|Sign up for our FREE weekly newsletter|
Buy an Ad
Pigeon Creek Shakespeare's upcoming performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" will be the first public performance in Blue Lake's Rose Theatre, a replica of The Globe in London. Photo: Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.
By Dana Casadei
Posted: Aug. 21, 2012 at 6:30 a.m.
GRAND HAVEN – Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp may be for middle and high school students, but it's replica Elizabethan Theater has the ability to turn some professional actors back into giddy teenagers.
When talking to Katherine Mayberry, the executive director of Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company and a founding member, about their upcoming production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at The Rose Theater, a replica of The Globe in London, there is an excitement to her voice that is bursting through the phone. It's as if a student at Blue Lake had just been told they were going to meet One Direction.
"I'm not even sure that some of them (students at Blue Lake) realize how lucky they are and how many professional actors would give their right arm to perform on a stage like that," Mayberry said.
Mayberry, who will be playing Hermia, went on to say that there are fewer than around 250 actors in the world that have gotten to perform on a replica stage of this caliber, making it an extremely rare, and lucky thing, to have one in Western Michigan.
So how did this company get so lucky? Mayberry has been teaching at Blue Lake for the past two summers, which was their first connection to Blue Lake. They were then invited to come and perform by the manager of the Blue Lake Public Radio station.
The production, which is on Aug. 26 at 2 p.m., will be a benefit performance for the Blue Lake public radio and the first public performance in the Rose Theater since it was built in 2010, making it a very special performance for Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company.
"It's really exciting for us because there are so few of those replica spaces in the world," she said.
Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company belongs to the original practices movement in the production of Shakespeare's plays, meaning that they use performance conditions from Shakespeare's lifetime.
An example Mayberry gives is that they perform with lights on in the audience "because they didn't have electrical lighting during Shakespeare's time period, so they wouldn't have been able to dim the lights in the audience."
"We try to make it part of our mission to produce plays that are not that often produced to create an opportunity for audiences to see them," Mayberry said. "It's an opportunity for people who aren't in Stratford (Ontario) or New York to get to see shows they might not otherwise get to see."
These shows include four main stage performances each year that run for five or six weekends each. There is also one performance each year that partners with a Western Michigan high school, sending five of their professional actors in to rehearse and perform with a cast of high school students.
Considering part of the company's mission statement states that they seek to offer performances of Shakespeare's works to Michigan audiences in a variety of non-traditional theater venues, some of the places that Shakespeare has been performed are quite amazing, such as coffee shops and hiking performances, where the audience goes on the trails to see the show. They also did a series of performances at a bed and breakfast, going from room to room with each being a different setting for scenes.
Compared to those, this will also be one of the more traditional venues for the only Michigan year-round Shakespeare touring company, which was founded in 1998 and expanded to a year-round production company in 2008.
"I think it's going to be fantastic," Mayberry said with a smile heard through the phone.
SHOW DETAILS Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company will present "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp's Rose Theater, 300 E. Crystal Lake Rd., Twin Lake, 2 p.m. Aug. 26. Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door. For information: 800-889-9258 or www.bluelake.org. For more information about Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company, log on to www.pcshakespeare.com.