May 10, 2005
Amherst, MA - This summer, Hampshire Shakespeare Company will explore the realms of ancient history and timeless fantasy in its 2005 season of Shakespeare Under the Stars. As directed by Lucinda Kidder, the staple of high school English classes, Julius Caesar proves its enduring timeliness in today’s fractious political climate. Chris Rohmann directs a distinctly robust version of the favorite A Midsummer Night’s Dream to round out the season. The Company returns to The Hartsbrook School at 193 Bay Road in Hadley to once again offer the magnificent outdoor setting backed by the Holyoke Range.
Julius Caesar explores the volatile world of first century BC Roman politics that exploded after one of the most famous assassinations in history on the Ides of March. Shakespeare’s dramatization of these events is celebrated for its astute observations of the nature of political power. With supreme rhetorical skill, the brilliant politician Mark Antony turns a huge crowd of "friends, Romans, and countrymen" from vociferous approval of Caesar’s assassination to murderous fury against the conspirators, ensuring their ultimate downfall and putting Rome squarely on the path to imperial rule.
This summer’s production of Julius Caesar features WFCR-FM classical music host Walter Carroll in the title role, with HSC veteran Steve Angel as Brutus and Daniel Kennedy as Cassius. Randolph Paulsen takes on the role of Mark Antony, with Cynthia Lambert as Calphurnia and Lisa Rowe-Beddoe as Portia. The season opens in previews on June 22 and 23, with regular performances running Wednesday through Sunday at 7 PM from June 24-July 10.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream provides the vessel for mixing up a host of delicious ingredients to make one fantastic evening’s entertaining concoction. Take two sets of young lovers, throw in a pair of quarreling fairy royalty, add a dash of rude mechanicals, and top off with a king determined to tame an Amazon, and the result is a true theatrical gourmet’s delight. The mischievous Puck is none other than Kelsey Flynn, radio host of the morning show on 93.9 FM The River. Local favorite Tom McCabe joins Hampshire Shakespeare for the first time as Bottom. Tary Coppola, featured last year in The Merchant of Venice, portrays the fairy queen Titania, while Steve Angel plays her consort, the fairy king Oberon. A dozen delightful Young Company actors join the adult actors in supporting roles. Previews for A Midsummer Night’s Dream are July 13 and 14, with the opening show July 15. Dream runs Wednesdays through Sundays until July 24 with curtain time 7 PM for all shows.
On July 29, 30 and 31, at 7 PM, the Hampshire Shakespeare Young Company presents their own production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream under the direction of Benjamin Ware. As members of the Young Company, young actors (teens) are cast in smaller roles in the mainstage production and will then step into the principal roles for their own production. Additional young actors will join this company for one intensive week of rehearsal culminating in the fully produced weekend of performance. In addition to this program, a full schedule of Summer Theatre Workshops led by theatre professionals is offered for children from 5 through 17. Christine Stevens heads the educational program (413-549-4881).
All seating is general admission, with early comers seated first. All performances proceed on a weather-permitting basis. Umbrellas are offered to the audience in the event of a sudden downpour or light rain. We do not perform in torrential rain. In the event of cancellation, all tickets will be honored at any future performance. Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for students and seniors, and $6 for children under 18. Preview night tickets are $10 general admission, $5 for students and seniors. Tickets for the Young Company show are $5. Groups of 10 or more can purchase blocks of tickets for regular mainstage shows at 20% off regular prices. For the schedule of performances, group sales and ticket information, visit the Company’s web site (www.hampshireshakespeare.org) or call 413-788-4750.
The venue at The Hartsbrook School is handicapped accessible. Chairs are provided, and audience members can also choose to sit on the grass. Audience members are welcome to bring picnics to enjoy in the beautiful rural setting. Hampshire Shakespeare Company is grateful for the generous support of 2005 Season Sponsors Public Radio 88.5 FM -WFCR, Millennium Press, and Progressive Radio 93.9 FM- The River.
Now in its fifteenth year, the Company remains true to its mission to make accessible to audiences and actors a range of theatre experiences from the most profound to the most playful. Included in this mission is the group’s dedication to education through the medium of the performing arts.