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Actors From The London Stage company to give three performances of “The Tempest” at the Martel Theater, October 27-29, 2011.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Three performances of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” by the renowned company Actors From The London Stage will be presented free to the public by Vassar College, October 27-29 at 8:00pm in the Martel Theater of the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film. Reservations are required, and can be made by calling the Drama department box office at (845) 437-5599 or emailing boxoffice@vassar.edu. A seating chart for the Martel Theater can be viewed online at  http://www.tix.com/Images/MARTEL1.gif
 
Now in its 35th year, Actors From The London Stage (AFTLS) is one of the oldest touring Shakespeare theater companies in the world. The troupe tours five British Shakespearean artists -- currently Jennifer Kidd, Richard Neale, Laurence Pears, Dale Rapley, and Adam Smethurst -- who perform all the roles in a production, and represent such companies as the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
 
“Our company’s aim is to make Shakespeare’s words exert their magic and their power in performance, but we do this in a vital, and perhaps unconventional, way,” explained University of Notre Dame professor Peter Holland, who directs the program. “We have no massive sets to tower over the performers and no directorial concept to tower over the text of Shakespeare’s play. In fact, AFTLS does not have a stage director at all. Instead, the play has been rehearsed by the actors, working together to create theatre, cooperating with each other in their imaginative engagement with the play’s words.”
 
AFTLS’s Vassar performances will culminate a return weeklong residency at the college, once again providing students and faculty intimate opportunities both to observe extraordinary performances and to work together with one or two actors in smaller groups. AFTLS is widely regarded for classroom sessions that not only discuss drama, theater, and dramatic situations in depth, but also demonstrate the role of drama and embodied learning in the classroom.

Shakespeare’s fantastical “The Tempest” centers on Prospero, a sorcerer and the rightful Duke of Milan, who dwells on an enchanted isle with his daughter Miranda. Twelve years earlier, the duke's brother, Antonio, and Alonso, the King of Naples, conspired to usurp Prospero’s throne, and then set Prospero and Miranda adrift in a boat, marooning them. Prospero comes to be served on his island by Ariel, a spirit who he freed from a tree with magic, and Caliban, son of the witch Sycorax. When magic reveals to Prospero that a ship bearing his old enemies is sailing near the island, he summons a storm to wreck the ship. The survivors make it to shore in scattered groups, including Alonso’s son Ferdinand, with whom Miranda becomes enamored.

Actors From the London Stage was developed as an educational program by Homer Swander at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and renowned performer Sir Patrick Stewart was one of its founding artists. The company is now based in London, England, and at the University of Notre Dame, with academic tours booked through the auspices of Shakespeare at Notre Dame (http://www.nd.edu/%7eaftls/.)

This residency at Vassar is co-sponsored by the offices of the President and the Dean of the Faculty, and the departments of Drama and English.

Vassar College is located on Raymond Avenue in the Town of Poughkeepsie, and free on-campus parking is available. Directions to the campus can be found at http://www.vassar.edu/directions. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations or information on accessibility should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Saturday, October 15, 2011