October 7, 2013

Theater at Monmouth offers fall tour of Shakespeare’s 'Twelfth Night'

Monmouth is using a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to reach out to students.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Max Waszak as Malvolio in Theater at Monmouth’s upcoming “Twelfth Night” tour.

Aaron Flacke photo

click image to enlarge

Rylee Doiron as Olivia and Max Waszak as Malvolio in Theater at Monmouth’s upcoming “Twelfth Night” tour.

Photos courtesy of Theater at Monmouth

Additional Photos Below

IF YOU GO

THE THEATER AT MONMOUTH’S touring production of “Twelfth Night” has several public performances, including a kick-off weekend at its home at Cumston Hall.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Oct. 13

WHERE: Cumston Hall, 795 Main St., Monmouth

HOW MUCH: $20 to $30

INFO: 933-9999 or theateratmonmouth.org

COMMUNITY PRODUCTIONS that are open to the public:

• 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at University of Maine at Augusta, Bangor campus, at Eastport Hall

• 7 p.m. Oct. 18, Rangeley High School

• 7 p.m. Oct. 21, University of Maine at Augusta

• 7 p.m. Oct. 26, Vienna Union Hall

• 6 p.m. Oct. 28, University of Maine Machias

• 7:30 p.m., Nov. 2, Johnson Hall, Gardiner

TICKETS AND INFO: 933-9999

Regardless of Monmouth’s motive for staging “Twelfth Night,” Kenney thinks the theater will find fall agreeable, both at its home theater and on the road.

Kenney was not surprised when people began buying tickets to the fall shows at Ogunquit. He comes from a tourism background, and knows well that September and October are often the best times to reach travelers and locals alike.

“When you get past Labor Day, the stroller crowd dissipates. The beach traffic goes away. September is the best month weather wise, and the empty-nesters really come out. We see a lot of folks just wandering up Route 1. The traffic is not crushing, and you can get a table. But we are consistently sold out,” he said.

At the same time, there is more competition. Most of Maine’s professional theaters begin their seasons in late September and early October, resulting in more choices for ticket buyers.

This month, audiences in greater Portland have a half-dozen choices, including Good Theater’s “Clybourne Park,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” at Portland Stage, the American Irish Repertory Ensemble production of “Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me” and Mad Horse Theatre’s “The School for Lies.” City Theater in Biddeford opens Neil Simon’s “Rumors,” and The Public Theatre in Lewiston opens John Cariani’s “Love/Sick.”

It is against that backdrop that Monmouth takes its show on the road. McAndrews’ goal is to reach students, who later might become ticket buyers to her or other theaters. The theater-going process begins at a young age, she said.

“Our commitment is getting the art to them. If that translates into people wanting to come to Monmouth, that’s fantastic. But the reason we do this is to bring the art to them, because the reality is, more than likely they won’t be able to get here. But maybe someday in the future, sometime down the line, they will be in a position to see theater, and hopefully they will remember when this crazy group of people came to their school and presented this fast-paced version of ‘Twelfth Night.’ ”

Portland actor and Monmouth mainstay James Noel Hoban directs a cast of eight professional actors. Hoban edited the original text to about 90 minutes so it fits easily into the busy school schedule.

“Twelfth Night” is a comedy with a romantic subplot and twists of mistaken identities, set on the coast of Illyria. In the condensed Monmouth version, the play is set at Illyria University in the late 20th century. Orsino covets Olivia, who attends Illyria College for Women. Out of respect to issues of the day, Hoban has emphasized elements of the play that explore the issue of bullying.

Hoban has worked at Monmouth for three seasons, appearing in “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Our Town” and “The Knight of the Burning Pestle.”

“Twelfth Night” stars April Singley as Viola, Teddy Spencer as Orsino, Rylee Doiron as Olivia, Max Waszak as Malvolio, Alex Pagels as Sir Toby Belch, Ian Kramer as Sebastian/Sir Andrew, Heather Irish as Maria, and Elise Voigt as Feste.

And while the performances are intended for school audiences, several stops on this tour are open to the public.

Jim Bulteel, an English teacher at Orono High School, called the opportunity for students to see a professional theater production a “game-changing experience. I can remember when I was a kid being taken to the theater by my English teachers, and it was one of the most memorable things I did,” he said.

“Live theater is something that is really hard to find (outside of the urban centers) in Maine, which is largely a rural state. So this is a wonderful opportunity for kids to have it,” Bulteel said.

Tim Straub, an English teacher at Rangeley Lakes Regional High School, often brings students to productions in Portland – he has a trip this week to see “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” at Portland Stage – but it’s more immediate when the theater comes to the school.

About 100 students will see “Twelfth Night” at Rangeley during the day on Oct. 18. Monmouth will stage another performance for the community at 7 that evening.

York High School brought Monmouth’s touring production of “Hamlet” to the school last year, but lacked funding for “Twelfth Night.” That disappointed Lisa Stathoplos, who directs the York High School Players.

“It’s hugely valuable for kids to be exposed to as many of the arts and as much of the arts as possible,” she said. “While they do not have the option to take theater courses here, I wish they did. Giving kids the opportunity to have professional players come into their school is invaluable. It’s a shame we don’t have the money to do it this year.”

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

bkeyes@pressherald.com

Twitter: pphbkeyes

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Max Waszak as Hamlet and Grace Bauer as Gertrude in the 2012 “Hamlet” tour.

Aaron Flacke photo

click image to enlarge

Lena (Noelle LuSane), Kevin (Bari Robinson) and Tom (Lucas O’Neil) from Good Theater’s production of “Clybourne Park.”

Photo by Stephen Underwood and Craig Robinson, courtesy of Good Theater

click image to enlarge

Tom Bloom, Tina Fabrique and Corey Gagne in the Portland Stage Company production of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

Photo by Aaron Flacke, courtesy of Portland Stage Company

click image to enlarge

Kurt Jenkins in the title role in the Ogunquit Playhouse production of “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.”

Photo by Gary Ng

  


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