Inaugural Southern California Shakespeare Festival Pairs Local Professional Actors With Students

Inaugural Southern California Shakespeare Festival Pairs Local Professional Actors With Students
The cast of Shakespeare's King John do a read through in preparation for their performances starting Sept. 22.

The Theatre department is working with local professional actors to develop the inaugural Southern California Shakespeare Festival in the university's Studio Theater (Building 25, Room 110). The festival features performances of two early Shakespearean plays:  romantic comedy Two Gentlemen of Verona from Sept. 8-17 and historical drama King Johnfrom Sept. 22-Oct. 2.

The brainchild of assistant professor Linda Bisesti and lecturer Peter Uribe, the Southern California Shakespeare Festival will provide the local region a chance to enjoy Shakespeare's classic works each year, while providing collaborative opportunities and a creative outlet for professional actors and students from Cal Poly Pomona and local high schools.

Performing Two Gentlemen of Verona will be 10 Cal Poly Pomona Theater students and alumni. Show times are 8 p.m. Sept. 8-10 and Sept. 15-17, with a reception scheduled Sept. 10.

“The company is trying something different with the Two Gentlemen of Verona,” says Aaron C. Thomas, the play's director and a recent Cal Poly Pomona alumnus. “This show is an attempt to work in a way similar to the way Shakespeare would have been performed hundreds of years ago: that is, without sets, lighting and an over abundance of rehearsal.”

King John will be staged by eight professional actors (including Bisesti as Queen Eleanor) along with nearly a dozen students. The show begins at 8 p.m. Sept. 22-24 and Sept. 30-Oct. 1. The festival closes with a 2 p.m. matinee Oct. 2. The reception will be Sept. 23.

“Shakespeare wrote about things that are so universal, they're still just as relevant today,” says Uribe, who will be directing the King John performance. With the things going on in the world today, I think people will find King John very relevant. The play asks some very interesting questions.”

Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. For more information, call (909) 869-3900.