American Shakespeare Center returns to Austin!
ASC to perform As You Like It and Measure for Measure at Texas Union Theatre March 21 and 22
Posted: March 3, 2011
Rick Blunt in As You Like It. Photo by Michael Bailey.
The American Shakespeare Center’s touring troupe will give two performances in Austin, on March 21 and 22 at 7:30 pm in the Texas Union Theatre. Performing Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Measure for Measure, the ASC will give Austinites a taste of their energetic performance style, in a visit sponsored by the Department of English, Plan II, the College of Undergraduate Studies, the Harry Ransom Center, and Shakespeare at Winedale. Tickets are $15, $10 for UT ID-holders (ID will be required to enter the performance with this ticket) and are available through the Shakespeare at Winedale website. Audience members are encouraged to come early, as there will be pre-show music and entertainment beginning at 7:00 pm both nights.
The American Shakespeare Center (formerly the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express) has gained a national reputation by performing according to the principles of the Renaissance stage. Careful attention to the language, a fast and fluid performance style, and a creative use of music and dance are hallmarks of ASC productions. Actors and audience share the same lighting, as they would have in Shakespeare’s playhouse, encouraging an intimate and festive atmosphere.
On Monday night the company will perform one of Shakespeare's great comedies, As You Like It. To escape death, the extraordinary Rosalind, her brave cousin Celia, and one of Shakespeare’s funniest fools flee into the woods. There, in the bewitching Forest of Arden, they discover shepherds and aristocrats, country folk and lovers—and, ultimately, life, love, joy, and freedom. Shakespeare’s glorious and wise comedy reminds us of everything it is to be alive.
The Tuesday performance will be Shakespeare's "problem comedy", Measure for Measure. Shakespeare’s electrifying exploration of the arrogance of power hovers tantalizingly between comedy and tragedy. Measure stares unblinkingly into the way we confuse lust and love, goodness and self-righteousness; and it manages an unforgettably ironic look at who sins most in a congregation of murderers, pimps, politicians, whores, nuns, and dukes.
The ASC touring troupe last appeared in Austin early in this decade, under its previous name of the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express. The company now has a permanent home at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Virginia. The “Restless Ecstasy” tour will conclude in April, when the troupe will return to Staunton to present the spring season at the Blackfriars Playhouse through the middle of June.
“We scour the country for the right 10-12 actors to perform all these roles,” said ASC Artistic Director Jim Warren. “Not only are we looking for the right talent to do these shows in true rotating repertory (a great lost joy in today’s theatre world), but we’re also looking for personalities we think will gel into a dynamic, well-balanced ensemble on and off the stage. On top of all of that, we’re also looking for singers and musicians because we perform all of our music live and unplugged; join us for our pre-show a half-hour before show time for some musical treats.”