Oglethorpe Theatre Presents ‘Bard’s Best!’

The OU Blog recently caught up with  the cast and director of Bard’s Best!, a collaboration between Georgia Shakespeare and the OU Theatre Program that stars a versatile company of six actors performing Shakespeare’s greatest hits. Favorite selections from the Bard’s most beloved plays leap from the page onto the Oglethorpe stage including Hamlet, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, As You Like It and Much Ado About Nothing—just to name a few!  Two performances remain: Friday and Saturday, September 23 & 24 at 8:00 p.m.  Free with a Petrel Pass or $7 general admission. Tickets at the door only.

OU Blog: Tell me more about the play.

Allen O’Reilly, director: Bard’s Best! is a wonderful compilation of Shakespeare’s best plays, scenes and monologues…It embellishes the versatility of the actors as they are all cast as more than one character.

OU Blog: What have you enjoyed most about this experience?

O’Reilly: The collaboration between the Theatre program and Georgia Shakespeare has proven to be very beneficial to both the students and the seasoned theater professionals. Many of the students cast in this play are recipients of the Georgia Shakespeare and the James E. Oglethorpe Scholarships, and this production has given them a unique opportunity to work with theatre professionals.

Sengens Amy-Cupp ’14: This experience has been very hands-on. I did all the hair and make up for the show, but along with it I also learned about scenic design.

Laura Roberts ’15: I learned how to operate sound and light board, which are great technical skills to have. Working with the director has also been invaluable experience. He is a professional actor and director, which made him a very good professor.

Seth Langer ’13: It is exciting to think that this play may be a first exposure to Shakespeare, maybe even theatre, for some of the audience members, and I am proud to be part of their experience.

OU Blog: Was Shakespeare a challenge?

O’Reilly: Shakespeare is a difficult material and the language presents a challenge. I am very proud of the achievements of the students. They worked very hard and even spent the summer studying their lines. We gave them the scripts back in May and they came back prepared to work. I am proud to have directed this play, worked with them and to have the Georgia Shakespeare’s name on this production.

Langer: Shakespeare is a lot of fun. It is a challenge but it is also very rewarding at the end. Allen O’Reilly has been amazing as a director and in helping us tackle Shakespeare. It is a challenge but it is not intimidating. I have been able to relate it what we have covered in CORE, and also understand the context of the play better because of CORE. As every OU student knows, CORE relates to everything in life.

OU Blog: Students keep saying how much they have learned from you as a director, Mr. O’Reilly. Would you say they taught you something, too?

O’Reilly: Indeed they did. They met and exceeded my expectations. I hope that my peers will come and see the play and see for themselves that students can be just as prepared as professional actors. They took directions very well and were always ready to take notes. Count on students to have pen and paper handy. This is something professional actors can learn from students.

OU Blog: Why should people come and see the play?

O’Reilly: Shakespeare is better appreciated and understood when on stage—not on paper. His work was made to be performed. This play is geared toward students, to help them understand Shakespeare and take the intimidation out of the equation. Our audience will get to experience the emotions, movement, music and passion that is Shakespeare. Every actor has their shining moment in this play, but at the end of the day it is about showing their work and what they are capable of.

Kristin Butler ’14: This is my first Shakespeare experience as an actress and I now understand the difference between reading Shakespeare and seeing it come to life. There is no comparison. Continue reading

OU Theatre Students In the Spotlight On and Off Stage

Rising senior Elizabeth Lanier greets a young fan after a recent Jungle Book performance. Her character, a monkey called Bhopla (pronounced "Bop-la") is a big hit with fans. She also plays Mowgli's mother, Messua.

This summer, Elizabeth Lanier ’12 and Kyle Brumley ’12 have had to wear many hats—literally. As Georgia Shakespeare interns, they have been acting in the company’s summer productions, performing in The Tempest, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Jungle Book, all in repertory through late July. Both Kyle and Elizabeth are the first Georgia Shakespeare Scholars to work as interns during the summer season, and though they may be trainees, their schedules alone suggest that their jobs are the real thing.  

Jungle Book is a blast,” exclaims Elizabeth, who hopes to work as an actor, choreographer, and a costume designer after graduation.  “During the rehearsal period we worked 14-hour days…now that [most] shows are in repertory, we typically do Jungle Book in the morning and then either The Tempest or Antony & Cleopatra at night, plus three shows on Saturday and two on Sunday.  During the day we have been having understudy rehearsals which is another great opportunity for character development.  The internship is 200 percent worth it!” 

Kyle Brumley '12 (center) onstage during the Jungle Book.

But, Elizabeth and Kyle aren’t the only Petrels making their marks in the world of theatre.  Within the past year, several OU theatre students have been awarded exciting professional opportunities.

  • Alexandria Ducksworth, a 2011 graduate, was a member of the Apprentice Company at Horizon Theatre in Atlanta and her play, Tell-Tale Board, was produced in a festival of plays by young playwrights.
  • Weston Manders ’13 and Kyle Brumley ’12 completed prestigious internships at the Alliance Theatre Company in Atlanta.
  • 2011 graduate Britton Buttrill became an Artistic Associate for Pinch ’n’ Ouch Theatre. Check out their edgy current season: www.pnotheatre.org
  • Jessica DeMaria ’11, was hired as the Education Coordinator for Horizon Theatre. She also directed The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) at North Fulton Drama Club. (Ben Silver ’13 performed in this production.) She also works as an Instructor at The Center for Puppetry Arts.
  • Ben Silver ’13 is teaching improv at Camp Barney this summer.

Several students worked with Georgia Shakespeare on various projects, or are a part of GS’s 2011 Summer Season:

  • Danielle Hitchcock ’13 was production manager for the 2011 High School Acting Competition and currently is a Box Office Assistant.
  • Seth Langer ’13 is the Company Manager Assistant and Assistant Stage Manager for The Jungle Book.
  • Ryan Boland ’14 is a Front of House Assistant and Box Office Assistant.
  • Justin Munson ’14 is a Front of House Assistant.
  • Racheal Sharp ’13 is House Manager and Box Office Assistant.
  • Chris Richardson ’14 is a Directing Assistant for The Jungle Book.

Congratulations to these thespian Petrels!