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Barbara Seifert, MFA graduate student from Macomb, as Joan of Arc and Mary Margaret Roberts, MFA graduate student from Raleigh, NC, as the Dauphin, rehearse a fight scene in the WIU stage combat rehearsal room.
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ShakesFest — A Festival of Three of Shakespeare Plays Coming to WIU

February 10, 2012

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MACOMB, IL – Quick, name that Shakespeare, "A pox o' your throat, you bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog."

Brush up on Shakespeare when three regional colleges, including Western Illinois University, perform three Shakespearean plays in five days as part of the theatrical collaboration "ShakesFest."

The event, also being called "3U SHAK3SF3ST," will include productions in Macomb and at Bradley and Loyola universities in late February and early March.

From Tuesday, Feb. 28 through Sunday, March 4, actors will perform nightly at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with a matinee at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. WIU's production of a compilation of the "Henry the Sixth" history plays will be performed in Macomb on Tuesday, Feb. 28 through Friday, March 2; with Bradley's "The Tempest" on Saturday night, March 3, and Loyola's "Measure for Measure" performed Sunday, March 4 as a matinee.

According to Bill Kincaid, who will direct the WIU production of "Henry the Sixth," the collaboration is a great learning opportunity for the theatre students who will travel to each campus to perform. Kincaid is also responsible for condensing the 7.5 hours of the Henry plays into one 2.5-hour production.

"The process of combining the plays required me to become so intimate with the text that I feel confident that my condensation of the production will flow well and will include a great deal of action," he said.

WIU's unique stage combat program was a motivating factor in choosing the history plays, "Henry the Sixth" includes battle scenes and a great deal of stage combat, Kincaid added.

DC Wright, associate director of theatre and head of movement and stage combat at WIU, said "in all my years of fight directing at places like Arkansas Repertory Theatre and Illinois Shakespeare Festival, this production will be the biggest fight show I have ever done."

Andrew Behling, who plays the young duke who will one day reign as Richard III, won this year's Classical Acting Award from the National Partners of American Theatre at the Kennedy Center American College Regional Theatre Festival in January.

"Performing in ‘Henry the Sixth gives WIU theatre students ‘bragging rights,' because the plays are so seldom produced they will be in an elite club of actors who have been in "Henry the Sixth" productions," Kincaid said. "This also gives the students the experience of being in a traveling company."

WIU students will perform at both Loyola and Bradley, and for each stop they will have one day to rehearse in the space and make the necessary adjustments to the fight scenes. Kincaid said the students have had a shortened rehearsal schedule—they perform at Loyola on Feb. 18, exactly one month after the beginning of the spring semester.

"They have really stepped up to the challenge and, in my experience, have been equal to the best examples of dedicated theatre professionals," Kincaid said.

According to David Patrick, chair of theatre and dance at WIU, these kinds of collaborative performances may have never been undertaken before.

Former WIU College of Fine Arts and Communication Dean Paul Kreider and Bradley's Dean of Communication and Fine Arts Jeffrey Huberman began a conversation several years ago about a collaborative production. Those talks evolved into inviting a third school— Loyola University, Chicago — and focusing the collaboration on Shakespeare or other Elizabethan plays. To facilitate the traveling aspect of the shows, the three universities designed a shared set. The same set will be constructed at each university, which will help with the staging of each of the plays.

For tickets or more information, call the Hainline Theatre Box Office (309) 298-2900 or visit

WIU faculty members and students participating in the productions include:

CHICAGO, IL (60618) – Breanna Palfi, sophomore, deck stage manager.

CICERO, IL (60804) – Lorenzo Rush, junior, actor.

DECATUR, IL (62526) – Trey D. Rock, senior, production stage manager.

GENEVA, IL – Jill Nigh, sophomore, actor.

MACOMB (61455) –Maggie Ellsworth, graduate student, company manager; Kristin Katsu, graduate student, assistant director; DC Wright, faculty, fight director; Dan Schmidt, faculty, technical director; Scot Bouillon, faculty, staff carpenter; Nathan Bush, graduate student, actor; Barbara Seifert, graduate student, actor; and Kody C. Jones, graduate student, actor.

MORO, IL (62067) – Mark-Ryan Anderson, senior, actor.

QUINCY, IL (62305) – Brennan Blickhan, senior, actor.

RUSHVILLE, IL (62681) – Heather Carey, graduate student, costume designer.

VERSAILLES, IL (62378) – Tyler Herald, freshman, hair and make-up designer.

WASHINGTON, IL (63090) – Joshua Carroll, graduate student, actor.

WHEATON, IL (60187) – Andrew Behling, graduate student, actor.

ANCHORAGE, AK (99517) – Frank Delaney, graduate student, actor.

PHOENIX, AZ (85021) – Timothy Sullivan, graduate student, actor.

GARY, IN (46402) – Tuesdai Perry, freshman, actor.

LONG GROVE, IA (52756) – Nate Curlott, junior, actor.
CLINTON, IA (62732) – Isaac Jankowski, junior, actor.

Franklinton, LA (70438) – Will Stacey, graduate student, light designer.

STERLING HEIGHTS, MI (48314) – Arielle Leverett, graduate student, actor.

CHESTERFIELD, MO (63017) – Erin Norlie, senior, actor.

LAS VEGAS, NV (89106) – JJ Gatesman, graduate student, actor.

RALEIGH, N.C. (27612) – Mary-Margaret Roberts, graduate student, actor.

NEW VINENNA, OH - Bill Kincaid, faculty, director.

OREM, Utah (84057) – Amos Omer, graduate student, actor.

OCONOMOWOC, WI (53066) – Teddy Mueller, sophomore, actor.

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