Senior theatre major Madison Hart is celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with her senior theatre project, “She is Fierce: A Study of Shakespeare’s Women.” Hart will perform her one-woman show on April 22 at the Old Woods Amphitheatre in Yellow Springs, one day before the the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
Hart’s production is unlike any other recent STP. Hart examines the impact Shakespeare’s female characters have on his plays. Hart will be performing 12 different characters from Shakespeare’s works, adding her own words as interludes between each character. She said her framework for the production was the concept of heroes and villains.
“I’ve put together a collage of monologues from Shakespeare’s women and then grouped them together with the idea of heroes and villains,” Hart said.
Though this production includes Shakespeare’s historical background and analysis of his work, it will certainly not be a dry lecture.
“It’s not quite an analysis,” Hart said. “It’s more of a dialogue with the audience about what it means to be a hero and what it means to be a villain. Then, how is it articulated through these women that Shakespeare crafted?”
Hart said that the inspiration for the theme of her production came from a book by Christopher Booker, titled “The Seven Basic Plots.” Hart said she was inspired by Booker’s quote, “The common bond between heroes and villains is a past experience of pain.”
With this idea, Hart will present the moments of pain experienced by Shakespeare’s female characters.
Though the monologues Hart will perform for each character are taken from Shakespeare’s script, she has incorporated other artistic elements into the show. For an intermission, Hart asked her sister, Savannah Hart, a freshman studio art major, to produce visuals to go along with the story. She also asked her older brother, Jordan Hart, to compose music for the production.
“I’m really excited,” Hart said, “because I think different forms of art cooperate really well together, but they’re not used in tandem very often.”
When it came to choosing an STP, Hart said she knew she wanted to do one of the classical staples of theatre with a new twist.
“Classical theatre is where my heart is,” she said.
With that in mind, she chose Shakespeare. She said she wanted to speak his words, because Shakespeare’s scripts are so skillfully crafted. She also said she liked how Shakespeare was one of the first playwrights who wrote compelling female roles.
“One of the things that intrigues me about Shakespeare,” Hart said, “is the depth and richness of his characters.”
Even though this is classical theatre, Hart said Shakespeare’s characters are still very relatable. She said she and her director, junior theatre major Emma Kowatch, tried to focus on the relatability of the work as they put the show together.
“It’s literally centuries after these plays have been written, yet there’s something about these characters that resonates with you,” Hart said. “That’s fascinating to me.”
Another unique aspect of this show is that it will not be performed on campus. Instead, it will be held at the Old Woods Amphitheatre in Yellow Springs, located behind the Village Council building at 100 Dayton Street. This performance in Yellow Springs will be the culmination of Cedarville’s celebration of the life of Shakespeare.
To commemorate the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, theatre professor Matthew Moore and English professor Peggy Wilfong have worked with the library to present “Shakespeare’s 400th.” This event, which will be held in Cedarville’s Centennial Library, will be an eclectic presentation of all types of Shakespeare’s works. Faculty, staff and students can read selected works of Shakespeare at various times throughout the day.
“We didn’t want it just to be for theatre majors or English majors, so it’s an opportunity for anyone to come and read some Shakespeare,” Moore said.
Also, there will be planned presentations among the readings, such as musical performances and monologues. “Shakespeare’s 400th” begins at 11 a.m. Friday, April 22.
“(Madison’s) show will be the capstone performance of the day,” Moore said.
Hart’s STP begins at 6 p.m. in Yellow Springs, and a reception will follow.
Michael Shawn Carbaugh II is a junior music composition major and arts & entertainment writer for Cedars. He enjoys all kinds of writing, whether it be with musical notes or descriptive words.