The state’s only Shakespeare troupe will launch its final statewide tour of 2017 this month.
Vintage Theatre Company’s Founding Producer and Artistic Director Jason A. Young cordially invites audiences to attend a performance of The Rustic Mechanicals’ Forget & Forgive Tour of William Shakespeare’s King Lear.
King Lear has ruled for many years. As age begins to overtake him, he decides to divide his kingdom amongst his children, living out his day without the burden of power. A proud man, he allows vanity to cloud his judgement, believing that he can relinquish the crown, but enjoy the same authority and respect he has always known. Misjudging his children’s loyalty, he soon finds himself stripped of all the trappings of state, wealth, and power he had taken for granted. Alone in the wilderness, he is left to confront the mistakes of a life that has brought him to this point.
The Rustic Mechanicals, founded by Celi Oliveto, is the state’s only professional Shakespeare troupe. Touring three shows annually, their final show of 2017 begins its tour with a trip to The Tamarack in Beckley, West Virginia.
“This is our second consecutive fall trip to The Tamarack,” said Young. “Last year, it was for only one performance; and now this year it is for two. We are very honored that they are having us back.”
Tamarack performances will be held on Friday, October 13th and Saturday, October 14th. Both performances will feature dinner and a show with the event beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The first weekend concludes with a 3:00 p.m. matinee on Sunday, October 15th at The Landmark Studio for the Arts in Sutton, West Virginia.
“The Landmark is a new tour stop for us,” said Young. “But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been wanting to be there. The Landmark is well known as one of the best theatre companies in the middle of our state, and I am excited to build a relationship with all involved in Sutton.”
The second weekend of The Forget & Forgive Tour kicks off with two performances at the Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown, West Virginia on Thursday, October 19th and Friday, October 20th.
The Thursday evening performance is set for an 8:00 p.m. start time, and the Friday evening performance will have a dinner and a show package with the meal being provided by Tommy & Tasia from Madeline Marie’s Catering and beginning at 6:30 p.m.
“We did a sold out, delicious, Bard & BBQ at the MAC with Tommy & Tasia in the spring with Romeo & Juliet,” said Young. “We will have a different menu for this event, but I am expecting the same size crowd and the same great quality food.”
The troupe will then head south out of Morgantown to Elkins for what is becoming their annual performance at the Arts Center of Randolph County on Saturday, October 21st. The start time in Elkins is also 8:00 p.m.
The second weekend concludes with a 3:00 p.m. matinee at the Buffalo Flats Artists Association on Main Street in Grafton, West Virginia on Sunday, October 22nd. This performance is sponsored by Magistrate Robert Lee Bolton, III.
“That weekend is going to feel like a homecoming for The Mechanicals,” said Young. “Morgantown, Elkins, and Grafton have become annual tour stops for us, and the people that we get to hang out with for a day or two in each of those communities are all top notch.”
The final weekend for King Lear will feature three consecutive free performances on three different local college campuses beginning with Glenville State College on Thursday, October 26th at 7:00 p.m. and followed by West Virginia Wesleyan College on Friday, October 27th at 8:00 p.m. and Fairmont State University on Saturday, October 28th at 7:30 p.m.
The Mechanicals will then return to their home venue, The VTC Cabaret at The Uptown Event Center in downtown Clarksburg, on Sunday, October 29th for a 3:00 p.m. “Pay-What-You-Will” matinee finale.
The Mechanicals will also be hosting a “Pay-What-You-Will” Preview of King Lear the evening before the tour officially kicks off, Thursday, October 12th at 7:30 p.m.
“If you factor in the preview, we have another big exciting tour ahead of us,” said Young. “In a matter of only three weeks, we will be playing twelve performances in nine different West Virginia counties stretching from Beckley to Morgantown and several points in between.”
The Rustic Mechanicals, now in their fourth season, have grown from a troupe of seven actors to this year boasting a roster of twenty-five West Virginia artists.
John O’Connor headlines this production in the eponymous role of King Lear while Sarah Young, Kaici Lore, and Kayla Hudimac play his three daughters Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. James Matthews will play the Lord of Gloucester, and Joshua Clevenger and Travis Teffner will play his sons Edgar and Edmond. Justin Grow and Sean Marko play the Duke of Albany and the Duke of Cornwall respectively, and rounding out the cast are Daniel Crowley as Kent and Ben Brooks and Isaac Covey.
Young directs the production with Technical Direction by David Byard, Production Design by Trina Byard, Fight Choreography by James Ricks, and Dramaturgy by John Shirley.
“Once again, we have a wonderful team working on this production,” said Young. “Perhaps most exciting is the fact that five of our actors are taking the stage as Mechanicals for the very first time with this show.”
For more information about The Forget & Forgive Tour of William Shakespeare’s King Lear, email VintageTheatreCo@gmail.com or call 1-855-VTC-8588.
“Touring Shakespeare is a 400-year-old-tradition,” said Young. “These troupe members understand the nobility of the work and the heritage that they are a part of. I fully expect this tour to be a labor of love for us all.”