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 “Twelfth Night” 7:30 p.m. Friday in Lee Hall’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.
“The ASC seemed to have it all with wonderful productions and a strong educational arm having worked with all different ages,” she said. “I visited them in Virginia and it was a wonderful experience.”
Clevinger said she was excited by the theatre company’s performances and the opportunity for Starkville students and residents to involve themselves with the professional actors.
“The performances they do are energetic and they really keep the audience in mind,” she said. “What a wonderful opportunity for students of all ages to be able to engage with these wonderful people who love what they do.”
Workshops are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday at both MSU’s McComas Hall and the Rosenzweig Arts Center in Columbus.
Thursday’s workshops include: “Cut with Our Own Dust,” a workshop where participants will explore the stage combat featured in Shakespeare’s works, watch professional demonstrations of such period fights and practice learned techniques in a safe environment; and “Within This Wooden O,” an overview workshop that considers the staging and elements of “Hamlet,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Macbeth,” “As You Like It,” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Friday’s workshops include: “O Excellent Motion,” an advanced staging workshop where participants will explore staging techniques and direct members of the ASC based on what they have learned; and “Concord of Sweet Sounds,” 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.
“I am so blessed with the outpouring of positive response to this idea of bringing different types and ages of people together,” she said. “What 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 don’t get a lot of exposure to around here.”
The American Shakespeare Center’s performance of “Twelfth Night” begins 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Lee Hall’s Bettersworth Auditorium with special music starting at 7 p.m.
For more information, call 662-325-3320 or visit http://188.8.131.52/Shakespeare/index.php .