Photo Flash: Great River Shakespeare Festival Opens Season 16
Great River Shakespeare Festival opened the fourth show of its 16th season last night, with the world premiere of Beth Gardiner's new adaptation of Carlo Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters. Saturday July 6 saw the opening of Nilaja Sun's No Child... performed by Melissa Maxwell to a sold out crowd. Macbeth opened the season on June 29th followed by Cymbeline on June 30th. White Rabbit, Red Rabbit by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour will have its first performance on July 9.
Macbeth, directed by Festival founder Paul Mason Barnes is a visceral, fast, bloody rendering. Barnes describes a play that "throws down the gauntlet for directors, actors and designers" to tell the story of warfare, witchcraft and a soldier's violent rise to the Scottish throne.
Cymbeline is a "delightfully surprising story - especially since many in our audience will not have seen it before," according to Doug Scholz-Carlson, Great River Shakespeare Festival's Artistic Director. This rarely produced play, written near the end of Shakespeare's life, chronicles a shift from a world of justice and retribution to a world of grace and forgiveness.
No Child..., Nilaja Sun's one-person play is based on her time as a teaching artist in the New York City public schools. Melissa Maxwell stars, transforming into seventeen distinct characters wrapped up in the life of a 10th grade class in an under-resourced school. Tarah Flanagan, recently named GRSF's Associate Artistic Director, directs this vital, tour-de-force performance.
The festival presents its first commissioned piece, a world premiere adaptation of Carlo Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters. Beth Gardiner adapts and directs this classic story of love triangles, mischief and intrigue with a joyful, fresh perspective. "You'll meet age-old comedic characters with contemporary flair. It's a hilarious show that'll leave you cheering." Servant, with original music by Silas Sellnow, will perform both in the Vivian Fusillo Theatre in the WSU Performing Arts Center, and in four casual, offsite events at bars in Rochester, Homer and La Crosse, WI.
Rounding out the season is White Rabbit, Red Rabbit by Nassim Soleimanpour. In this unique production an actor receives a sealed script and performs it, without previous knowledge of the story. Audience and actor encounter the piece simultaneously. Several company members will take on this exciting challenge throughout the season.
Designing the season are Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz (Lighting design Macbeth, Cymbeline, No Child...), Rebecca Bernstein (Costume design Cymbeline, Servant), Katharine Horowitz (Sound design and composition Cymbeline, sound design Servant), Scott O'Brien (Sound design and composition Macbeth, Sound design No Child...), Avery Reagan (Lighting design Servant), Kyle Schellinger (Costume design Macbeth), and R. Eric Stone (Scenic design Macbeth, Cymbeline, Servant).
Anique Clements, Alex Givens
Rebecca Bernstein, Erica Vannon, Ivy Thomas, Avery Reagan, Kayli Warner, Beth Gardine
Tarah Flanagan, Scott O'Brien, Melissa Maxwell, Alexander Carey, Madison Tarchala, Victoria Teague
Aaron Young, Doug Scholz-Carlson, Tarah Flanagan, Eileen Moeller