Contact: Lynn Stewart, Centenary News Service, 318-869-5120 or 869-5709

Shenandoah Shakespeare Express to Present Three Plays at Centenary March 1-6


SHREVEPORT, LA -- The Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, an 11-member professional touring company based in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, will present seven public performances at Centenary College March 1-6.

It will mark SSE's eighth annual visit to the Centenary campus for the troupe, which has developed a national reputation for simple, fresh, accessible theater. The organization asserts that Shakespeare's plays work best when performed under the conditions for which they were originally designed -- on a simple stage, surrounded by an audience that shares the same light as the actors, each of whom plays several roles.

"Performances in this environment forge an intimacy between actor and audience rarely found in theater today," SSE organizers said. "The SSE's goal is to strip away 400 years of accumulated theatrical apparatus from Shakespeare's productions and, in doing so, restore the original vitality of his plays."

The plays in the group's 1999 "Vaulting Ambition Tour" and the performance times at Centenary are:

  • The Merchant of Venice, 7 p.m. on March 1 and 4 , and 2 p.m. on March 6,
  • Macbeth, 7 p.m. March 3 and 6, and
  • Francis Beaumont's The Knight of the Burning Pestle, 7 p.m. March 2 and 5.

    All performances will be at the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse on the Centenary campus. Ticket prices are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (65 and older), $7.50 for students, and $5 for children under 12.

    To reserve tickets, call the Centenary English Department at 318-869-5254 between 8 a.m. and noon and 1 and 5 p.m. on weekdays, or stop by Room 307 in Jackson Hall. Tickets will also be available at the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse box office one hour before each performance.

    The troupe will also present a convocation in Kilpatrick Auditorium at 11:10 a.m. Thursday, March 4 in Kilpatrick Auditorium.

    The Vaulting Ambition Tour marks the SSE's first presentation of a Renaissance play by a contemporary of Shakespeare's, Beaumont. The play, described as "a treasure of theatre and acting lore," is a rollicking comedy based on the premise that the Elizabethan/Jacobean audience expected to be part of the play.

    Directing the plays will be Jim Warren, managing director of the SSE, for The Merchant of Venice; Ralph Cohen, executive director of the SSE, for The Knight of the Burning Pestle; and David Johnson, professor of Theater Arts at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, for Macbeth.

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