By Jake Fain, Staff Writer
Union students can look forward to at least four shows performed by the theatre program each year.
However, few shows offer the experience of watching a Shakespearean play being performed in a living room that includes students playing multiple roles.
Kevin Anderton, visiting director, will diversify that experience with a traveling summer show. Six students will go on the road with Anderton for one week to perform the Shakespearean classic, “As You Like It.”
There is, however, a new component to this traveling number. The actors will be performing in “found spaces.” These spaces can include garages, shops and even living rooms rather than a typical performance stage, a practice Anderton participated in while attending Oxford School of Drama and the University of Exeter in England.
Members of the cast must also play multiple roles in the found spaces. Only five of the six slots have been filled for “As You Like It.” The actual preparation and performance of the summer show are both part of a class. The class is based on the analysis of Shakespeare and performances.
“I believe (the play) to fit well as a first experiment for the students to work in found spaces,” Anderton said.
Anderton chose destinations based on where the actors are from: North Carolina, Southern Illinois, Nashville and Memphis.
The final showing will possibly take place at the end of the traveling week on Union’s campus or in the upstairs of The Carnegie Center for Arts and History at 305 E. College St. in downtown Jackson.
The students face more than the challenge of performing in uncommon places.
Both the students and Anderton are completely unaware of the setting until two to three hours before the performance begins. With the visual perspective of the play always changing, no set can be carried along with the troupe.
“The actors are the setting,” Anderton said.
Heather Nicholas, senior theater major, will alternate playing the role of Rosalind in “As You Like It.”
“I’m really excited about getting on the road with the show,” Nicholas said. “I’m interested to see how the cast will work out the scenes in the different locations.”
Zach Palermo, sophomore journalism major, will be playing more than one role in the play.
Palermo compared his work with Anderton to a growing experience.
“It’s always an experience where I feel as though I’m growing into a better actor and a better person,” Palermo said. “I can always take away some kind of lesson, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I take away from the summer show.”