The Two Gentlemen of Verona

"Every member of the cast is extraordinary...brings out the best in...one of Shakespeare's earliest plays." —The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

 

The Comedy of Errors

"...A great success!... A packed-house audience was delighted by the twists and turns of this tale of mistaken identity." —The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

 

Hamlet

"I was...completely blown away....I have read Shakespeare most of my life but nothing compares to seeing it acted on the stage." —Sharon K., audience member of the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre 2014 season

 

Pippin

"...amazing performance. The show was perfectly cast and simply outstanding! Bravo!"--Michelle C., 2014 AST Audience Member

 

Arkansas Times

by David Koon

http://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/dracula/Content?oid=1217323

The Arkansas Shakespeare Festival has made a habit out of throwing curveballs in its annual salute to The Bard. One of this year’s examples was especially exciting to Yours Truly, given that I was a vampire lit freak long before anybody heard of “Twilight” or Sookie Stackhouse. Then again, it’s hard to think of a better pairing than Shakespeare and Bram Stoker. Both wrote well about bloodsuckers, though ol’ Bram’s were of the literal variety while Shakespeare’s were much more apt to be feeding on more figurative heartsmilk.

In short: All those hours drilling actors on Shakespeare leading up to the festival have paid off in spades for “Dracula,” which turns out to be a genuinely thrilling time at the theater.

Though the sets by veteran designer Doug Gilpin are spare, rich lighting and sound — along with a tiered stage and sometimes-transparent-sometimes-opaque curtains — make the production lush and more mysterious. That deep stage and gauzy curtain are used to great effect in scenes dealing with flashbacks to Jonathan Harker’s torturous sojourn in Transylvania as a guest of the Count.

The acting, as with all the Shakespeare Festival productions I’ve seen, is first rate. One clear standout is Greyson Lewis as Renfield, who plays Dracula’s John the Baptist with a flailing, Puck-like glee. Also fine are Tracie Thomason as Mina and Paul Saylor as Harker, both of them navigating the slippery slope from carefree and in love to terrified and hunted believably enough to create suspense. Nathan Hosner is also good as Count Dracula, though we don’t see much of him. As in the book, Dracula is often the imagined threat lurking just out of the edge of the light, and that works here to good effect.

The production could have been more adventurous with the character of Dracula. Hosner is decked out in a version of the classic Dracula garb, with red waistcoat and black cape, and is clearly channeling Bela Lugosi’s famous performance. The effect, in this post-”Twilight” world, is to leave the Granddaddy of All Vamps looking dated and campy. A bit more of a dark and subdued look and mannerism could have added a new facet to the character without adding a word.

Even at that, “Dracula” is a good time at the theater, full of fine performances and satisfying stagecraft. Unlike its namesake, it definitely does not suck.

“Dracula” concludes at Reynolds Hall 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 1, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 3.

Bear with us.

A finished product will be up and running October 20, 2010.

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We appreciate your patience as we go through this process. Thank you.

Bard Ball 2011: Arkansas Artists Pay Tribute to the Bard

BARD BALL 2011: ARKANSAS ARTISTS PAY TRIBUTE to the BARD

Friday, February 18  | 6:30 – 9pm

You’re invited to an exclusive performance at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion.
Reception starts at 6:30pm. Live performances start at 7:30pm. (more…)

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