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A sense of PLAY

Since arriving last Saturday, members of the Royal Shakespeare Company have made their mark on campus. Workshops on acting, directing and lectures on interpreting Shakespeare have left indelible impressions on students and faculty.

During the next several days, the public is invited to attend the readings of two landmark work-in-progress plays.

Here’s an overview of upcoming (no charge) events:

FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 4 pm

“The Orphan of Zhao” a presentation, Blau Auditorium

A first-hand look at the results of workshopping the first known Chinese play (originally translated to French) performed in Europe in the 1740s.

“The Orphan of Zhao” is an epic set in the 6th century B.C. The story follows the tragic circumstances of the aristocratic Zhao clan, which is the target of extermination by an evil minister, who accuses the leader of the Zhao clan of treason. The plot is filled with mythic-size sacrifice, and culminates in the restoration of the clan’s fortunes.

A conversation with the audience will follow the reading of the play.


9 am — “Word and Action: An Acting Master Class” with Gregory Doran, Blau Auditorium

Few other directors in the world have mastered the transformation of Shakespeare’s plays to the stage than Gregory Doran. The talented director explores the relationship among dialogue, action and gesture. A not-to-be-missed instruction by one of the world’s directorial masters.

4 pm — Bringing “Creative Project 2010″ to the Stage: The Audience and the Director, featuring Gregory Doran, RSC Chief Associate Director, Blau Auditorium

As a result of the work completed in “Creative Residency 2010” three plays were produced for performance at Stratford-upon-Avon. The three plays are: “Cardenio,” a re-imagining of Shakespeare’s lost play; “Written on the Heart,” a play which focuses on the last stages of the formation of the King James Bible;  “The Heresy of Love,” a story of 17th-century Mexican writer and nun, Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, written by Helen Edmundson.

“Written on the Heart” and “The Heresy of Love” are currently being performed, while “Cardenio” ran from late spring through October of last year.

SUNDAY, March 18, 4 pm

“Drama in Translation” (a roundtable discussion) and “A Conversation with Michael Boyd, RSC Artistic Director, and Ralph Williams,” Blau Auditorium

Two of the most compelling experts on Shakespeare and drama share their views on the scholarly and dramatic challenges in translated works to the stage.

Michael Boyd joined the RSC in 1996. He assumed the role of artistic director in 2003, and spearheaded the year-long “Complete Works of Shakespeare Festival.” In 2007, he oversaw the redevelopment of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Ralph Williams is a a Professor Emeritus in the Department of English, Language and Literature. He  specializes in Medieval and Renaissance literature, Shakespeare, literary theory, comparative literature and Biblical studies. He has taught such wide-ranging courses as The Bible in English, plus the literature of Chaucer to Frederick Douglass, to the works of Primo Levi and the Memory of Auschwitz.

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 4:30 pm

Reading of “Boris Godunov,” Blau Auditorium

The play, written by Russian Alexander Pushkin in 1825, is a drama about Russian ruler Boris Godunov, who was Tsar from 1598-1605.

A conversation with the audience will follow the reading of the play.


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