“I’ve always enjoyed Shakespeare and I’ve never had an opportunity to approach Shakespeare from this angle,” Gibson said. “Normally when you do Shakespeare, you do an entire play that he has written, whether it be ‘A Midsummer [Night’s Dream]’ or ‘Hamlet’ or so on and so forth. Having it broken up into different scenes was very interesting to me and I wanted to give it a try. Think of it like ‘SNL’ [‘Saturday Night Live]’ — a bunch of little skits. They don’t last very long. So in order to get that from Shakespeare, we’ve taken little scenes that he has written from different comedies.
“... So there’s scenes from ‘Tempest,’ ‘Midsummer,’ ‘Much Ado About Nothing,’ ‘Merry Wives of Windsor,’ even one from ‘Hamlet.’ But instead of having a sketch comedy, it’s more of just a little scene that begins and ends. You don’t really need to know the entire backstory of all the characters in order to enjoy the scene. And I wanted to include a scene from ‘Hamlet’ or a scene from a play that wasn’t known for comedy ... [for people] to know that he can write comedic scenes in tragic or historical plays.”
To be held at the Clarence Brown Conference Center’s Bartow Amphitheater, the production will be presented Aug. 10 at 7 p.m. The cast will feature nine members, most of whom will be portraying multiple parts: Mike Davis as Touchstone; Robert Trammell as Caliban, Demetrius, Hamlet and Thisbe; Will Brooks as Lysander, Petruchio, Horatio and Pyramus; Tony Thomasson as Stephano, Jacques, Babtista and Dogberry; Mallory Holder as Trinculo, Borachio and Wall; Meghann Humphreys as Mistress Page, Helena and Audrey; Corinne Scott as Mistress Ford, Watchman and Lion; Parris Sarter as Sir Oliver Martext, Katherine and Conrade; and Donna Young as Osric, Sexton and Quince.
“One of my favorite things about this production is watching the actors change in-between their characters,” Gibson said. “Some of them will be in a scene, exit and come right back on in the next scene in a completely different character and it’s very cool to watch them do it. There’s a lot of different aspects to that. With the costumes, they’ll have the standard costume they’ll be wearing but we’ll incorporate little things like hats or shawls or something like that so they can tell this is a different character.
“And from a director’s standpoint, I really did challenge them because I wanted to have that distinction for the audience [not] to get confused about is this the same character, is this a different character? So I wanted some different physicalities, different voices to help the audience understand that ‘I’m watching a different character.’”
With the Second Saturday Shakespeare series wrapping up this month, the offering has attracted numerous devoted patrons since it started in June.
“So far I think it’s gone over very well,” said Morgan Brooks, artistic director for StageWorks and coordinator of the Second Saturday Shakespeare series. “We have a group of audience members that have been coming to every single one, so we’re really pleased that we’ve kind of built up a following now. That’s nice to start to recognize the people who come to see our shows and, I think, the comedy one is a good one to end with. It’s a little bit lighter. It’s a little bit more accessible for some people.
“So that maybe now that the word has gotten around, they can come see something that they’ll have a good time watching and be able to follow. ... I want them to take away that if it was funny back then in Shakespeare’s day, it can still be funny today. That has never really changed. So I want them to know that just because it’s in Elizabethan English doesn’t mean that they won’t get it. There are still things that they will find funny.”
Tickets for the upcoming shows will be $10 for general admission and free for children 12 and younger. For more information, call the Clarence Brown Conference Center, 5450 State Route 20 in Cartersville, at 770-606-5763.