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Minot State University Shakespeare Fest celebrates bard

Minot State University will celebrate the renowned work and life of William Shakespeare, poet, playwright and actor, with a two-day celebration April 26 and 28. This commemoration of the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist will include a mix of films, speakers, song and theater. All events are in Aleshire Theater, Hartnett Hall, and are free and open to everyone.

2016 marks 400 years since Shakespeare’s death. This is a reawakening of the celebration that took place at MSU 100 years ago. Then, the campus celebrated with a Shakespearean pageant, including the building and bedecking of a boat in royal Tudor fashion, to row down the Mouse River.

“We know we should pay homage to Shakespeare, but most of us admire him from a distance,” said Robert Kibler, Division of Humanities chair for literature and foreign language. “This event is an opportunity for all to be entertained by Shakespeare and a chance to participate.”

Shakespeare Fest kicks off with local musician, author, artist and MSU instructor Rick Watson performing sonnets on the guitar at 3 p.m.

Following Watson’s performance, the 2008 film, “King Lear,” directed by Trevor Nunn and starring Ian McKellen, will be shown at 3:30 p.m. “King Lear” is a classic Shakespearean tragedy about family and power. Many Shakespeare lovers consider it Shakespeare’s greatest play. Eric Furuseth, associate professor of humanities, will preface the movie and lead discussion afterward. Snacks will be served in the lobby.

At 7 p.m., the film, “The Merchant of Venice,” will be shown. The 2004 movie, directed by Michael Radford, is a powerful dramatic comedy in which a merchant in 16th century Venice must default on a large loan provided by an abused Jewish moneylender. Mark Singer, assistant professor of history, will introduce the film and lead discussion afterward. Light snacks will be provided.

Shakespeare Fest continues April 28 with the film, “Much Ado About Nothing,” shown at 3 p.m. This 1993 version directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Branagh, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves, centers on the romantic trials, tribulations and fun involving two war heroes who, despite an abundance of misperceptions, successfully woo the women they love. Kibler will preface the movie and lead discussion afterward. Snacks will be served in the lobby.

From 6 to 7:15 p.m., MSU faculty, along with MSU Campus Players, will present a variety of theatrical shorts from Shakespeare’s plays.

Shakespeare Fest concludes with Charles Jeffries, educator, writer and founder of Texas Theatre Consultants, presenting “Fun With Shakespeare” at 7:30 p.m. Jeffries will engage the audience with little-known details lurking about in the corners of Shakespeare’s life. Why did he insist that his workmates dress up as women? Where was he during his missing seven years? Was he responsible for the theft of an entire theater? Snacks will be served in the lobby.

For questions, contact Kibler at or 858-3876.

Published: 04/19/16

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