Friday, February 17, 2017

All The World's a Stage

Many know of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, but few know of its founding. The festival did not actually start in Montgomery. It actually began as a summer program in Calhoun County's own Anniston in 1972. The original festival started in an old high school auditorium.
Martin Platt, known in the theatre world as a Shakespeare enthusiast, saw an opportunity, and through partnership and funding with the Alabama State Council on the Arts, he recruited unpaid actors from Pittsburgh and New York to host four productions, The Comedy of Errors, Hamlet, the Two Gentlemen of Verona and Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. For years, the company lived in Anniston, bringing large scale productions of classics to the southeast, but in 1985 ASF moved to its new home in Montgomery.
Thirty two years later, Shakespeare makes another triumphant return to Calhoun County, but this time it's at Jacksonville State for their production of The Tempest. The production runs February 16 through February 19 at the Ernest Stone Center for the Performing Arts.
This mystical production draws on the travel literature of its time and stories of violent windy storms causing fleets of ships to wreck. Shakespeare also seems to refer to the English colonial mentality of the time, the "What would I do if I king?" thinking.
 The tale begins as a tale of betrayal, with the wrongfully exiled conjuring a storm to shipwreck those he blames to an enchanted island. What mystical world will they enter? You'll have to see the show to find out!

The Tempest
Jacksonville State University's
Ernest Stone Center for the Performing Arts 
Feb. 16-18, 7 p.m., and Feb. 19, 2 p.m. Tickets are $10.

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