From political science to theater

Ashbrook program starts new theater program

Katelyn Meeks

Students around campus know the Ashbrook as an institution for political science and history, but they are starting a new endeavor, the Ashbrook Theater. This will be the first ever year the Ashbrook Theater students are doing a production of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”.
The Ashbrook Theater was started over a love of Shakespeare and Ashbrook Scholars being involved in activities of similar interest.
“Looking at the Ashbrook Scholars we have, and the kinds of activities that they are interested in, we have always had a lot of people interested in theater, but tend to over program themselves, so they are really interested in theater, but they don’t have the time to commit to an AU theater production,” said Sabrina Maristela, the Student Programs Coordinator for the Ashbrook Center, and director of “The Tempest”.
Maristela also said that it is a way for students to be exposed to theater and have a deeper appreciation for the arts. She continued on in explaining how it doubles as an educational experience for students.
Those who are not avid Shakespeare play watchers are probably wondering what Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” is all about.
“The Tempest” is known to be Shakespeare’s final play he ever wrote in the early 1600’s. It is one of Shakespeare’s comedies, which means the play is full of humor. The play takes place on an island where Prospero and his daughter Miranda have been exiled for years, and throughout the course of the play,there are many magical and mischievous events that take place on the island.
Originally, when Maristela was trying to pick a play that Ashbrook Theater should do, she knew it needed to be a Shakespeare play because she feels they are more exciting to do and are not completely foreign to an audience.
She eventually landed on doing “The Tempest”, and as Maristela put it, “[It’s] a tricky comedy, but [a] beautiful comedy.”
“It’s a wonderful play [and] it was Abraham Lincoln’s favorite play,” said Maristela “It’s such a good one, and it does feel weird to start with Shakespeare’s last play, but, in a way, it is also very fitting to start with what feels like a culmination”
Maristela is not the only one looking forward to putting on “The Tempest,” but several Ashbrooks scholars are also excited for the opportunity to be (or not to be) in a Shakespeare play.
Jacob Kirkpatrick, who plays Caliban, decided to do Ashbrook Theater because it’s his final year at Ashland University, and he wants the chance to do theater.
“You know, why not do something fun your last semester,” said Kirkpatrick. “They had advertised the play, why not try out. I have never done theater before, and I just tried out one day, and I got the part.”
Kirkpatrick is “pretty satisfied” with the role of Caliban and is excited to get the chance to be able to perform.
Tiffany Sims, who plays the character Miranda, is no stranger to theater, and is heavily involved in the Ashland University Theater Department.
“One of my majors is theater here at Ashland, so I have been involved in the Ashland Theater Department for 3 years now, and I am passionate about acting, and so it made sense for me to do Ashbrook Theater,” said Sims.
Sims wants to keep doing as much theater as she possibly can. One thing that she appreciates about Ashbrook Theater is that it is focusing on the Shakespeare and Greek plays for more educational purposes.
Many actors agree that the show is worth coming and seeing because of the amount of time and effort they have invested in putting on the play.
“We have all worked really hard on this,” said Ray Yeh, who plays the main protagonist Prospero in the play, “I personally have a hundred and fourteen lines of Shakespeare memorized, so it’s a lot!”
Quinn Wright, who plays Trinculo in the play, said, “I think we’ve all worked really hard, and we’ve put a unique spin on a play that’s about 500 years old, but I think we’ve made it something uniquely our own.”
Maristela is excited for the show to be performed and says to come out and see the show because it’s just fun.
“I think it would be a wonderful way to spend two-ish hours, and we don’t often get the opportunity to see Shakespeare performed at all, let alone live right here[at Ashland University], ‘’ said Maristela.
The show is free and open to the public. If the show goes well on Friday, the Ashbrook Theater is looking to schedule a matinee on Saturday, and that will be announced at a later date.