Anime and Shake­speare? They come to­gether in out­door per­for­mance

The Telegraph (Macon) - - News - BY MICHAEL W. PANNELL

You’ve likely never seen Shake­speare like this — or where you’ll be able to see it.

Mercer The­atre’s unique, anime ver­sion of “Romeo and Juliet” in clas­sic El­iz­a­bethan lan­guage is com­ing out­doors to Poplar Street as well as Mercer’s Tat­tnall Cen­ter for the Arts.

Two of the stu­dent’s eight per­for­mances will be out­doors near the east end of Poplar with the re­main- ing six at Tat­tnall on Col­lege Street.

“We wanted a con­cept young au­di­ences would be ex­cited about plus were look­ing for a way to dis­tin­guish be­tween Romeo and Juliet’s fam­i­lies,” said Scot J. Mann, di­rec­tor of the play and di­rec­tor of the­ater at Mercer Univer­sity.

“Our cos­tume de­signer, Katie Trot­ter, is im­mersed in anime, the Ja­panese style of an­i­ma­tion, and had the idea of us­ing anime de­sign. Anime uses western Euro­pean and eastern looks for cloth­ing so one fam­ily got one and one the other. Plus, Katie based each of our play’s char­ac­ter’s look on an ac­tual anime char­ac­ter and we’re us­ing Ja­panese katana, not sabers and swords. It’s all work­ing very well.”

Mann said the first night of dress re­hearsal, he saw how the cos­tumes changed stu­dent’s per­for­mances.

“Us­ing anime gives the play a mod­ern feel with­out mak­ing it con­tem­po­rary,” he said. “When our ac­tors first came out in cos­tume, the oth­ers cheered and shouted out the anime char­ac­ters they re­sem­bled. I had no clue — but they knew. The cos­tumes changed how they moved and ex­pressed their roles. It’s re­ally fun.”

Mann, a noted expert in stage com­bat, said he him­self had to learn new things to bring the katana ac­tion to the per­for­mance.

Then there was the play’s pac­ing.

“We’re us­ing an ex­cel­lent script treat­ment by John Ammerman that keeps the lan­guage but quickens the pace and em­pha­sizes ac­tion,” Mann said. “It changes struc­ture a bit and, though not writ­ten for anime, it’s per­fect for what we’re do­ing.”

Ammerman, a pro­fes­sional ac­tor, di­rec­tor, play­wright and pro­fes­sor at Emory Univer­sity, said in an email he and Mann are long-time friends and col­leagues and that he’s ex­cited about the script be­ing used for the pro­duc­tion.

Mann said the play’s out­door pre­sen­ta­tion on Poplar is spon­sored by the Sit­u­a­tion Room through a grant from the Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion of Cen­tral Ge­or­gia.

“We’re so happy to part­ner with the Sit­u­a­tion Room,” Mann said. “They’re eager to pro­mote the arts down­town and got a grant to do Shake­speare in the Park. We had the play­ers, they had the grant. It will be a fun ex­pe­ri­ence for those who come to the free show­ings and it of­fers a com­pletely dif­fer­ent at­mos­phere for our stu­dents. Be­ing at Tat­tnall, pack­ing up, per­form­ing down­town, then pack­ing up and go­ing back to Tat­tnall gives a real on­the-road ex­pe­ri­ence.”

WE’RE US­ING AN EX­CEL­LENT SCRIPT TREAT­MENT BY JOHN AMMERMAN THAT KEEPS THE LAN­GUAGE BUT QUICKENS THE PACE AND EM­PHA­SIZES AC­TION.

Scot J. Mann, di­rec­tor

SCOT J. MANN Spe­cial to The Tele­graph

Lau­ren Dreg­gors as Juliet, Mar­i­anna Bac­callao as Friar Lau­rence and Joey Mitchell as Romeo ap­pear in in Mercer The­atre’s out­door and in­door pro­duc­tion of “Romeo and Juliet.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.