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Cast takes Shakespeare on the road

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April 19, 2012

Georgia College theatre major Trey Barnett and fellow cast members change costumes more quickly than they change classes.

Watch Barnett bring to life characters Romeo, Theatre majors Trey Barnett and Evan Fields perform 'Hamlet' for patients at Oconee Regional Medical Center.Theatre majors Trey Barnett and Evan Fields perform 'Hamlet' for patients at Oconee Regional Medical Center.Julius Caesar, Sampson, a nurse, a prince and a witch during Georgia College’s funny, fast-paced play, “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).”

“Audience members will fall in love and take a journey with us where you not only laugh but learn about Shakespeare,” said Barnett, a sophomore of Atlanta.

The play compresses Shakespeare’s 37 plays within an hour-and-a-half performance.

The Thursday, April 19 production starts at 8 p.m. in Georgia College’s Campus Black Box Theatre.

Senior theatre major Erica Mandato directs the comedy, completing her graduating capstone project.

For the past month Mandato and her classmates have traveled to high schools and regional hospitals performing truncated versions of the play.

“As my own tour manager I wanted to take the show on the road,” said Mandato of Alpharetta. “I decided to present the play at hospitals in memory of my high school classmate, Courtney Doyle, who passed away from cancer.”

The theatre students have performed at Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital in Atlanta and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

The cast recently entertained patients of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at the Egleston Hospital location and Oconee Regional Medical Center (ORMC) in Milledgeville.

“When Erica contacted me about the play, I immediately thought our patients would enjoy something different, and they did,” said Janice Scott, ORMC’s Skilled Nursing Unit administrator. “The performance was the first time we’ve had this type of entertainment.”

 Connecting with the  patients, students also apply their classroom lessons in real-world situations.

“These performances are never easy when you see patients,” Barnett said. “Fortunately, my classes have taught me to gain self-control despite my surroundings and perform no matter what.”

Throughout the experience the cast has entertained young and old, telling the tales of Shakespeare’s literary legacy.

“This play is a student community outreach project,” said Dr. Karen Berman, chair of Georgia College Theatre Department. “The performances give them opportunities to connect with various audiences and collaborate with each other. Erica’s planned tour has become a great success.”

The theatre department includes 71 students pursing degrees in acting, directing and costume and stage design. Mandato is one of 12 graduating theatre majors this year.

After graduation she plans to create a nonprofit theatre group that travels and performs for hospitals.

“Theatre is my life, and I couldn’t imagine what I would do without it,” Mandato said. “This production is upbeat and hilarious. The cast’s dedication is inspiring, their creativity is genuine and their talent exceeds my highest expectations.”



What: “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)”

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, April 19

Where: Campus Black Box Theatre

General: $4; senior citizens, GC faculty, staff and students: $2

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ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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