BJU’s resident acting company, Classic Players, will present a Shakespeare showcase for the inaugural Upstate Renaissance Faire at Greer City Park on Sept. 11 at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.
The city of Greer approached the BJU theatre department to create this showcase in part because of the longevity of Classic Players. “Classic Players has been doing Shakespeare for over 90 years; very few theaters can say that in the American South,” faculty member John Michael Cox said.
Their showcase is scheduled to last 30 to 40 minutes and comprises six plays. “There is tragedy, there is comedy, there is romance, there is history — all the good things you want in a Shakespeare showcase,” Cox said.
He added that this showcase may be more authentic to what Shakespeare intended than most of today’s traditional Shakespeare plays. “The experience might be closer to what Shakespeare’s plays were originally written to do because in his theater there were not any lights. They were outside and talking to the audience.”
Preparation for Performance
Classic Players have been preparing for the showcase since the end of last semester. They initially conducted read-throughs and rehearsals over Zoom with actors from a variety of locations. They conducted their first rehearsal at the end of August, just a few days before the start of the semester. The cast consists of a range of people from sophomore students to alumni and current faculty and staff. Cox is optimistic about this collaborative experience for students. “I can see them learning a lot from the process itself but also from working with our faculty and staff, working with our alumni,” he said.
Senior theatre major Karie Jensen is enjoying her interaction with the cast. “Our eclectic troupe (comprises) 10 dynamic actors from our theatre department, past and present. Each brings a different set of skills — physical humor, excellent diction, knowledge of 1600’s customs, etc. — that rounds out this unparalleled cast,” she said.
At their booth, the Classic Players will offer several giveaways, including season passes and free EDUcamp registration. They will also use other methods to engage visitors such as a Shakespeare Q&A. This booth setup provides Classic Players the opportunity to promote the BJU theatre department and other on-campus theatre-related events.
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“Our hope is that the Upstate Renaissance Faire will become an annual Classic Players tradition. We are happy to serve our community with our experienced alumni and students. Come see us in a new venue at Greer City Park,” Cox said.
For more information, visit the Upstate Renaissance Faire Facebook event page.