The Utah Shakespearean Festival is on tour.
A traveling cast of nine professional actors is visiting schools and communities in Arizona, Nevada and Utah, including several stops along the Wasatch Front.The tour, which is part of the festival's educational outreach program, consists of two parts:
- An abbreviated adaptation of William Shakespeare's classic drama, "Macbeth."
- A variety of workshops focusing on movement for physical education and dance classes, technical aspects of theater for industrial education students, costume workshops for home economics students and acting workshops for English and drama classes.
"Shakespeare provides us with a brilliant cross-curriculum tool," said Gary Armagnac, the USF's director of education. "And this program shows students and educators that the study of Shakespeare need not be boring nor limited to either an English class or drama class."
Armagnac, who created on-stage excitement last summer in the roles of Iago in "Othello" and Paul Sycamore in "You Can't Take It With You," said the USF tour "is being offered as an educational tool for high school students and others who often don't have the opportunity to see professional theater."
The nine actors on the tour are playing 22 roles and are fully costumed in renaissance regalia. Many of the performers have acted at the festival and all are professional actors from throughout the country. They were auditioned and chosen not only on the basis of their ability to act, interact with (and educate) students, but - most importantly - to get along with 10 other people for six weeks in a van.
The entire lighting system, sound equipment, scenery and costumes are designed to fit into one small trailer pulled behind the van.
The role of Macbeth is being played by Brian Vaughn, a Southern Utah University graduate and USF alumnus.
Most recently performing the role of Frankie in "Forever Plaid" at the PCPA Theaterfest, he was seen last season in Cedar City as Hysterium in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and Ed in "You Can't Take It With You."
Other players in the touring ensemble are Charlie Bachmann, Stacey Bean, Elizabeth Carter, Amber Houdersheldt, Jennifer E.J. Kerwin III, Rick Long, Gena Acosts Mortensen and Jim Poulos, with Jennifer Janoviak as stage manager.
"The actors?" commented Armagnac during a phone interview, "I am really blessed. Brian Vaughn is doing a great job and all of the performers are good teachers as well. They love passing along information to the students."
Armagnac said the tour began Feb. 5 with workshops and performances in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area, then moved to Tucson.
"We got a standing ovation at the Community College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas," he said, where an additional performance as added in order to accommodate the lineup of students and general public at the box office.
Armagnac's adaptation of "Macbeth" runs about one hour and 20 minutes.
"This does so much for so many people," Armagnac said. "The actors and the teachers get a lot out of it - and it gets the word out about the festival, too."
While the precise order of presentations varies from city to city, depending on the schools and venues involved, most of the stops on the tour will include both student and public performances, usually followed by four 30- to 40-minute workshops.
The movement session provides insights into combat for the stage using both weaponless combat and battle with weapons from the Elizabethan era.
Those in the acting workshop are briefed on ways of identifying the traits that make a role into a complete character and methods for integrating these observations into traits the actors can use in a performance.
The costume workshop will have tips on identifying the period for which a costume was designed, then transferring that period look from street dress to stage dress.
The technical workshop will involve how lighting, sound and set design and construction all come together to draw an audience into the world on stage.
- THE BOUNTIFUL STOP will include a public performance of "Macbeth" at 8 p.m. Friday, March 1, in the Bountiful High School auditorium. Tickets for this performance are $8 for adults and $6 for senior citizens and students.
Bountiful Community Theatre is also hosting a fund-raising "Parade of Queens dinner" at 7 p.m. at Grace Baptist Church. Tickets for this event are $20 each, available at Carr Stationery, Top Hat Video and the Bountiful/Davis Art Center.
The dinner will include a fashion show of nearly 60 costumes from the festival's elaborate "Costume Cavalcade" collection.
The dinner will be preceded by a reception at 6:30 where invited guests will be able to meet Fred Adams, founder and executive producer of the Utah Shakespearean Festival.
Call 562-3816 for further information.
Dates and locations of the Utah Shakespearean Festival tour's performances and workshops include the following (with telephone numbers for further information):
Feb. 26: Copper Hills High School, 5300 New Bingham Highway, Salt Lake City, 8:30 a.m. (567-8800).
Feb. 27: Roy High School, 2150 W. 4800 South, Roy, noon (774-4922).
Feb. 28: Ben Lomond High School, 800 Jackson Ave., Ogden, 8 a.m. (625-8885)
Feb. 29: Bountiful High School, 695 S. Orchard Drive, 8 a.m. (299-2055), and Woods Cross High School, 600 W. 2200 South, 12:30 p.m. (299-2075).
March 1: Viewmont High School,120 W. 1000 North, Bountiful, 9:05 a.m. (299-2065), and Bountiful High, 7:30 p.m. (573-2795).
March 2: Bountiful High, 10 a.m. (573-2795).
March 4: Carbon High School, Price, 10 a.m. (637-1732).
March 5: Green River High School, Green River, 9 a.m. (564-3461); Grand High School, Moab, 4:30 p.m. (259-8931) and Star Hall, Moab, 7 p.m. (259-8931).
March 6: San Juan High School, Blanding, 7:30 p.m. (678-1398).
March 7: Lyman Middle School, Blanding, 8:30 a.m. (678-1398), and Monument Valley High School, 1 p.m. (727-3204).
March 8: Kanab High School, 4 & 7 p.m. (644-8834)
March 9: public performance at 5:45 p.m. in the SUU Auditorium, Cedar City.
NOTE: Admission prices may vary for the public performances. Check with local venues for tickets.