In 1938, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart premiered a musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors,” the first American musical comedy based on a Shakespeare play. This raucous farce,Rodgers and Hart’s “The Boys from Syracuse,” kicks of Theater Emory’s season-long celebration of the Bard September 22 – October 2 in the Theater Lab of the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.
“When we heard that the First Folio would be coming to Emory, we decided to focus our season on Shakespeare’s work,” explains artistic director Janice Akers. “We saw this as an opportunity to put our distinctive stamp on the Shakespeare celebration and include a variety of voices, cultures, performance styles, and new work.”
Four hundred years after William Shakespeare’s death, his work continues to resonate with audiences across the globe, providing new insights into the nature of love, power and human existence. This month, Emory embarks on a yearlong focus on the man whose words changed the world.
Kicking off next week with events from Emory Libraries and Theater Emory, Shakespeare at Emory celebrates the University’s selection as a host site for the exhibit of “First Folio: The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare” with plays, readings, exhibits and other activities.
One host site was selected from each state to display the national traveling exhibition of Shakespeare’s First Folio, one of the world’s most treasured books, from the Folger Shakespeare Library. Emory was chosen as the Georgia venue.
“Appropriately, Emory’s year of celebration begins with a thought-provoking scholarly reflection on the First Folio, to be followed by a rich array of theatrical performances and poetry readings, as well as exhibitions, conversations and pop-up events,” says Rosemary Magee, director of the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library. “All are invited to participate — in every way possible.”
Emory University is preparing to host William Shakespeare’s First Folio this fall with a number of Shakespeare at Emory events.
It was announced in 2015 that Emory was chosen to be the Georgia site to display “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare.” It’s a national traveling exhibition of the 1623 book that gave us 18 of Shakespeare’s plays, including “Macbeth” and “The Tempest.”
The tour of the folio is going to all 50 states, Washington, and Puerto Rico, according to the Folger Shakespeare Library’s First Folio website.
Q: How did you get involved with Theater Emory’s two productions of “As You Like It”?
A: After exhausting the normal art classes Emory has to offer and a semester of independent study with Professor Kerry Moore, I asked to do another independent study. Both art professors had very busy schedules so I went to my co-major advisor Leslie Taylor and asked to do an independent study with her. She then offered the opportunity for me to do sculptures for Theater Emory’s Spring production!
Q: So what are you doing for the production?
A: I’m the Artist in Residence and am creating two different series of sculptures. One series is focused on being a part of the environment as tumbleweeds made of animal parts. The other series is composed of 5 individual pieces of animal parts that are put together vertically on the side of a wall. The tumbleweed pieces are made specifically to be utilized on stage whereas the latter series is made to be minimally used on stage besides being put up by the actors to become part of the environment/scene.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you faced creating a piece of art for the theater?
A: Truthfully, I’ve found that making art for theater has been less challenging in some ways. Creating art for theater offers a lot of support, there are multiple minds to pick about the direction I am going in with a piece. Since I am making pieces for a play, I get more specific comments instead of the general nod of approval from my art professors. Related to my previous comment, I started off creating pieces with a specific vision and purpose which made for an overall quicker process. Given what I just said, the biggest challenge I believe is creating art that is “big” enough for theater. I have made a wire sculpture piece that I adore, but from a long distance, the piece gets lost and hard to see for some of the audience.
Q: Do you hope to continue working in theater in the future?
A: I have been surrounded by creative, fun, and supportive staff at the Mary Gray Munroe theater that have made artistic collaboration an absolute pleasure and supported my artistic creativity in making these sculptures. With that, I am definitely interested in working on the art side of theater again.
Four hundred years after William Shakespeare’s death, his work continues to resonate with audiences across the globe, providing new insights into the nature of love, power, and human existence. This month, Theater Emory embarks on a yearlong focus on the man whose words changed the world.
In honor of Shakespeare’s First Folio’s upcoming visit to campus, Theater Emory launches into a yearlong celebration of Shakespeare with the great romantic comedy“As You Like It,” running March 31 – April 10 in the Mary Gray Munroe Theater. As one character famously asks, “Can one desire too much of a good thing?” Theater Emory tackles this question head-on with two productions running in repertory: an all-male cast directed by Tim McDonough and an all-female cast directed by Jan Akers.