Celebrate Shakespeare on 2/7 at The Players

Celebrate Shakespeare on 2/7 at The Players

On Friday, February 7 at 5:30pm at The Players (16 Gramercy Park, New York, NY), Elements Theatre Company of Orleans, MA will present an original work, Labyrinth: A Legacy of Language, exploring Shakespeare's influence on playwrights through the past four and a half centuries, from Sheridan to Ibsen to Stoppard. The production will be a springboard for a 7:00pm discussion in the ARTS IN CONVERSATION panel series, on How Shakespeare Humanizes Our Culture: The Transforming Power of His Work. Panelists include George Drance, SJ, Artist in Residence at Fordham University, Louis Colaianni, author of How to Speak Shakespeare and Teacher/Coach, Rob Weinert-Kendt, Associate Editor at American Theatre, and Josh Cabat, Co-founder of the New York City Student Shakespeare Festival. Danielle Dwyer, CJ, Elements Artistic Director, will moderate. Admission is FREE to both the performance and panel discussion. Reservations are recommended; call 508-240-2400.

Honoring Shakespeare's 450th birth anniversary year, this timely panel will explore how the Bard's work challenges our modern concepts of reconciliation and forgiveness, in a world where school shootings, bullying, and acts of terrorism make the headlines with alarming frequency. "Shakespeare has a tremendous understanding of human nature and concepts of revenge, forgiveness, accountability, making amends, and taking responsibility for our actions," observes Danielle Dwyer, CJ, Elements Artistic Director. "His grasp on the complexities of what it means to be human gives us a deeper, longer view on life. He understands the importance of living in harmony with ourselves and each other."

Other events in the New York area include workshops and performances at the Notre Dame School, Nyack College, and Blessed Sacrament School in NYC, and St. Francis Cathedral in Metuchen, NJ. With this tour, Elements Theatre Company launches a 3-year tribute to Shakespeare that includes a week-long August Shakespeare Retreat on Cape Cod based on Julius Caesar, "Word Made Flesh," an online video collection of Sonnets recorded by people of all ages and walks of life, and continuing Shakespeare symposiums, among other events. (Details at www.elementstheatre.org.)

George Drance, SJ currently serves as Artistic Director of the critically acclaimed Magis Theatre Company, praised for its artistic skill and daring, and for bringing lively, accessible stage adaptations of neglected classics to a popular audience. More noted work includes Off Broadway productions of C.S. Lewis' novel "The Great Divorce," Kalidasa's 4th century classic "Shakuntala," and most recently "Occupy Olympus," a musical rendering of Aristophanes' comedy "Plutus, god of Wealth." New York credits include The Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival, The Metropolitan Opera, La MaMa's resident company the Great Jones Rep. With La MaMa, he has toured Europe and Asia, working on several of Ellen Stewart's original pieces and performing in the Andrei Serban/Elizabeth Swados' epic Fragments of a Greek Trilogy. He is an artist-in-residence at Fordham University has been a guest artist and lecturer at Columbia University, Marquette University, Hebrew Union College, Boston College and the Marist International Center in Nairobi, Kenya.

Louis Colaianni is a Voice and Speech innovator and coach for Broadway and regional theatre. He recently served as Will Ferrell's vocal coach for the Broadway and HBO productions of "You're Welcome, America;" dialect coach for the feature film "Little Red Wagon" (2012) and dialect coach for Will Power's "Fetch Clay, Make Man" with Ben Vereen and Evan Parke, directed by Des McAnuff. He has been Voice and Text Director for productions at: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Arizona Theatre Company, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, Shakespeare & Company, Trinity Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare Santa Cruz. He has taught in numerous theatre programs including Pace University/Actors Studio; Vassar College; SUNY Purchase; The O'Neill Theatre Center; Columbia University; Ohio University, Dartmouth College, and Trinity Repertory Theatre/Conservatory (Anne Bogart, Artistic Director); among others. Louis has acted with Shakespeare & Company, American Shakespeare Theatre and New York Shakespeare Festival.

Rob Weinert-Kendt is Associate Editor at American Theatre magazine. He has written features and criticism for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Variety, Newsday, Village Voice, Time Out New York, The Guardian, and The San Francisco Chronicle, among others. He was the founding editor of Back Stage West.

Josh Cabat is the Chair of English for the Roslyn (NY) Public Schools. Previously, he worked as a teacher of English and Film Studies at Roslyn High School for nine years and in the New York City public high schools for over a decade. He was the co-founder of the New York City Student Shakespeare Festival, and has been awarded three fellowships by the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has been a featured speaker at several national conferences, and has published many articles on Shakespeare and Film. He has also conducted workshops for teachers on behalf of the Folger Shakespeare Library, and is currently a Teaching Artist for the Young Film Critics program at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music. He earned an MA from the University of Chicago and a BA from Columbia University.

Danielle Dwyer, CJ, Artistic Director and founding member of Elements Theatre Company, has either directed or performed in nearly 60 productions since the company's inception in 1992. Sr. Danielle earned her Master of Arts Degree from England's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the University of London. She also studied voice, acting, and writing with Joanna Weir at Central School of Speech and Drama in London; David Male of Cambridge University; Shakespeare & Company; and the Stella Adler Studio in New York City. Sr. Danielle's directorial experience ranges from Shakespeare (Twelfth Night) and Chekhov (The Cherry Orchard) to Neil Simon (Rumors) and Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere's Fan).

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