Actors from the London Stage: From page to stage

Emily Zempel

The weekend of Oct. 23, the Lawrence stage will be graced once more by the presence of the ACTER Troupe from London, England. The troupe has become an annual visitor to the college, presenting a different Shakespearean work with each visit. This year the troupe will be performing Much Ado About Nothing, one of Shakespeare’s most beloved and witty comedies.

The story depicts the fates of two pairs of lovers who, true to Shakespearean ilk, are being manipulated into falling in and out of love. As the lovers work through their fortunes, Shakespeare presents a penetrating yet comic examination into the nature of love and jealousy, betrayal, and redemption.

The troupe of five actors greatly benefits the Theatre Department at Lawrence, both by presenting a work every year, and also by working with theatre classes.

Theatre professor Kathy Dudley said of the actors, “These actors add to the breadth of theatre at Lawrence. We have conversations with professional actors from London about the business of theatre; we experience a performance that relies on a unique set of aesthetic conventions: bare stage, minimal props, and role doubling; and we see at least one Shakespeare every year.”

The Actors from The London Stage group was founded in 1975 with the goal of changing the way Shakespeare is taught in the United States. Many schools teach Shakespearean plays only as text and neglect to consider the purpose of the pieces. These actors give the opportunity for classes that are studying Shakespeare to see the works they are reading come alive in front of their eyes.

The Lawrence Freshman Studies classes are a good example. Professor Kathy Dudley, who occasionally teaches Freshman Studies, said, “Having the Actors From The London Stage on campus changes the Freshman Studies discussion as we consider a live production as a text and spend workshop time exploring that well-worn phrase: ‘moving from page to stage.'”

This year’s troupe includes two returning actors, Eunice Roberts and Paul McCleary, as well as Jamie Newall, Jax Williams, and Jason Baughan.

Performances occur at 7:35 p.m. Oct. 23-25 and 2:35 p.m. on Oct. 26 in Cloak Theatre of the Music-Drama Center, 420 E. College Ave.

Tickets, which may be purchased at the Lawrence University Box Office, are $10 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and students, and free for Lawrence students. Call 920-832-6749 for more information.