POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—The theater troupe Actors from the London Stage features five British Shakespearean artists from such companies as the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and their weeklong residency at Vassar College will culminate in three free performances of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, on September 18, 19, and 20 at 8:00 pm in the Martel Theater of the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film.
The five classical actors—Erin Brodie, Matthew Douglas, William Hoyland, Robert Mountford, and Eunice Roberts—will perform all the roles in The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare’s play that explores intrigue at the court of the king of Sicilia. The story follows King Leontes (Robert Mountford), who suspects his boyhood friend Polixenes (Matthew Douglas), king of Bohemia, of adultery with Leontes’s queen, Hermoine (Erin Brodie). Polixenes flees to Bohemia with Camillo (William Hoyland), aide of Polixenes, however the pregnant queen is confined to prison, where she gives birth to a daughter, Perdita (Erin Brodie), and is then put to death, despite the strenuous objections of lady of the court, Paulina (Eunice Roberts).
After Perdita is abandoned on a hillside in Bohemia, she is found and raised by shepherds, and sixteen years later meets Polixenes's son, Florizel (Matthew Douglas), whom she hopes to marry. Polixenes discovers the plan and forbids the match. Camillo, still in exile, persuades the couple to fly to Sicilia. There a repentant King Leontes recognizes Perdita as his daughter, and additional surprises ensue.
The Actors from the London Stage (AFTLS) is an educational program that was developed by Homer Swander at the University of California, Santa Barbara, with Patrick Stewart as one of the founding artists. The company is now based in London, England, and at the University of Notre Dame. This year's residency will be their fifth visit to Vassar College.
In addition to the performance, the actors will lead 26 workshop sessions in various classes of seven different Vassar departments. A new feature of the AFTLS residency will be special sessions with local middle school students, as well as with Vassar alumnae/i.
“Our company’s aim is to make Shakespeare’s words exert their magic and their power in performance, but we do this in a vital, and perhaps unconventional, way,” explained Notre Dame professor Peter Holland, who is director of AFTLS program. “We have no massive sets to tower over the performers and no directorial concept to tower over the text of Shakespeare’s play. In fact, AFTLS does not have a stage director at all; instead, the play has been rehearsed by the actors, working together to create theatre, cooperating with each other in their imaginative engagement with the play’s words.”
The Office of the Dean of Faculty, along with the departments of Drama and English, are co-sponsoring the performance of The Winter’s Tale at Vassar.
For more information and reservations, contact the box office at (845) 437-5584, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Box Office in person (located in the Powerhouse Theater) from 1 to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Reservations are required.