Pomona College's Sontag Greek Theatre will be alive with Shakespearean productions this summer thanks to a new partnership with a local theatre company.
The Pomona College Theatre Department is partnering with Ophelia's Jump, a Claremont-based professional theatre company, to produce four plays, beginning in May and running deep into summer. Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor and Macbeth will be performed at the Sontag Greek Theatre, making them the outdoor venue's first fully produced theatrical productions since the early 1990s.
"Faculty in theatre, dance and related fields across The Claremont Colleges, as well as Claremont community members themselves, have long dreamed of some sort of summer theatrical programming in the Sontag Greek Theatre. The productions of Macbeth and The Merry Wives of Windsor planned for this summer will make these dreams a reality in an exciting way," says Pomona College Professor of Theatre and Department Chair James Taylor.
In addition to the summer Shakespeare plays, Ophelia's Jump and the Theatre Department will stage Eurydice and 33 Variations at Seaver Theatre and Allen Theatre. Ophelia's Jump will provide internships, with students participating as performers and technicians, and the company will collaborate with the department through master classes and workshops for Claremont Colleges students and area residents.
"In many ways, theatre is an apprenticeship system based on learning skills from experienced people. The presence of Ophelia's Jump will supplement the department's offerings of opportunities available to the students to develop skills necessary to produce theatre at a high level," says Prof. of Theatre Betty Bernhard, who serves on Ophelia's Jump's board of directors.
Veteran actor, director and teacher Beatrice Casagran PI '86 and actor and improv comedian Caitlin Lopez founded Ophelia's Jump, which was voted "Best Theatre Company" by Inland Empire Weekly readers last year.
"Someday I hope people from throughout Southern California will come to Claremont to see great serious theatre, just as people from this area now drive to Los Angeles and Orange County to see this type of work," says Casagran.
The show dates are as follows:
- Eurydice by Sarah Ruble (May 23-June 1, Seaver Theatre)
- A Midsummer Elizabethan Festival: Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor (July 17-27, Sontag Greek Theatre) and Macbeth (July 18-26, Sontag Greek Theatre)
- Moises Kaufman's 33 Variations (Sept. 5-14, Allen Theatre)
On Wednesday, March 26, at 5:30 p.m. in the Seaver Theatre Courtyard, there will be a ribbon cutting and reception to celebrate this new partnership.
A master class in "Characterization Through Movement" will be held on March 29, focusing on techniques developed by Russian theatre director and movement coach Andrei Droznin. There is no cost to attend for Claremont Colleges students; community members pay $40. To reserve a space, call (909) 624-1464.
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