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Actors' Theatre of Columbus to Present Shakespeare's THE WINTER'S TALE with an Appalachian Twist

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In 1982, Actors' Theatre of Columbus (ATC) kicked off its first season with a single production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The success of that season proved that Schiller Park was an excellent venue for open air Shakespearean theater, and the troupe has continued this tradition for 35 years. "To Tell the Truth," Actors' Theatre's 2016 season, features four plays that ask questions about how far relationships can be strained and even broken by dishonesty, falsehood and slander.

Appalachia and the Bard will collide with ATC's adaptation of William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale (July 21 - August 7) directed by Micah Logsdon. Sometimes dark tragedy, sometimes uproarious comedy, The Winter's Tale sets the story of one of Shakespeare's more disparate and modern works, at the turn of the 19th & 20th century, between the coal mining country of Eastern Kentucky and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Inspired in part by the album Jean Ritchie & Doc Watson at Folk City and heavily flavored with traditional mountain and American folk music performed by the cast, the play will celebrate the culture and the music of Appalachia, a region with strong cultural, musical and linguistic ties to Shakespeare's England, with a tragedy and joy that is uniquely and entertainingly American.

"There are some who believe the dialects of Appalachia are the closest existing speech to that of Shakespeare," explained Logsdon. "Although vocabulary does not match exactly, the patterns and sounds feel easier than they do in and standard American or British. Words that rhymed when Shakespeare wrote them, that fail to do so in modern speech, rhyme again. The compound contractions of two, three, or four words in Shakespeare's text become easier on the mouth and easier to understand. And for all of this, jokes, energy, life and variation come back to the play."

"Not only are there songs sung and passed down in Appalachia today that were sung 400 years ago, but the works of Shakespeare and the ballads and stories of the mountains are full of simple humor, cleverness, darkness, joy, violence, love, murder and salvation," continues Logsdon on the musical marriage of the play. "They are kin to each other. And what better play to set in Appalachia than The Winter's Tale, a tale of two kingdoms, of two friends, who share a common history but take two very different journey only to come back together again."

Performing in the lead role of Leontes is Andy Falter, now in his fifth season with Actors' Theatre. Falter is also the education director for ATC's Globe School. He has been seen on stages and screens across the country, from multiple performances at The White House to commercials and films, including the award-winning short films 'Til Death, The Bloodline, and The New Mr. Phillips. Andy has also taught professional, amateur, and K-12 actors for almost two decades, including 16 years in the Worthington City Schools.

ATC's 2016 performance season will conclude with Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband (August 11 - September 4).

Each performance runs Thursday-Sunday at 8 pm at Schiller Park's Amphitheatre Stage in German Village. Outdoor summer shows are free and open to the public, though donations are encouraged and vital to the continued success of Actors' Theatre. Inaugural memberships with Actors' Theatre have been created for the 35th anniversary season and are available by visiting http://theactorstheatre.org/membership/.

Support for Actors' Theatre is made possible by the Greater Columbus Arts Council, the Ohio Arts Council, and The Columbus Foundation with media support from WCBE 90.5 FM.

Photo Credit: Jenn Geiger


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