Shakespeare ... as the Texans see it ... is to be performed in England by?
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Background: Shakespeare ... as the Texans see it ... is to be performed in England by the Howard Payne College theatre company from Brownwood, Texas. Visnews called at the christopher Wren School, London, June 4 to film the 30 students rehearsing their tour version of "Midsummer Night's Dream".
The Texan production is likely to raise several eye-brows. Although Shakespeare is considered universal, and has been performed in many tongues and costumes, these "non-English" versions have never toured outside their own country.
Dr. McDonald W.Held, Director of Elocution at the College, and technical director of the productions, explained why the company is doing Shakespeare Texas-style ....
"We feel that Shakespeare is universal and that he is just as effectively done this way as in Greece in the style of ancient Greeks, or in England. Texas is a very colourful country from the standpoint of costumes and from the standpoint of nature. We are very anxious to see how our Texas production will be accepted by people in Britain".
In the students' version of "Midsummer Night's Dream", the yokels speak with a Texas drawl. Shakespeare's original "Finch, Sparrow and Lark" song is sung to "Home, Home on the Range". During this, Bottom carries two six-shooters. Guitar and stringed bass playing Dixieland and Texas square dance tunes, oust Mendelssohn's more familiar music. Duke Theseus becomes a wealthy rancher marrying an Indian Hippolyta, while Titania is portrayed in Spanish dress.
Wearing 1880-style Stetson hats, gaudy patterned high-heeled riding boots and fringed leather cowboy jackets, the cast bring the Wild West right into the heart of Shakespeare's England.
Their tour, beginning next week at Coventry, takes in Plymouth, Northampton, Bristol and Southampton and is costing nearly GBP7,500 -- half on which the students raised themselves.