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By MATT CRANE
The works of William Shakespeare continue to dominate the cultural landscape of Mississippi State University as the Department of Communication prepares for the arrival of the American Shakespeare Center as it presents a professional performance of â€śTwelfth Nightâ€ť 7:30 p.m. Friday in Lee Hallâ€™s Bettersworth Auditorium.
Produced by Donna Clevinger, the ASC will also present public workshops for area high school students and community members ranging from subjects like staging, music and text analysis.
Collaborating with several departments at MSU as well as the Starkville Area Arts Council and the greater Starkville Development partnership, Clevinger said she was encouraged by the ASC after a personal visit last year.
â€śThe ASC seemed to have it all with wonderful productions and a strong educational arm having worked with all different ages,â€ť she said. â€śI visited them in Virginia and it was a wonderful experience.â€ť
Clevinger said she was excited by the theatre companyâ€™s performances and the opportunity for Starkville students and residents to involve themselves with the professional actors.
â€śThe performances they do are energetic and they really keep the audience in mind,â€ť she said. â€śWhat a wonderful opportunity for students of all ages to be able to engage with these wonderful people who love what they do.â€ť
Workshops are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday at both MSUâ€™s McComas Hall and the Rosenzweig Arts Center in Columbus.
Thursdayâ€™s workshops include: â€śCut with Our Own Dust,â€ť a workshop where participants will explore the stage combat featured in Shakespeareâ€™s works, watch professional demonstrations of such period fights and practice learned techniques in a safe environment; and â€śWithin This Wooden O,â€ť an overview workshop that considers the staging and elements of â€śHamlet,â€ť â€śRomeo and Juliet,â€ť â€śMacbeth,â€ť â€śAs You Like It,â€ť and â€śA Midsummer Nightâ€™s Dream.â€ť
Fridayâ€™s workshops include: â€śO Excellent Motion,â€ť an advanced staging workshop where participants will explore staging techniques and direct members of the ASC based on what they have learned; and â€śConcord of Sweet Sounds,â€ť a workshop looking at the song-writing and song placement used in ASC productions and participants will have the opportunity to compose and perform music from one of the plays.
Working on the project since 2011, Clevinger secured the MSU Cross College Research Award and grants from the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau, SAAC, Mississippi humanities Council, Mississippi Arts Commission and the South Arts Award.
Clevinger said she worked with several MSU faculty members including Christopher Snyder, Gary Meyers, Mark Goodman, Ray Vaughn, Jude Landry, Tommy Anderson and community leaders to secure the educational experience.
â€śI am so blessed with the outpouring of positive response to this idea of bringing different types and ages of people together,â€ť she said. â€śWhat a wonderful opportunity to come to a university or fine arts center and watch professional actors do a workshop for your students that might triggers some wonderful gifts out of them and take them to a place we donâ€™t get a lot of exposure to around here.â€ť
The American Shakespeare Centerâ€™s performance of â€śTwelfth Nightâ€ť begins 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Lee Hallâ€™s Bettersworth Auditorium with special music starting at 7 p.m.
For more information, call 662-325-3320 or visit http://18.104.22.168/Shakespeare/index.php.