A campus of the Connecticut State University
Theatre in New York 1998
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE . . .
Eastern Connecticut State University is presenting "Bits of the Bard,98 - Comings and Goings" as part of the CSU Off-Broadway Showcase of Student Talent taking place at Theatre Row Theatre (42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues) on Thursday, May 28th through Saturday, May 31st at 8pm. The ECSU actors and directing faculty involved all took part in the week-long Shakespeare acting workshops led by James Simmons and Clare Byam Shaw of Tour de Force of England during their residency at ECSU in February. "The object of the company (Tour de Force) is to produce entertainment of a high international standard; to educate and encourage younger audiences; to develop and promote European cultural projects to the wider international community."
"Bits of the Bard" encompasses many British techniques and approaches learned in the workshops. The performers truly found the fun in the array of comedic bits of Shakespeare compiled for presentation. This show compiled and directed by Ellen Faith Brodie, Director of Theatre at ECSU, includes numerous short scenes and sonnets which immediately introduce the audience to some of Shakespeare's most playful characters. These pieces were purposely worked out of context of the plays so that audiences could delight in the characters' verbal and physical exchanges whether familiar or not with the original texts.
These Shakespearean excerpts are entrances and exits full of comic physical bits, hence the name "Bits of the Bard," as well as full of the wordplay for which Shakespeare is so famous. Sandra Evans-Abbott, Adjunct Theatre teacher at ECSU, co-directed this show focussing on the British approach to voice and diction while Brodie focussed on the physicalization of Shakespeare and choral delivery. Both functioned as acting coaches. Bob Ritz, Technical Director at ECSU, acts as Lighting Designer and David Howard has provided the bits and pieces of costuming so in keeping with the minimalist concept of "Bits of the Bard, '98."