Shakespeare shakes things up in Edgewood

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It takes a special mix of vision and talent to bring new life to works by William Shakespeare. Director Christin L. Goff has both, in addition to a troop of passionate actors behind her. Presenting Edgewood with an opportunity to view a “showcase” of their work recently at Edgewood Congregational Church, Goff watched while her actors performed various selections from Shakespeare’s work.

Samples from Richard III, Othello and The Taming of the Shrew were among the works performed, introducing the audience to both tragedies and comedies. Although Shakespeare’s plays are both literary and theatrical classics, it is not every day that an entire room of people is able to share in laughter and horror in a matter of minutes.

“It’s really all about the emotion in the work and examining the relationships between characters,” Goff explained after the performance. “We focus on bringing out the human emotion behind the words.”

It was evident throughout the performances that Goff, who has studied at the Royal Shakespeare Company in England, is a true Shakespearean expert.

The serious tones in Richard III and Othello left the room in a state of awe, as the anticipation during the scenes performed gripped the audience. The intimate setting only seemed to amplify the emotions of the actors and, despite Shakespeare’s notoriously complicated English, all of the scenes were fairly easy to follow. This can be credited to the complete understanding of the text by both the director and actors. The showcase closed on a light note with excerpts from The Taming of the Shrew, a comedy. Handheld instruments were distributed to the audience, and we were invited to play at certain times as to imitate the sound of a brewing storm. This interactive element added to the intimacy of the performance and engaged the audience creatively.

By the end of the comedy scenes, Goff could barely control her laughter, much less the audience. The actors switched between scenes of tragedy and comedy seamlessly, showcasing energetic and dynamic acting. The time and passion dedicated from both the actors and the director was obvious throughout the performance, and the audience was immersed in every second of it.

Christin L. Goff is a Shakespeare performance educator at ECC Studio 2 (Company Globe Studio), 1788 Broad Street, Cranston. Visit www.christinlgoff.com/my-teaching for contact information or to view Goff’s past projects.

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