The Shakespearean theater group at Lesley University.
The Drama Track allows English majors to combine both theory and practice in theatre and drama literature courses. We have a Shakespeare theatre company – The Oxford Street Players, started in 1993 by Anne Pluto (faculty) and Lisa Risley (staff). The Oxford Street Players have put on a full scale Shakespeare production for the past 21 years. The production is always linked to CDRAM 2050, but students, faculty, and staff are invited to audition as well as students and actors outside the Lesley Community. The Oxford Street Players have had guest artists choreographers and music directors who give workshops to the students; performances are open to the Lesley community and the general public. There are two courses devoted to production work: CDRAM 2040 – Play Production Projects, and CDRAM 2050 Play Production Shakespeare. CDRAM 2050 examines the Elizabethan Worldview through the study of a specific Shakespeare play, the Shakespeare authorship question, voice, acting, stage combat, music, and movement workshops, set, costumes, lighting design that culminates in the full scale Oxford Street Players production of a Shakespeare play. CDRAM 2040 is offered for non-Shakespeare productions, often, musical theatre. Both Play Production courses utilize professional designers and consultants, enriching students’ understanding theatre production and professional roles in the theatre; both these courses also offer the Lesley community, as well as members of the general public, the chance to participate in the production via onstage and backstage roles. Our theatre courses include Introduction to Voice and Acting, and Acting II; Movement and Improvisation – which teaches basic stage combat; and Art and Craft of Directing and Stage Management. Our drama literature offerings are Tragedy, Comedy, Plays of Shakespeare, Modern American Drama, and World Drama I and II. Theatre and drama literature courses work together to give students a foundation in classic and contemporary texts as well as how to bring those texts to life onstage in theatrical productions.The Oxford Street Players Spring 2016 Shakespeare production will be The Two Noble Kinsmen. Auditions will be in the fall; please contact Dr. Anne Pluto for more information: email@example.com.
Marie has usurped the Duchy and exiled her older sister, Duchess Isabel. The Duchess’s daughter, Rosalind, has been permitted to remain at court because she is the closest friend and cousin of Marie’s only child, Celia. Orlando, a young gentleman of the kingdom who at first sight has fallen in love with Rosalind, is forced to flee his home after being persecuted by his older brother, Oliver. Marie becomes frightened that Rosalind is the true heir apparent banishes her from court. Celia and Rosalind decide to flee together accompanied by the jester, Touchstone, with Rosalind disguised as a young man and Celia disguised as a poor lady.
Rosalind now disguised as Ganymede ("Jove’s own page"), and Celia, now disguised as Aliena (Latin for "stranger"), arrive in the Forest of Arden where the exiled Duchess now lives with some supporters, including Jacques, a melancholy figure, who is introduced to us weeping over the slaughter of a deer. "Ganymede" and "Aliena" do not immediately encounter the Duchess and her companions, as they meet up with Corin, an impoverished tenant, and offer to buy his master's crude cottage.
Orlando and his servant Adam meanwhile, find the Duchess and her followers and are soon living with them and posting simplistic poems for Rosalind on the trees. Rosalind, also in love with Orlando, meets him as Ganymede and pretends to counsel him to cure him of being in love. Ganymede says "he" will take Rosalind's place and "he" and Orlando can act out their relationship.
The shepherdess, Phoebe, with whom Silvius is in love, has fallen in love with Ganymede (Rosalind in disguise), though "Ganymede" continually shows that "he" is not interested in Phoebe. Touchstone, meanwhile, has fallen in love with the dull-witted shepherdess, Audrey, and tries to woo her, but eventually is forced to be married first. William, another shepherd, attempts to marry Audrey as well, but is stopped by Touchstone, who threatens to kill him "a hundred and fifty ways".
Finally, Silvius, Phoebe, Ganymede, and Orlando are brought together in an argument with each other over who will get whom. Ganymede says he will solve the problem, having Orlando promise to marry Rosalind, and Phoebe promise to marry Silvius if she cannot marry Ganymede.
Orlando sees Oliver in the forest and rescues him from a lioness, causing Oliver to repent for mistreating Orlando. Oliver meets Aliena (Celia's false identity) and falls in love with her, and they agree to marry. Orlando and Rosalind, Oliver and Celia, Silvius and Phoebe, and Touchstone and Audrey all are married in the final scene, after which they discover that Marie also has repented her faults, deciding to restore her legitimate sister to the Duchy and adopt a religious life. Jacques, ever melancholic, declines their invitation to return to the court preferring to stay in the forest and to adopt a religious life as well. Rosalind speaks an epilogue to the audience, commending the play to both men and women in the audience.
"OSP is truly my greatest accomplishment that I took from Lesley University. Never having acted in a Shakespeare play, I learned more about acting under Dr. Annie Pluto's direction than any other theatre group. My confidence not only as a performer, but as a student and person grew enormously with the wonderful people involved in the Oxford Street Players. All the other contributing teachers with OSP truly took the specific talents of each individual involved and made them shine."
- Shealan Anderson"The Play, how can you articulate a feeling? The theater has always been a fascination of mine and going to Lesley University was my first chance to actually get a chance to step on a stage. It was a feeling of freedom and escape. And being on stage is only half of what makes theater great. The people and especially the director can make or break a show. Luckily being a part of the OSP feels like a family. Your cast members and you may bicker like siblings but there's always the undercurrent of love. Dr. Annie Pluto is like my mom away from home, she expects a lot from you, but it's only because she can see the potential in each member of her cast."
- Alexandria Lowther
Anne Elezabeth Pluto
Professor of Theatre and Literature
Assistant Professor of Theatre
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