The state’s only Shakespeare troupe will launch first statewide tour of 2016 later this month.
Vintage Theatre Company Founding Producer and Artistic Director Jason A. Young cordially invites audiences to attend a performance of The Rustic Mechanicals’ Folly of the Island tour of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
The Rustic Mechanicals, under the direction of Celi Oliveto, is the state’s only professional Shakepeare troupe. Touring three shows annually, their 2016 season begins on April 15 with a dinner theatre “Bard & BBQ” performance of The Tempest at The VTC Cabaret inside the Uptown Event Center in downtown Clarksburg, West Virginia.
Washington Square Pizzeria and Lounge is providing the BBQ portion of the “Bard & BBQ” event. The menu includes an all-you-can-eat buffet of BBQ ribs, chicken, baked beans, potato salad, mac-n-cheese, collared greens, macaroni salad, and warm bread.
“The front door of Washington Square is about 100 feet from our front door,” said Young. “It’s great when two groups that close can get together and create a cool event like this.”
Tickets for the April 15 dinner and a show are $20 and reservations are required. The doors open at 6:45 p.m. with the dinner beginning at 7:00 p.m. and the show starting promptly at 8:00 p.m.
“The Tempest is great,” said Young. “It was one of the last plays that Shakespeare wrote, and it is full of romance, magic, comedy, a little drama, a sword fight, and lots of stunning visual stuff. We think it’s a good season starter.”
Believed to have been written in 1610 and thought by most critics to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote on his own, The Tempest is set on a remote island where the sorcerer Prospero, rightful Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place using illusion and manipulation. He conjures up a storm to lure his usurping brother Antonio and the complicit King Alonso of Naples to the island. There, Prospero’s plot brings about the revelation of Antonio’s true nature, the redemption of the King, and the marriage of Miranda to the King’s son, Ferdinand.
The Rustic Mechanicals feature a cast of all West Virginia artists with Jim Matthews in the iconic role of Prospero, Madison Whiting as Miranda, Celi Oliveto as Antonio, Trina Byard as King Alonso, Kaleb Straley as Ferdinand, Sarah Young as Ariel, Isaac Covey as Caliban, Samantha Huffman as Gonzalo, Michael Vozniak as Sebastian, Justin Grow as Stephano, and Steve McElroy as Trinculo.
After the opening night event, The Folly of the Island tour will get underway with seven additional performances throughout the month of April. The troupe will be at the Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown on April 16-17, 2016 to complete the first weekend. The tour will pick back up at the High Gate Carriage House in Fairmont on Friday, April 22 before returning to the VTC Cabaret on April 23 for a special performance on Shakespeare’s birthday.
“On April 23 we are hosting the first ever Battle of the Bard,” said Young. “That is the state’s only youth Shakespeare competition. It will feature a free performance of The Tempest that evening for all the competitors and teachers. That show will have limited seats available for the general public.”
The second weekend of the tour concludes with a trip to Weirton, West Virginia for a Sunday matinee on April 24, 2016.
The Mechanicals will then finish off their The Folly of the Island tour with two school day performances for local student audiences on Friday, April 29 at East Fairmont High School.
“Last fall we performed Macbeth at the Clay Center in Charleston for nearly 1,500 high school students,” said Young. “We wanted to do something similar in this area with The Tempest and we have gotten a pretty nice response from local schools.”
The Vintage Theatre Company will handle the box office for all shows. Tickets for Bard & BBQ on April 15 are $20 and include dinner and a show. Tickets for both performances at the Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown on April 16 and 17 are $10. Tickets for April 22 in Fairmont, April 23 in Clarksburg and April 24 in Weirton are $12 for adults and $10 for all students and seniors.
Teachers wishing to bring students to either the 8:45 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. educational performances on April 29 need to make reservations by April 15. Tickets for students are $3, and teachers and chaperones are free.
All reservations can be made by e-mailing VintageTheatreCo@gmail.com or by calling 1-855-VTC-8588.
There will also be a special “pay-what-you-can” preview performance on Thursday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. at The VTC Cabaret as part of Clarksburg’s “Downtown Date Night.”
“We are very excited to get The Rustic Mechanicals out on the road for another year of bringing Shakespeare to West Virginia,” said Young. “Hopefully people can kick the tour off with us on April 15, but if not, hopefully they can catch a performance.”
- The cast of The Tempest
2. Celi Oliveto
3. Jim Matthews
Photos provided by The Vintage Theatre Company, LLC.