“This gallant Hotspur, this all-praised knight”

In this summer’s Professional Company production of Henry IV, Tyler Rich will play hot-blooded Hotspur (the nemesis of Prince Henry “Hal”) and swaggering saber-rattling Pistol. Tyler will also serve as Fight Captain. Tyler has extensive experience in hand-to-hand combat, rapier & dagger, broadsword, sword & shield, knife, quarterstaff, single sword, and small sword. (So many weapons, so little time.) Tyler is also an experienced didgeridooist, although this skill will most likely not be used in Henry IV.

Tyler Rich

Tyler Rich

Tyler hails from from New Hampshire and has worked with this summer’s ProCo director, Michael Goldberg, as well as NDSF alums, Bill Brown and Kevin Asselin. Tyler studied at Plymouth State and lives in Chicago.

With acting experience at Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, American Players Theatre, First Folio Theatre, and many others, Tyler is an exciting addition to this summer’s Professional cast.

We have our king and his name is…Henry!

Henry Godinez has been cast as King Henry IV in this summer’s Professional Company production of Henry IV. Mr. Godinez is the resident artistic associate at Goodman Theatre and the curator of the Latino Theatre Festival. Here’s a video on his work at the Goodman.

Henry Godinez

Henry Godinez

Most recently at the Goodman, he directed Karen Zacarías’ The Sins of Sor Juana.  World premieres directed at Goodman include Karen Zacarías’ Mariela in the Desert, Regina Taylor’s Millennium Mambo and Luis Alfaro’s Straight as a Line.  Also at Goodman: José Rivera’s Boleros for the Disenchanted (also world premiere at Yale Repertory Theatre), The Cook by Eduardo Machado, Electricidad by Luis Alfaro, Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez, Red Cross by Sam Shepard (in Regina Taylor’s Transformations), the Goodman/Teatro Vista co-production of José Rivera’s Cloud Tectonics and the 1996–2001 productions of A Christmas Carol. Mr. Godinez’s other Chicago credits include Water By The Spoonful at Court Theatre, A Civil War Christmas at Northlight Theatre, A Year with Frog and Toad and Esperanza Rising for Chicago Children’s Theatre, Nilo Cruz’s Two Sisters and a Piano (Apple Tree Theatre/Teatro Vista co-production) and Anna in the Tropics for Victory Gardens Theater.  Mr. Godinez is the co-founder and former artistic director of Teatro Vista, where he directed Broken Eggs, El Paso Blue, Journey of the Sparrows, Santos & Santos and The Crossing. His other directing credits include work at Portland Center Stage, Signature Theatre Company in New York City, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Oak Park Festival Theatre, Colorado Shakespeare Festival and several seasons of Stories on Stage for WBEZ Chicago Public Radio. As an actor, Mr. Godinez appeared most recently in the Goodman/Teatro Buendia of Cuba 2013 world premiere of Pedro Páramo, as well Chicago Fire and several episodes of Boss. Born in Havana, Cuba, Godinez is the co-editor of The Goodman Theatre’s Festival Latino: Six Plays (NU Press), and serves on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Arts Council and Albany Park Theatre Project.  Mr. Godinez is the recipient of the 1999 TCG Alan Schneider Directing Award, the Distinguished Service Award from the Lawyers for the Creative Arts, and was honored as the 2008 Latino Professional of the Year by the Chicago Latino Network, and with the 2013 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Alumni Award.  Mr. Godinez is an associate professor in the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University.

We are excited to see Henry bring our titular king and father to life this summer.

Meet Falstaff! – Shakespeare’s Witty Rouge

Over the next few weeks we will be introducing you to the cast of our 2014 Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival. We begin with the merry knight, the bawdy bandit, the “villainous abominable misleader of youth,” Sir John Falstaff!

John Lister

John Lister

Ryan Producing Artistic Director Grant Mudge is pleased to announce that Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival veteran John Lister will play audience favorite Falstaff in this summer’s Professional Company production of Henry IV.

John returns to the Festival having previously appeared in Romeo and Juliet, Henry V and The Comedy of Errors. Chicago credits include: Show Boat (Lyric Opera of Chicago); The Crucible (Steppenwolf Theatre); Guys and Dolls (Marriott Lincolnshire); six seasons of A Christmas Carol (The Goodman Theatre); Yellow Moon, Heartbreak House, As You Like It (Writers Theatre); Lady Windermere’s Fan, Red Herring, She Stoops To Conquer, Inherit The Wind, Tom Jones (Northlight); Northanger Abbey (Remy Bumppo) and more than a dozen productions with Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Regional credits include productions with American Player’s Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Peninsula Players and The International Mystery Writer’s Festival. Film and Television credits include:  Public Enemies (Universal); Animals (Animals, LLC); Prison Break (FOX) and The Beast (A&E).

Born in Dundee Scotland, John was raised in West Lafayette Indiana. He received a Bachelors degree in Theatre Performance from Ball State University and a Masters degree in Acting from Michigan State University.

We look forward to John’s portrayal of Shakespeare’s beloved rouge, Sir John Falstaff!

