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.”
The cast, from the Cape Ann area, includes Nicole Bauke, Beth Bevins, David Cluett, Stephanie Cochran, Andrew Hoover, Matthew Recine, Rachel Sternlicht, and Joseph Stiliano.
“Visiting Lear” opened the first full season of the Cape Ann Shakespeare Troupe. The action is set in a nursing home, where an elderly man abandoned by his family drifts in and out of Lear’s tragedy.
“It was enthusiastically received and requested to be performed again,” said Stiliano.
“Love on a Midsummer Night” uses four players to portray eight characters: Lysander, Demitrius, Hermia, Helena, Oberon, Bottom, Puck, and Titania, who find themselves in a tangled plot of love and deception.
Performances run from Nov. 1-4 and Nov. 9-11. Their fifth season includes “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar” this winter, the troupe’s annual celebration of the bard’s birthday on April 23, 2013 and “Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” in May.
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3445, or at email@example.com.
If you go ... What: Cape Ann Shakespeare Troupe presents "Shakespeare In Two Acts," a program of comedy and tragedy When: Nov. 1, 2, 3, 9, 10 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 4 and Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. Where: Gorton Theatre (home of the Gloucester Stage Company) at 267 East Main St. in Gloucester Tickets are $15, general admission; $10, student; and $5 under 19. They may be purchased at the door or reserved online at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opening night tonight is a pay-what-you-will performance. The next production is "The Tragedy of Julius Caesar" opening Feb. 28. (There are still some roles open and backstage help is needed.) On April 23, 2013, the troupe celebrates Shakespeare's birthday. The final production of the season will be "Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" opening May 10. For more information, visit capeannshakespearetroupe.blogspot.com and Facebook. Anyone interested in helping may email the director, Joseph Stiliano, at email@example.com.