Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

03 September 2005

Two Gentlemen of Verona Press Release

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INAUGURAL SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
PAIRS LOCAL PROFESSIONAL ACTORS WITH CAL POLY POMONA STUDENTS


Cal Poly Pomona is working with local professional actors to develop the inaugural SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL in Cal Poly Pomona's Studio Theater (Building 25, Room 110). The festival features performances of two early Shakespearean plays: romantic comedy Two Gentlemen of Verona from Sept. 8-17 and historical drama King John from Sept. 22-Oct. 2.

The brainchild of Cal Poly Pomona assistant professor Linda Bisesti and lecturer Peter Uribe, the Southern California Shakespeare Festival will provide the local region a chance to enjoy Shakespeare's classic works each year, while providing collaborative opportunities and a creative outlet for professional actors and students from Cal Poly Pomona and local high schools.

Performing Two Gentlemen of Verona will be 10 Cal Poly Pomona theater students and alumni. Show times are 8 p.m. Sept. 8-10 and Sept. 15-17, with a reception scheduled Sept. 10.

"The company is trying something different with the Two Gentlemen of Verona," said Aaron C. Thomas, the play's director and a recent Cal Poly Pomona alumnus. "This show is an attempt to work in a way similar to the way Shakespeare would have been performed hundreds of years ago: that is, without sets, lighting and an over abundance of rehearsal."


King John will be staged by eight professional actors (including Bisesti as Queen Eleanor) along with nearly a dozen students. The show begins at 8 p.m. Sept. 22-24 and Sept. 30-Oct. 1. The festival closes with a 2 p.m. matinee Oct. 2. The reception will be Sept. 23.

"Shakespeare wrote about things that are so universal, they're still just as relevant today," said Uribe, who will be directing the King John performance. "With the things going on in the world today, I think people will find King John very relevant. The play asks some very interesting questions."

Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. For more information, call (909) 869-3900. Cal Poly Pomona is located at 3801 W. Temple Ave. in Pomona. Parking permits are required, and can be purchased for $5 at the Visitor Information booth along Kellogg Drive.

CAST
The cast of the Two Gentlemen of Verona is comprised mainly of alumni from Cal Poly Pomona. Of the ten cast members, five are recent graduates and three are currently in attendance at Cal Poly. The actors are all talented comedians, and a majority perform in various improvisational comedy troupes across Southern California.

CONCEPT
The company is trying something different with the Two Gentlemen of Verona. This show is an attempt to work in a way similar to the way Shakespeare would have been performed hundreds of years ago: that is, without sets, lighting and an over abundance of rehearsal. Shakespeare's acting company would also have had no more than fourteen actors playing all the characters. The Two Gentlemen of Verona contains twenty-one characters, and we chose for this show to have a cast of ten, which means that actors play two and often three roles over the course of the evening. And I know it's a radical stance to take, but it is my belief that Shakespeare's comedies ought to actually be funny, and the company works with that in mind. Still, though laughter is our king, we treat Shakespeare's story and his language with the utmost respect and affection.

DIRECTOR
Aaron C. Thomas is a young, up-and-coming director and recent graduate of CSU Pomona. His credits at Cal Poly include Closer, The Sin Project: Four Short Plays by Thornton Wilder, Valparaiso, The Long Christmas Dinner and the compilation Voices from the Y Generation. He has also directed Gross Indecency: the Three Trials of Oscar Wilde for Alpha Psi Omega and The Taming of the Shrew for Prizm Productions. For Southern California Shakespeare Festival he has worked in various capacities on readings of Love's Labour's Lost, Romeo & Juliet, and most recently As You Like It. He is happy and proud to be a part of the inaugural season of Southern California Shakespeare!