Cape Ann Shakespeare Troupe is about to embark on its fifth season, which opens tonight with its production of “Shakespeare In Two Acts” at the Gorton Theater, home of the Gloucester Stage Company.
Joseph Stiliano, the founder of the troupe, said the theater group continues to grow. Actors range in age from a high school student to an octogenarian, and the troupe is comprised of business people, teachers and many others professions.
“The group is held together because we all share a love of theater and the works of William Shakespeare,” said Stiliano. New participants are always welcome, either on stage or behind the scenes.
Their first show “Shakespeare In Two Acts” is described as a program of comedy and tragedy juxtaposed, and consisting of “Visiting Lear” an adaptation of “The Tragedy of King Lear,” which is directed by Ray Jenness, and “Love on a Midsummer Night”, a 21st century take on “A Midsumer Night’s Dream,” directed by Nick Neyeloff. Both adaptations were written by Stiliano.
“I’ve been captivated by the character of Lear, even as a young actor, perhaps realizing that I would never get too old to play him,” said Stiliano. “Lear comprises such a large spectrum of the human condition, starting out comfortable and at ease with his royal standing and then shaken, destroyed, and consumed with bitterness and rage.”
Stiliano further stated that Shakespeare brings Lear to redemption by working through his own suffering and coming to identify and empathize with the pain and injustice inflicted on others.
“In the last of his life he becomes truly human,” he said.
“This is what Shakespeare writes about in all his plays, the human condition, anytime, anywhere in all segments of social standing,” said Jenness. “With Shakespeare, I’m always learning something new about myself and the world around me.”