West Virginia’s only Shakespeare troupe will launch its final statewide tour of 2018 next month.
Vintage Theatre Company’s Founding Producer and Artistic Director Jason A. Young cordially invites audiences to attend a performance of The Rustic Mechanicals’ Antic Disposition Tour of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Hamlet has the world at his feet: He is young, wealthy, and living a hedonistic life studying abroad. Then word reaches him that his father is dead. Returning home, he finds his world is utterly changed, his certainties smashed, and his home a foreign land. Struggling to understand his place in a new world order, he faces a stark choice of submitting or raging against the injustice of his new reality. As relevant today as when it was written, Hamlet confronts each of us with the mirror of our own morality in an imperfect world.
The Rustic Mechanicals, co-founded by Young and Celi Oliveto, is the state’s only professional Shakespeare troupe. Touring three shows annually, their final show of 2018 begins its tour at the troupe’s home, The VTC Cabaret, in Clarksburg, WV.
“It is always nice when we can debut our shows in some friendly confines,” said Young. “This tour is going to be very big with lots of shows in lots of places. Starting at home will help us start on the right foot.”
Audiences will have their first opportunity to see the show on Wednesday, October 10 at a “Pay-What-You-Will Preview.” The doors will open at 7:00 p.m. with the show beginning at 7:30 p.m. There is no set ticket price for this performance. Audience members are encouraged to decide what they can give to support the troupe and this performance.
The first weekend of the tour will then get underway on Thursday, October 11 at 7:00 p.m. at Concord University in Athens. This show is free to Concord University students, faculty, and staff. There is a $5 general admission fee for all other tickets. The Mechanicals’ weekend in the New River/Greenbrier Valley continues in Raleigh County with Shakespeareance Dinner Theatre performances at The Tamarack on Friday, October 12 and Saturday, October 13.
The Shakespeareance will include a dinner with a pre-show Q&A and a performance, followed by a post-show receiving line. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m., and the menu includes Smorrebrod, Danish Corn, Krebinetter, Rye Bread Rolls & Butter, and Risamalande.
Tickets for the Tamarack Shakespeareance are $48 and can be ordered at www.tamarackwv.com.
The Mechanicals will also be presenting an educational performance on Friday morning to students from Shady Spring, Independence, and Wyoming East High Schools.
The first weekend of the tour will conclude on Sunday, October 14 at 2:00 p.m. at the Alban Arts Center in St. Albans, West Virginia. Tickets, which will be available at the door, are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors.
“Starting off our fall tour with six shows in five days and getting the opportunity to show Hamletto a couple hundred high school students are great ways to start this tour,” said Young.
The second weekend of The Antic Disposition Tour takes the troupe through the Mountain Lakes region with stops in Buckhannon, Elkins, and Grafton.
The Upshur Arts Alliance will be hosting their first ever Buckhannon Shakespeareance on Friday, October 19. The Mechanicals will perform at 7:30 p.m. in the new Buckhannon Opera House next to C.J. Maggie’s. Tickets are $12 and will serve as discount cards for restaurants in downtown Buckhannon. Patrons are encouraged to take in a meal before the show. C.J. Maggie’s will be offering dessert and drinks at the show, and after the show The Mechanicals will do a brief meet and greet at the Opera House before heading over to Stone Tower Brews for a post-show ShakesBEERe reception.
“We love this idea,” said Young. “The entire downtown community of Buckhannon has gotten on board with the Arts Alliance and is working together to create an evening where people can come downtown, get a great meal, see a great show, and then have a great beer all while hanging out with some great artists.”
Saturday, October 20 brings The Mechanicals to the Arts Center in Elkins for the fourth consecutive year. Doors will open at 7:15 p.m., and the show will begin at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and will be available at the door.
The troupe’s second weekend of tour will conclude in Grafton with a 4:00 p.m. matinee.
The Antic Disposition Tour’s final weekend takes the troupe to the Eastern Panhandle with educational and public performances at the Apollo Civic Theatre in Martinsburg.
The public performance at the Apollo will take place on Thursday, October 25 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $19 for adults, $16 for seniors and college-aged students (18 to 25), and $14 for youth up to 17 years old. They can be purchased online through the Apollo Civic Theatre Box Office and at the door the evening of the show.
“This will be the Mechanicals’ first trip to the Eastern Panhandle,” said Young. “The Apollo is one of the great historic venues in West Virginia, and on Friday morning we will be in front of nearly 500 high school students. It should be a wonderful couple of days.”
The Mechanicals will return to Mountaineer Country for a Saturday evening performance at the Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown on October 27 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets at the MAC are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors and are available online, at the MAC Box Office, and at the door the evening of the performance.
The Antic Disposition Tour will conclude on Sunday, October 28 back at The VTC Cabaret with a Pay-What-You-Will Finale at 2:00 p.m. There is no set ticket price for this performance. Audience members are encouraged to decide what they can give to support the troupe and this performance.
The Rustic Mechanicals, now in their fifth season, have grown from a troupe of seven actors to this year boasting a roster of nearly thirty West Virginia artists.
Daniel Crowley headlines the production in the eponymous role of Hamlet.
“This is the most challenging role I have ever tried to wrap my mind around,” said Crowley. “Every time I encounter the text I discover a new motive, tactic, double entendre, or meaning. I completely understand why it is the Holy Grail for young actors.”
Audiences will also see Sarah Smith as Ophelia, Josh Brooks as King Claudius, Cassandra Hackbart as Queen Gertrude, John O’Connor as the doting Polonius, and Sean Marko as his son Laertes. Justin Grow and Kyle Stemple will appear as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as well as Marcellus and Barnardo. James Matthews is taking on the roles of the Ghost, the Player King, and the Gravedigger while Sarah Young will appear as Horatio. Rounding out the cast is Samantha Huffman as the Player Queen and a servant.
Young directs the production with Technical Direction by David Byard, Costume Design by Jason Noland, Fight Choreography by Millie Omps, Dramaturgy by John Shirley, and with Tommy Schoffler serving as the production’s Movement Coach and Celi Oliverto serving as the troupe’s Acting Coach.
“It’s an honor to work with such talented, dedicated individuals,” said Young. “This show requires actors to put themselves in really difficult situations emotionally. To tell this story, people need to perform outrageous, almost fantastical situations but root all their emotional content and behavior in reality. It’s a challenging piece, and I’m grateful that these Mechanicals are more than up to the challenge.”
For more information about The Antic Disposition Tour of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, 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.”