forces on Bosworth Field. He slays the “poisonous toad” after a fierce battle brilliantly staged, aided by Chris Cavanagh’s superb lighting design. “A horse!A horse!My kingdom for a horse!” Richard famously utters at the last. Peace is restored.

Director Saul Elkin has assembled a cast of 25, some familiar summer Shakespearians mixing with new faces, returnees and a surprise or two. All are able. Newell is a splendid Richard, emphasizing a warped mind rather than his twisted body (Elizabethans thought the two were inseparable). He’s very fine early on as the organizer of his awful deeds and later as a participant. He’s almost likable. Newell seems to have a knack for villainy: Years back, he brought plenty of menace to the role of Iago in SDP’s summer “Othello.”

Worthy in soliloquy and among the throng are Robert Rutland, oily and precise as Buckingham; Lisa Vitrano as mad Lady Margaret; David Lundy as Lord Hastings; Jacob Mirer as Clarence; Eileen Dugan as Queen Elizabeth; Kay Kerimian as Lady Anne; Jay Desiderio, long absent from local stages, as the Archbishop of York; Nicholas Lama as good guy Lord Rivers; and Adam Roth as a shouting Richmond. There is competent work by an ensemble playing multiple roles.

Director Elkin has found parallels in “Richard III” with corporate greed and power grabs—Wall Street, Madison Avenue, the halls of government — so backstabbing, disloyal guys in suits, a la television’s “Mad Men” series, are numerous. Costumes have been designed by Donna Massimo. The modern-day garb doesn’t add to the overall production; neither does it hurt. Just a little Shakespearian tweaking.

“Richard III” is long and involved. Director Elkin, after some innovative but sleepwalking opening moments, speeds the many comings and goings along the best he can on a drab monolithic set by Nathan Elsener. Steve Vaughn’s fight choreography is again stellar, and there is admirable work by a huge technical crew.

The SDP short season is dedicated this year to the late Western New York theater community icon Neil Garvey. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will follow “Richard III” from July 26 to Aug. 19.

—–

Theater Review

“Richard III”

3 1/2 stars

Presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays through July 15 by Shakespeare in Delaware Park, Shakespeare Hill, behind the Rose Garden and Marcy Casino. Free. Call 856-4533 or visitwww.shakespeareindelawarepark.org .

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