As You Like It – Final Actors’ Post

Meet me in St. Louis, Louis, Meet me at the Fair.
Don’t tell me the lights are shining, anyplace but there.

For the final week of the tour, Team AYLI headed to St. Louis for the SAA Conference.  When we embarked on this tour back at the end of Jan, St Louis seemed like a distant landmark. I remember talking about going to the top of the Arch with Aaron, the Marketing Manager, back in O’Rourkes after the first show in Notre Dame; and wondering if I would be courageous enough to brave both the height and the enclosed space of the tram car.  Tuesday morning was D Day and it was a breeze…though also slightly breezy at the top and disconcerting to feel ground swaying beneath me.

The Arch in St. Louis

It was a great privilege to spend the week working alongside so many eminent scholars of the Bard. It was terrific to once again see Alan Dessen, who was so instrumental in taking care of the company back in the 90s and to meet Audrey Stanley, a wonderful actor, director and scholar who is battling to keep Santa Cruz Shakespeare alive and kicking in their beautiful venue on the West Coast.

I couldn’t help thinking how delighted Will would be to see so many folks, from so many countries, gathered together to share their responses to his work. We had slightly wondered how many of them would be interested enough in the actor’s perspective to come to the workshops and were delighted to see so many throughout the week. As ever, the order of the day was to offer the chance to practically engage with the text. We ran workshops on gender, verse and prose, multi-role playing and collaborative direction and, at each session, our aim was to offer exercises that actively explored these concepts rather than seated discussion.

One of the great joys of Shakespeare is the variety of perspectives, ideas and responses generated by his words. At every point of the Conference, there were multiple seminars happening, covering a multitude of concepts, ideas and interpretations. It is interesting though, that as soon as the words are performed, it is necessary to make a choice: to play the character and the situation as you see them. There is something magical about seeing the choices come alive as ACTION, and we saw that time and again this week. As Dan said in his session, it’s called a “play” for a reason and it was terrific to see so many great minds approach the words with a sense of play and to test ideas and choices with a sense of fun.

city-museumDowntown St Louis has its own temple to fun, play and creativity in The City Museum. A treasure trove of caves, climbing, sliding, and spectacle for kids of all ages. I conquered my cowardice for the second time in a week, to tackle the ten story slide and, after two or so hours giving free reign to my inner eight year old the world truly looked a little different.

Inevitably, with the final performances and thinking about the end of our US journey, I began thinking about the characters as they emerge from Arden at the end of the play. As much as it is a place of risk, discomfort and magic, it is also a place of fun. It’s fun and experimentation that’s at the heart of Rosalind’s game with Orlando and, with five actors inhabiting all the roles, our final Act is truly a giddy roundabout of fun with Rob’s unique celebration of Hymen as the ringleader. It seems to me that this sense of fun offers the possibility of change: both for us as actors as we play our way through the multitude of characters, but also for the characters themselves as they conclude the play. As Touchstone says in Act 5 (Alan Dessen’s favourite line in Shakespeare) “Much virtue in If…”

I have had a great three months touring the big and beautiful US of A.  Huge thanks to Scott Jackson and Deborah Gasper for their wonderful work and support at Notre Dame and of course to my fellow Arden Travellers.  See you in London for As You Like It Uk style other 22nd and 23rd April…the final performance on Shakespeare’s birthday a fitting end to our epic tour.

Proceed, proceed: we will begin these rites,
As we do trust they’ll end, in true delights.

— Duke Senior, Act 5 Sc 4.

As You Like It – Actors’ Post #10

Wyoming. Forever West!
Last week AFTLS went West to Laramie, Wyoming to find big skies, snowy mountains, more cowboys, and sell-out crowds.
The University of Wyoming students and local community filled the 375 seat Buchanan Theatre. The enthusiasm and energy pulsing through the Theatre Department at the university is immediately obvious. Leigh Selting and his team clearly do a great job at engaging both the university and the wider community with the Theatre program, and it was fantastic to see this reflected in audience numbers on both Friday and Saturday night.
I thoroughly enjoyed my double session with Leigh’s Junior and Senior Scene Study group on Tuesday and Thursday. It was great to have two sessions with the same group and to have students explore some of the findings from the first session in some speech work on Thursday.
Surveying the serene scenery...

Surveying the serene scenery…

Nature figured large this week, surrounded, as we were, by huge open vistas. I spent some of Sunday afternoon sitting in Saratoga Hot Springs talking with a couple of locals about how the crows had returned to Wyoming in the last week…thus heralding the slow start of Spring. It struck me how very (very!) far this was from my London world where Spring means a lighter coat, an umbrella, and maybe some daffodils for the dining room table. It got me thinking about how geography affects thought and character. Laramie is certainly a terrifically individual town, full of antique shops and cafes (quite frankly the best coffee of the tour was at Coal Creek!). Does the geographical space mean that there’s more mental space available for reflection and individual expression? Psychogeography or psychobabble? Discuss.

“O Rosalind! these trees shall be my books
And in their barks my thoughts I’ll character”
 — Orlando, As You Like It, Act 3 Sc 2.