Buffalo State faculty and staff play prominent roles in a staged reading of Shakespeare's King John, Sunday, November 6, at 7:00 p.m. at Buffalo Seminary, 205 Bidwell Parkway. This benefit performance is the sixth annual Shakespeare in Delaware Park (SDP) Fall Fundraiser.
Anthony Chase (pictured left), assistant dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, directs the play, and Todd Benzin (pictured right), classroom support supervisor for Instructional Resources, stars in the lead role. Other notable performers include Saul Elkin as King Philip of France and Barbara Link LaRou as Queen Eleanor.
“King John is a masterful play,” said Chase, who directed another obscure Shakespearean play, Cymbeline, last year. He explained that Lisa Ludwig, the managing director, got the idea to feature little-known plays for the fundraiser. “Shakespeare had a fondness for writing about flawed monarchs; King John is a flawed monarch. It’s a recurring theme that is beautifully articulated. There are soliloquies that have rarely been heard.”
Chase and the actors are donating their time to raise money for the free Shakespeare in the Park performances that attract some 40,000 people to downtown Buffalo each summer. The SDP just completed its 36th season.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Chase said. “I don’t know of any other place where so many people per capita can see Shakespeare for free.”
Chase, who has a background in dramatic literature and criticism, adapted the script for a staged reading, which means there will be no costumes, sets, or battle scenes.
“Shakespeare is always edited,” he said. “This requires more aggressive treatment.”
As public funding for the arts becomes more precarious, the fall fundraiser takes on a greater significance for keeping the summer Shakespeare plays going.
Along with the performance, the fundraiser includes a 6:00 p.m. wine tasting and hors d’oeurves by Rich’s Renaissance Catering, and dessert and coffee during intermission. Tickets cost $50 for SDP members and $55 for non-members. Reserve tickets online or by calling (716) 856-4533.
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