UA experiments with Shakespeare

By Mia Proli Gable

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Shakespeare's plays have been entertaining and perplexing audiences since they were written over 300 years ago. Not only are they performed in their original state, they also have been adapted to reflect ideas of modern times. A theater arts class at the UA is experimenting with new ways to perform Shakespeare's plays and the results are being presented this weekend.

Shakespeare and Magic is acted by students enrolled in the experimental class "Collaborative Play Development." The idea for the production was developed by theater arts professor, Dr. Mary Z. Maher and professor of dance, Dr. John M. Wilson. The program implements the "theater plastique," a technique originated by Wilson.

"Theater palstique is a method of working for a certain kind of production," Wilson said. The process entails keeping the whole cast on the stage at all times, using them as scenery, props and costumes, even if the actors are not speaking. It also centers around the process, enabling for creative input from the cast, as well as the directors. "Everybody's creative interpretation enhances the production," Wilson said.

"Theater plastique" also utilizes innovativeness in order to foster creativity, because "a low budget keeps people more creative in terms of self-resourcefulness," Wilson added.

To Wilson, the most important aspect of "theater plastique" is the audience. He said that they have a highly creative imagination and under the influence of this process they can get involved as much as possible.

It's like a "massive living presence," Wilson said.

Shakespeare and Magic is a live dramatic, movement piece that involves the magical texts of Shakespeare's plays: A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Winter's Tale, Henry IV, Part I, The Tempest and Macbeth. It not only takes classic works and presents them in a new and different way, but it allows for students to be immersed in the creative process.

Shakespeare and Magic plays March 23-25 at the Laboratory Theatre at 8 p.m. Tickets are $4 for students and $5 general admission. For information call the Fine Arts Box Office at 621-1162.

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