Boise loves the Bard—and especially this year, which marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death. Following the annual Idaho Shakespeare Festival
, Shakespeare's "First Folio"
came through town in August and September and, this month, the City of Trees will play host to one of the world's oldest and most unique Shakespeare theater companies.
Actors From The London Stage are participating in a week-long residency at Boise State
, co-sponsored by Boise State’s Hemingway Literary Center. Only five actors comprise AFTLS, which visits nearly 20 American universities each year, focusing on a different Shakespeare play. The fall 2016 tour features the tragic drama Richard III
“We, from our very beginning, have been a five-hand troupe,” said AFTLS Audience Development Manager Aaron Nichols. “These five actors play every role in the production; and, for this particular production, there are 27 roles. If you have not seen this 'trunk-show' type aesthetic, it’s really remarkable to see an actor―with the donning of a cap, or the flipping of a scarf or something like that―transform himself or herself into another character. It's just marvelous to watch.”
AFTLS is offering two free performances of Richard III
on Friday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 22. The company is also conducting a series of workshops for members of the public, and Treasure Valley high-school and college students.
The visit was made possible by the English Major's and Theater Major’s associations at Boise State, which secured a $6,000 grant and raised an additional $15,000 from the university's English and Theater departments.
"I was particularly excited because the workshops that the AFTLS will be conducting―on how to represent yourself on stage, script writing, delivery, etc.―will give students a chance to work with professionals at the top of their game, which is really a once in a lifetime experience,” said BSU English major Andrew Ridgeway, who helped spearhead the fundraising campaign.
Edward “Mac” Test, associate professor of English literature at Boise State University, agreed, saying the production of Richard III
should have a dramatic impact—literally—on his students.
“This particular play really resonates with the current political climate,” said Test, noting he can see an, “association between Richard III and Donald Trump.”
"Shakespeare's villains often treat the world as their playground and all the people in it as instruments of their own egotistical advancement,” said Test. “They are great manipulators and can often sway the masses―if not personally, then through surrogates, as Richard III does with the Duke of Buckingham when he stages a rally to get the citizens to support King Richard.”
Schedule of Remaining Events (all hosted at the Boise State Special Events Center):
Thursday, Oct. 20
10:30-11:45 a.m.—All the World's a Stage: How Theater Relates to Us Today.
Friday, Oct 21
7 p.m.—Evening Performance of Richard III
Saturday, Oct 22
1–2 p.m.—High School/Community Workshop: Shakespeare Monologues.
7 p.m.—Evening Performance of Richard III.