The University of SC Department of Theatre and Dance will present Shakespeare in Love, the popular stage adaptation of the Oscar®-winning film, October 5-13 at Drayton Hall Theatre.
Adapted by Lee Hall from the original screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, with a musical score by Paddy Cunneen, Shakespeare in Love brings all of the fun, adventure and romance of the hit 1998 movie vibrantly to life. Guest artist Andrew Schwartz will direct the production.
This fictional story of young playwright William Shakespeare finds him penniless, struggling, and tormented by writer’s block until he meets the beautiful Viola de Lesseps, whose fiery passion for poetry and drama leaves her secretly longing to be an actor. Both are despondent when they learn that Viola’s father has promised her to the stuffy Lord Wessex in order to gain a title for their family. Under the veil of secrecy, Will and Viola’s passionate love affair becomes the basis of the very play he is writing – Romeo and Juliet. With opening night – and the wedding day – fast approaching, will it all work out in the end or are the two star-crossed lovers destined for tragedy?
Schwartz, an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Coker College and a professional actor, says the transition from film to stage is an obviously natural fit for a story set in the theatre world. “It feels in many ways like a Shakespearean play with a modern sensibility,” he says. “It has great poetry, mistaken identities, sword fights, ruthless villains, a beautiful love story…and a dog! This story was made for the stage.”
Schwartz says the production aims to feel “fresh and funny,” celebrating the vigor
that all young artists possess, regardless of time period. “The ‘University Wits’
of Elizabethan England were not so different from the young artists of the Beat Generation,
or the hipsters of Williamsburg, Brooklyn today,” he says. “They were cocky, angry,
and eager to make their mark on the artistic world. We really want to celebrate their
passion and imaginations.”
It’s about falling in love and wanting a life filled with adventure and purpose. It’s about youth rebelling against their parents’ belief system and having something new and meaningful which belongs essentially to them.
The show’s production design takes a similar approach. “Our version is more magical realism than period drama,” he says. “While we want to pay homage to the Elizabethan origins of the story, it is ultimately a fantasy.” Helping to create the world of the play are MFA design students Nate Terracio (scenic), Allison Newcombe (lighting), and Molly Morgan (costume), with adjunct instructor Danielle Wilson helming the show’s sound design.
The show’s all undergraduate cast includes Lochlan Angle, Caroline Clarke, Amber Coulter, Kayla Crumbley, Sam Edelson, David Neil Edwards, Conor Gallagher, Nicholas Good, Olivia Hensley, Will Hollerung, Riley Lucas, Liv Matthews, Cory Peeler, Alex Robinson, John Romanski, Cameron Shaw, Susan Swavely, and Jordan Whitney.
“So many people cringe when they hear the word ‘Shakespeare,’” Schwartz admits. “They imagine an actor in Elizabethan clothing holding a skull, reciting a long, boring speech... What this story does really well is humanize the writer and his characters. It’s about falling in love and wanting a life filled with adventure and purpose. It’s about youth rebelling against their parents’ belief system and having something new and meaningful which belongs essentially to them.”
“It’s also really funny…and did I mention that there’s a dog?!”
For more information on Shakespeare in Love or the theatre program at the University of SC, contact Kevin Bush by phone at 803-777-9353 or via email at email@example.com.