While I was a student at Valparaiso University, one of the courses I took was History of World Theatre in 1991 with Professor John Steven Paul, who we lost far too soon at age 58, when he passed away Friday, July 10, 2009.
What I learned in his class still helps me today, as a foundation for the theater reviews I write, as well as serving as a voting member of Chicago's Joseph Jefferson Awards Theatre Committee, honoring excellence in theater for Chicagoland's talent.
I still recall writing an assigned essay term paper for Dr. Paul's class chronicling William Shakespeare's works as portrayed in popular culture, which included a reference to the nearsighted cartoon character Mr. Magoo playing the impish fairy Puck from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in an animated television series called "The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo" in 1964.
Just as wonderful through the years, has been Dr. Paul's wife, Margaret Franson, associate dean of VU Christ College honors program.
She is continuing her husband's wonderful tradition of tipping me off about great stage opportunities and news to alert the readership.
"Hi Phil: I wanted to make sure you had received info on 'As You Like It,' which should be wonderful. Happy to have the actors talk with you if you'd like," Franson noted.
Christ College, the Honors College of Valparaiso University, is presenting the inaugural Shakespeare Week in Valparaiso, launching today and featuring a week-long residency by Actors From The London Stage.
One of the most admired Shakespearean troupes in the world, Actors From The London Stage is composed of classically trained actors from prestigious companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre, and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.
Shakespeare Week at Valpo will showcase a series of events, performances, and workshops, sponsored by Christ College, in collaboration with the Department of English and the Department of Theatre. All performances are in the Valparaiso University Center for the Arts. Highlights include:
• Songs and Sonnets of Shakespeare presented by the Departments of English and Music 7:30 today, March 18 at Duesenberg Recital Hall. Admission is free.
• "Hamlet" and "Macbeth," Abridged! presented by the Department of Theatre, 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 19 in the Studio Theatre space. Admission is free.
• "As You Like It" by Actors From The London Stage, with three performances, all at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 20; Friday, March 21; and Saturday, March 22 in The University Theatre. Admission is $15 for the general public; $10 for VU students/faculty/staff.
For more information and details about this exciting week of theater at its finest right around the corner here in our Region, call the Center for the Arts Box Office at (219) 464-5162 for tickets to "As You Like It" or contact Kari-Anne Innes at (219) 464-6843 for information about any of the other performances and opportunities.