AUSTIN, Texas—Actors From The London Stage (AFTLS), five of England’s most talented actors, will perform William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Sept. 22-25 in Austin and Round Top.
Presented by the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Notre Dame, the actors will spend a week on the Austin campus conducting classes and workshops in addition to the public performances.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be performed at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 22 and 7:30 p.m., Sept. 23-24 at the B. Iden Payne Theater on the university campus, and at 7 p.m., Sept. 25 at the Winedale Historical Center in Round Top. An exhibit, “A Most Rare Vision: Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” will be on display in the Ransom Gallery of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center through Oct. 10.
The five actors, veterans of the classical theater with experience in such companies as the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and other leading English theaters, will play all the roles in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Using subtle gestures, body movements and voice modulation rather than elaborate costumes or sets, this cast conveys all the action and shifts of character with ease and believability.
During the week of public performances, the actors will teach classes and workshops to university students and alumni. The actors will explore the relationship of page and stage, language and meaning, coach students in scenes from Shakespeare and other playwrights and help them to examine the many ways scenes can be understood and performed. They also will lead students in analyzing and speaking verse and teach them about metrical stresses and rhythm, cues, blocking and stage breathing.
The residencies add a unique dimension to the university’s education mission and also strengthen other programs that depend on links with the English theater. “Shakespeare in Performance,” the main course in the English Department’s Oxford Summer Program, has worked with British actors and directors from the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, the Globe and others since 1984, many of whom, such as Patrick Stewart, are also involved with AFTLS.
Tickets for the Austin performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” may be purchased through the Texas Box Office at 512-477-6060. Tickets may be purchased for the Winedale performance by calling 979-278-3530.
A schedule of AFTLS activities is available online.