More in store for Shakespeare 2016!

Year-long celebration of Shakespeare continues with multiple campus events

Sutton Travis

A Shakespearean feast. Elizabethan music. Traditional Shakespeare films and adapted plays with a modern twist. If there is any sort of Shakespeare-related event someone can imagine, Washington and Lee is probably going to host or perform it this year.

Shakespeare 2016!, W&L’s year-long commemoration of the four-hundredth anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, will continue with multiple performances, speakers and festivities during winter term.

  The series, “Your Favorite Professor’s Favorite Shakespeare Film,” will begin Jan. 26 in Stackhouse Theater at 7 p.m. with the showing of Kenneth Branagh’s 1989 movie “Henry V,” chosen by Chemistry Professor Erich Uffelman.

Upcoming Shakespearean-themed plays include a student performance of Ann-Marie MacDonald’s Good Night Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet, in the Johnson Theater Feb. 4-6 at 7:30 p.m. The play focuses on a young English professor who travels through Shakespeare’s Othello and Romeo and Juliet in her subconscious, learning more about herself and the plays in the process.

Shakespearean-themed performances will continue with Music Professor Gregory Parker presenting a voice recital Feb. 14 at 3 p.m. in Wilson Concert Hall. The recital will feature 21 pieces by composers who were influenced by Shakespeare across various time periods and backgrounds, including Eric Coates, Roger Quilter, Madeleine Dring, Michael Tippett and Gerald Finzi.

“Each piece of music takes on a unique personality and becomes something like a friend to the singer,” Parker said. “I suppose a sentimental favorite for me is Finzi’s song set, Let Us Garlands Bring, that I sang for the first time nearly 30 years ago when I was in college. Finzi excelled at setting texts, and he captured the essence of each poem so beautifully that I never tire of those songs.”

Parker also selected Shakespeare as set by Igor Stravinsky and Ernest Chausson, as well as Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet as told in Italian and French by Giuseppe Verdi and Charles Gounod, respectively.

“It seems that every conceivable way one can feel or think can be expressed in

Shakespearean verse,” Parker said. “I think Shakespeare’s relevance will continue in perpetuity because his words speak to the human condition.”

A professional five-member troupe from Actors From The London Stage will conduct a week-long residency and hold in-class theatre workshops the week of Feb. 15. The troupe will also be giving full-length performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream Feb. 16-18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Johnson Theater.

“I’m very much looking forward to the A Midsummer Night’s Dream performances,” Hank Dobin, English Professor and organizer of Shakespeare 2016! said. “I’ve seen this company perform before and it’s all really wonderful. It’s always interesting to see how they can stage a whole play with a very limited cast. I would say that is a highlight.”     

Upcoming speakers include Katharine Maus, English Professor at the University of Virginia, who will present a lecture entitled “Caesar’s Will” March 5 at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, and Brian Levack, History Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, who will present “Demonic Possession and the Theater in Shakespearean England” March 17 at 4:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium.

Other future events include a Shakespeare feast in the Marketplace featuring Elizabethan-era foods and recipes, and a celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday with refreshments and entertainment during the first week of spring term. Dates for these events have not yet been set.