Double, double, toil and trouble is coming to campus—but with some new twists.
The Southern California Shakespeare Festival, also known as SCSF, has been a fixture on the campus for 10 years. For their eleventh season, they are performing “Macbeth.” There will be 11 performances at Cal Poly Pomona and two at the School of Arts and Enterprise in Downtown Pomona.
“My dream is to bring free Shakespeare for the Pomona community,” says Linda Bisesti, artistic director of the SCSF.
The cast is doing a free community performance this season at the dA Center for the Arts in Downtown Pomona on August 22 at 7 p.m. for the Pomona Fringe Festival. They are also partnering with the Pomona Unified School district to do educational programs in spring 2016.
Guest director David Fox, a professor of theater at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, says he has directed Macbeth twice before. The challenge of performing Shakespeare in such a small space intrigued him, because it would be something he hadn’t done before.
“Among Shakespeare’s tragedies, ‘Macbeth’ is the shortest and most compact. It moves like a runaway train, so our challenge is to do it justice without losing the story,” he says. “A lot happens in a short amount of time.”
Many cast and crew members talk about the various challenges that the SCSF presents — including costuming, design, the timeline and more — but members say they’re excited about the learning experiences that each one brings.
“In the real world, a show goes for maybe a weekend, and you only have a day or two out [to prepare],” says Clayton Fournival, lighting designer and theater student. “This is a good opportunity to practice the time frame that you’ll experience in the real world.”
Performing in a small space also brings new opportunities that Spencer Saccoman, sound designer and theater student, appreciates.
“It gives me the ability to focus on creating a broader, more immersive soundscape, and be able to play with more avant-garde pieces,” he says. “I’ll create tension with the audience with sound.”
It also offers a chance for more collaboration between lighting and sound, which will be used to create the war-torn setting the technical crew and the director are going for.
The cast and crew has five Actor’s Equity Association (AEA) actors, along with eight alumni actors, two guest artists, nine current acting students and two students from the School of Arts and Enterprise. The students are looking forward to stepping their game up by working with professionals. This is the largest cast assembled by the SCSF.
“I’m excited to perform with the SCSF because we’ll have a chance to practice a professional work ethic,” Jasmine Mosebar, theater student, says. “Then we’ll bring it back to the school during the school year and set an example for our peers.”
For each one involved, the SCSF is a labor of love.
“At the end of the day, we are artists, and this is the art we are happy to labor over,” Saccoman says. “We create something that people can be immersed in, and enjoy and experience. If we leave one person with some kind of emotion and some kind of feeling, then I know I did my job.”
“Macbeth” opens on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 8 p.m., and has performances each weekend through Oct. 4. Performances are in the Studio Theatre, which is an intimate space of 88 seats, and tickets often sell out. Tickets are on sale now; the show on Friday, September 25 is already sold out.
The box office is open on Saturday performance nights from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and on our Sunday matinees from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a limited number of tickets available for purchase. Tickets on will call need to be picked up by 7:45 p.m. for Saturday night performances and by 1:45 p.m. on Sunday.
For a full performance schedule and for more information, visit www.southerncaliforniashakespearefestival.org. To purchase tickets for shows at Cal Poly Pomona, visit https://classcsupomona.tix.com. For tickets for the performances at the School of Arts and Enterprise, visit www.saetix.com.