Fionna Larcom (right) listens to Russell Hansen in one of the Shakespeare scenes in Pierce College Theatre’s production of “Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On.” Photo by Mallory Shoemaker.
Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On vouchsafes the fact that the homeless theatre department at Pierce College is alive and well and performing wherever they can.
Last year, the department was evicted from its physical theatre of 20 years. Dauntlessly, the department staff agreed that they would follow the adage “The show must go on!” And on it goes, traveling full circle to when their actors first appeared on the Fort Steilacoom campus in 1977 with the Oppelt Student Center as its temporary space.
The long anticipated theatre finally arrived 10 years later in 1987, opening with A Chorus Line, directed by Fred Metzger. Last year, that theatre’s final production was Talk Radio, directed by fellow theatre staff member, Patrick Daugherty.
Metzger again finds himself directing in a non-theatre just next door to that same Student Center awaiting a proposed new theatre sometime in the, hopefully, not too distant future. Blake York is Assistant Director.
Metzger also designed the set for Such Stuff, which is almost reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, inasmuch as there is very little set. This gives the eight-actor ensemble full latitude to make the set anything or anyplace they want. Off-stage “wings” are mounted on two sides of the stage allowing the actors an escape and a place to make their many costume changes.
The costumes, supplied by Costumes Period, are beautiful both in realism of the era and in design. The actors wear them with comfort.
Dramaturg Steve Jaech, Pierce English instructor and resident Shakespeare aficionado and self-proclaimed Bard fanatic, coordinated the script. It is comprised of more than 30 snippets from Shakespeare’s plays; some as short as a few of minutes – a couple, complete scenes. All attest to the acting ability and understanding of the material by the small ensemble.
Acting coaches are Daugherty and Kelly Kitchens from The Seattle Repertory Theatre. There are three Elizabethan dances during the performance; Anna Mansbridge of Seattle Early Dance is the choreographer.
There are eight people in the acting company: Celina Cordova, Russell Hansen, Kim Hunsaker, Dixon King, Fionna Larcom, Karen Marin, Robinah Nambooze and Andrew Richards. All do exceptional work in each role they assume.
Hunsaker and Marin are a couple on drum and tambourine who travel across stage between the cuttings. Their antics are charming.
King and Hansen are equally admirable in their many parts, both comedic and dramatic. Corova is hilarious as the love-smitten Helena. Richards is wonderfully funny as Bottom and Falstaff; his dramatic offerings are excellent as well.
Larcom is exceptional as Constance, Arthur’s mother from King John. Her comic roles are likewise played with aplomb and she is fully aware of her character at all times. Not only that, the lady possesses an amazing singing voice.
Nambooze performs each of her parts beautifully. However, her Puck is undoubtedly the best I’ve ever seen. This slender, rather tall woman becomes the impish Robin Goodfellow who causes mayhem amongst the others in a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Such Stuff is not only an excellent introduction to the novice Shakespeare audience; it makes for an evening of enjoyment for the Bard’s seasoned fans, as well. As Dramaturg Jaech said, it is “-just a glimpse of the universal truth and beauty found in the work of our language’s greatest bard. His work is our inheritance. It will always be entertaining and provocative as long as we are what we are: human.”
The troupe of Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On travels to the Puyallup Campus Wednesday, November 14 for a noon performance. It returns to the Commons of the Cascade Building at Pierce College on the Fort Steilacoom Campus at 9401 Farwest Drive for a 10 a.m. matinee Thursday, November 15. Closing performances are Friday and Saturday, November 16 and 17 at 7 p.m. To make reservations, call the box office at (253) 964-6710.
The opening of this lively collage of Shakespearean scenes is Hamlet’s Speak the Speech soliloquy, which is uniquely performed by the entire company. Needless to say, they all do so, “trippingly on the tongue.”
Submitted by Lynn Geyer