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Not-So-Royal Shakespeare Company performs “Pericles, Prince of Tyre”

| Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Not-So-Royal Shakespeare Company’s (NSR) performance of “Pericles, Prince of Tyre” opens Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the Washington Hall Lab Theatre.

Senior Liz Konicek, the club’s president, said the production has been a group effort from the beginning.

“This semester we took applications and then collaboratively decided as a group, with our new freshmen, as well, what play we wanted to do,” she said. “We got a lot of response from ‘Pericles’ which was, I think, surprising to all of us because it’s not a well-known play.”

The group hopes because the play is less famous than some other Shakespeare works, more people will to come to the show and learn more about it, Konicek said. 

“We just hope that people will be interested because, quite frankly, I think most of us hadn’t heard of ‘Pericles,’” she said. “I think that’s going to be the more pervasive view on campus … which we’re hoping means people are going to want to try something new.”

Junior Cassidy Leyendecker, co-vice president of NSR, said the club prides itself on making Shakespeare accessible for actors and audiences.

“When you’re getting people involved, having Shakespeare is awesome because there are so many people who love Shakespeare, but then you also have a lot of people who are afraid of Shakespeare,” Leyendecker said. “We want to get people involved. It seems super daunting at first, but once you get into it, our club does a really good job of trying to ease people into it and understanding.”

Konicek also said in order to make the performances fun and entertaining, the club builds off of the foundation Shakespeare himself laid when writing his plays.

“Shakespeare seems daunting and it seems pretentious, maybe, but Shakespeare himself, he made crass jokes all the time,” she said. “He was not a pretentious guy. … If you see a boring production of one of Shakespeare’s comedies, they’re doing it wrong.”

One of the club’s biggest advantages, Leyendecker said, is the huge amount of collaboration and effort that goes into the productions.

“NSR has a group of people that so much care about the club. The people right now want the club to succeed so much, which is really cool,” she said. “It’s kind of a different environment to be in than if you’re doing another show where it’s just the director and the stage manager being involved. This, you have all the officers in it, and everyone is creating events every week to get [the] cast together.”

The club has come together to put on an enjoyable show, Konicek said, and has experimented with different ideas to make it unique.

“We try and push the envelope and try new things, and a lot of it comes down to the fact that we pride ourselves … on being collaborative and being a team of students,” she said. “This is really a chance for us all to show our talents creatively and to work together and really forge a tight-knit bond. … It’s Shakespeare as performance, yes, but also Shakespeare as coming together.”

The club’s size this year has made it easier for NSR to push boundaries with the more creative aspects of the show, Leyendecker said. 

“Our cast is huge,” she said. “We have 18 people, which is big for fitting in the Washington Hall black box, so what we’re trying to do is focus so much on the cast. … We’re trying to really make it a story. … We just kind of want this drama and this excitement that hopefully get more people involved and excited about coming to see it.”

She also said the group has enjoyed playing with some of the more outlandish aspects of the play itself.

“Basically, this show is Shakespeare’s ‘Game of Thrones,’” she said. “There are just the craziest things [in it]… and we’ve had a blast doing it for the past month and a half. I’m more excited about the process of it than even performing it.”

Konicek said the combination of Shakespeare’s writing and the company’s creative collaboration has allowed then to craft an exciting and entertaining production.

“You shouldn’t be afraid of Shakespeare, and if you are, then I think the people who’ve been teaching you about it or performing it for you might not be doing it right,” she said. “It may be weird, it may be odd, and unusual and strange as a play, but it’s not boring.”

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About Courtney Becker

Courtney is a junior from New York City majoring in film, television and theater with a minor in journalism, and currently serving as News Editor. She is a proud resident of Pasquerilla West Hall and a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

Contact Courtney