MC Theatre Department presents "Shakespeare for My Father"

MC Theatre Department presents “Shakespeare for My Father”

Nov. 4, 2013
Contact: Mary Moates ’14, Communications Assistant

Alpha Psi Omega and the Maryville College Theatre Department will present Lynn Redgrave’s “Shakespeare for My Father” Nov. 14-17.

“Shakespeare for My Father” explores Redgrave’s complicated relationship with her father, acclaimed actor Michael Redgrave.

Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. Nov. 14-16 and 2 p.m. Nov. 17 in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Haslam Family Flex Theatre.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors, MC Theatre alumni and area students. Admission is free for MC students, faculty and staff, although a printed ticket is required for admission. You may purchase tickets online or by calling the Clayton Center Box Office at 865.981.8590.

The one-woman show will star senior theatre major Caitlin Campbell ’14 of Maryville, Tenn., as part of her senior thesis project on acting.

Campbell said she chose the play because it is her dream to become a Shakespearean actress after graduation.

“I love Shakespeare, and I love the challenge of presenting his words to a modern audience,” Campbell said. “All the themes, characters and meanings, although written hundreds of years ago, still apply to today.”

Dr. Heather McMahon, associate professor of theatre and Campbell’s senior thesis advisor, said the human and Shakespearean elements of the play are remarkable for audiences to experience, as well as highlight Campbell’s strengths as an actress.

“Redgrave relates her life to some of the most famous monologues and scenes in Shakespeare’s plays,” McMahon said. “Those scenes allow Caitlin to stretch herself as an actor by moving between contemporary speech and poetry, making both meaningful and vibrant.”

McMahon said that since “Shakespeare for My Father” is a one-woman show, Campbell has had to do more work on her own than she would in a typical play. While McMahon attends rehearsals in order to provide a director’s viewpoint, she said that the show is ultimately up to Campbell to make it a success.

“She has been working through the script, not just learning her lines, but doing all the script analysis, research and character development actors do,” McMahon said. “This time, she has not had other actors with, though, which makes it a lot harder. Because it is just her, she has to create a whole world for herself on stage, so it’s an incredible challenge.”

This is not the first Maryville College senior thesis focused on acting or solo performance, but McMahon said that due to the difficult nature of the style of acting, it is rare for students to undertake.

“There’s no greater challenge,” Campbell said. “Rehearsing every day for hours isn’t enough. It’s the most demanding process I’ve had so far.”

According to McMahon, the project will allow Campbell to apply herself as an actor in ways that most undergraduate students do not have an opportunity to do.

“At most departments, a one-person show is very rare, so the structure of the senior project has enabled Caitlin to embark on an amazing journey,” McMahon said. “And, frankly, this will look great on her resume. Potential employers will be impressed that she was able to tackle a project like this.”

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,197.