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CCU Theatre production earns regional rankings

December 6, 2000

Coastal Carolina University Theaters production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) recently placed in the top 25 at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KC/ACTF) regional competition, which featured 225 entries from schools in 10 southeastern states. The production featured Coastal dramatic arts majors Jason Adams, Michael Levesque and Steven Thompson, who were nominated for acting scholarships from the Irene Ryan Foundation following the competition.

Adams, Levesque and Thompson will travel to the American College Theater Festival, Region IV competition hosted by the University of Southern Mississippi Feb. 8 to 10. The Foundation and KC/ACTF bring winners from the eight regions to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in spring 2001 to take part in the KC/ACTF national festival.

Since 1972, the Irene Ryan Foundation of Encino, Calif., has awarded scholarships to the outstanding performers at each regional competition. These scholarships are made possible by the generosity of the late Irene Ryan, who is best remembered for her portrayal of the lovable and feisty Granny Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies.

Coastals production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) was performed on campus in Wheelwright Auditorium Sept. 29 to Oct. 1. The plot takes the form of a comic romp through Shakespeares 37 histories, comedies and tragedies, performed in less than two hours by three actors. The production gives emphasis to two of the better known plays, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, with snippets from all the other plays thrown in, including a brief rap version of Othello.

The spirit and motivation in the theater department is unbelievable right now, says Robin Edwards Russell, director of the production and assistant professor of theater at Coastal. It was truly a collaborative effort. There were more than 20 people who all worked very hard to make this production successful.

The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged) was created in 1987 by three California college students, Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, who called themselves the Reduced Shakespeare Company. The play has since been performed all over the world and has been praised for its uproarious, Monty Python-style humor.

Coastal Carolina University Theater offers public performances of significant plays complementing the dramatic arts and musical theater degree programs in the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts as well as other academic programs of the university. Generally, four plays are selected each academic year to provide a variety of training opportunities to students and to offer the university community and the public a variety of live performances. For information about future productions, call the Wheelwright Box Office, 349-2502.