Swine Palace to Hold Inaugural Summer Festival June 26-Aug. 5
BATON ROUGE – While the summer may signify a break for many in the LSU community, Swine Palace will return to the stage to offer its first ever Summer Festival of three performances, two of which pay homage to theatre legend William Shakespeare.
All performances during the festival, which will run from June 26 through Aug. 5, will be held in the LSU Studio Theatre, located in the LSU Music & Dramatic Arts Building on Dalrymple Drive.
The festival’s first production will be a rendition of the Shakespeare staple, “The Taming of the Shrew.” Directed by Swine Palace Artistic Director George Judy, this production is billed as “a family-friendly, 70-rockin’-minutes version of Shakespeare’s timeless battle of the sexes.” Modern adaptations of the story range from the TV series and film, “10 Things I Hate About You,” to the hit musical, “Kiss Me Kate.” Swine Palace’s production will result in a high-energy, entertaining production with comedic elements, as the wildly spirited Kate and machismo-driven Petruchio scream, fight and woo their way into one another's heart.
Swine Palace ensemble member Jenny Ballard will play the iconic role of Kate, and expressed her desire to take on the role after directing a production of the classic.
“I directed the play in 2006, and was so jealous of the actress playing Kate because I wanted to be up there, exploring all of the complexities that make up her character,” Ballard said.
Performances of “The Taming of the Shrew will take place June 26-July 1 at 7:30 p.m. each evening, with 2 p.m. matinee performances on June 30 and July 1.
The second production of the Summer Season will be “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield and directed by Swine Palace ensemble member Kristina Sutton Udy. The play features three wild and crazy actors performing all 37 works of the immortal bard and is described as “90 minutes of high-speed, over-the-top hilarity.” This endearingly irreverent and lightning-paced romp through the greatest plays of all time will have the audience rolling with laughter and jumping out of their seats.
“This production requires actors to be physically limber and have an innate sense of comic timing,” Udy said. “They must be adept at not only improvisation, but also classically trained so they understand the rhythms, iconic archetypes and dramatic and comedic structure of Shakespeare’s works. You have to know the rules to break them. This cast knows what they are doing, and I know the audience will have a great time.”
Performances of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged” will take place July 17-22 at 7:30 p.m. each night. Matinee performances will be held July 21 and 22 at 2 p.m.
The series winds down with “How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back,” directed by Ballard. Sixty minutes of hip, contemporary and fabulous musical fun, the production features six students stuck in detention after school with an eccentric substitute teacher. They discover the power of imagination when they enact some of Aesop’s fables, including “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”
Ballard, who was director and instrumental in the successful run of Swine Palace’s “Godspell” last summer, will again join forces with musical director Jason Bayle for the production.
“Directing ‘Shell…’ will be a blast,” Ballard said. “I’ve always been a fan of Aesop’s fables, particularly ‘The Tortoise and the Hare,’ and with ‘Shell…,” we get these classic tales set to really great music.”
Performances of “How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back” will take place at 7:30 p.m. each night July 31-Aug. 5, with 2 p.m. matinee performances August 4 and 5.
Founded in 1992, Swine Palace operates with a dual mission to provide South Louisiana with high-quality, professional productions of classical and contemporary theatre with an emphasis on plays exploring issues of social equity while also serving as a training ground for students in LSU’s Master of Fine Arts programs for professional acting and technical/design training. For 20 seasons, Swine Palace has produced more than 68 productions, including many regional and world premieres, in Baton Rouge. Under the leadership of Managing Director Kristin Sosnowsky and Swine Palace Artistic Director George Judy, Swine Palace presents three to four productions each season, and employs five to 12 guest actors, directors and designers from across the country. Recent guest artists have included Ping Chong, Deb Alley, Adam Rapp, Steve Young, Mia Katigbak, Clayton Corzatte, Adolphus Ward and Lance Nichols.