'Bard to Go' goes to Bahamas

Eight students heading to Nassau to perform

By Briana Doolan | 9/28/11 11:49pm

This year’s Shakespeare Festival is branching out and taking its Bard to Go production beyond U.S. borders into the Bahamas.

The eight-member Bard to Go team will perform “Lovestruck” at the Shakespeare in Paradise Festival in Nassau, the Bahamas this weekend. In addition to playing at the festival, the team will also play in the Nassau secondary schools.

Grand Valley State University actors include Chaz Albright, Ryan Jackson, Sean Kelley, Allison Staley, Bridgett Vanderhoof and Brynhild Weihe, with student stage manager Lydia Benkert and student videographer Alyson Caillaud-Jones. Karen Libman, professor of theater and artistic associate with the festival, directs Bard to Go, and Katherine Mayberry, a professor and a GV Shakespeare Festival alumnus, is serving as dramaturg for the production.

This year is Bard to Go’s 10th anniversary. Since 2005, it has gone national and international.

“I was part of the group that decided that we needed something like Bard to Go,” Libman said. “About 15,000 students from other schools will come to see ‘Twelfth Night.’ That also means that some schools can’t make it. For this reason, we decided we needed Bard to Go for those who couldn’t make it to certain performances.”

Shakespeare in Paradise, which was conceived in 2008 by Ringplay Productions, aims to build capacity in the Bahamian cultural industries, provide visitors with a different experience and open up new markets to the Bahamas. The members of Ringplay Productions have over fifty years’ experience in Bahamian theatre and theatre production in general. One member, Philip Burrows, guest directed at GVSU in 2005.

“We always hear students saying how that never thought they could understand Shakespeare. Bard to Go tries to make its performances lively and entertaining,” Libman said. “We really try to use the acting to help students understand, learn and enjoy Shakespeare.”

“Lovestruck” will feature entertaining, recognizable characters in various scenes from Shakespearean plays on the theme of love. Scenes featured in this year’s play are excerpted from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Merchant of Venice,” “The Tempest,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” “The Comedy of Errors” and “Hamlet.”

Bard to Go will travel to West Michigan secondary schools after its trip to Nassau. A public showing of “Lovestruck” will take place on the GVSU Pew Campus in downtown Grand Rapids in the Loosemore Auditorium on Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

Bard to Go is offered as a class to students in all majors who audition for a part. Auditions occur in April each year.

For more info on the Bard to Go program, visit www.gvsu.edu/shakes.


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