By Christina Hofer, Arts Editor
GoShakes, a new theater organization in Goshen, will bring classic Shakespearean works to life by entertaining and educating audiences of all ages. Currently, the GoShakes cast and crew are working to bring the popular Shakespearian tragedy “Romeo and Juliet” to the stage.
The show, which was cut from its normal running time of just over three hours to around one and a half, will be presented at the Goshen Theater in the beginning of May.
GoShakes is the brainchild of Carrie Lee Bland-Kendall and Lindsay Nance, a 2006 graduate of Goshen College, who both have backgrounds in theater and currently reside in Goshen.
The two reunited this past summer in Goshen and began meeting together on Wednesday nights to refine their skills. From these meetings came the idea to collaborate with other people and educate and share their love of theater with the larger Goshen community.
Along with the difficulties of finding a location to practice and perform in, GoShakes has also been advertising and gathering interest to keep the organization running.
Brad Weirich, a producer of GoShakes and general manager of Better World Books, is excited to see a collaborative arts program develop in Goshen, but knows the difficulties of starting a new business.
“[It’s] difficult for us to get the word out about needing money to operate a show,” said Weirich. “There is a barrier with not enough people knowing what’s going on.”
In addition to extensive advertising, GoShakes has and will continue to do fundraising programs with local Goshen businesses. The company hopes to appeal to many different age groups — especially high school age. By shortening the original script, the audience will be able to notice underlying themes and conflicts within the well-known story of “Romeo and Juliet.”
A majority of the cast, crew and production team are from the Goshen area or attended Goshen College. Bland-Kendall recognizes the talent from within the community and knows that, in order to succeed, GoShakes needs the community support.
“We want to be part of the community and have the show driven by the community,” said Bland-Kendall. “Goshen College would be on the top of the list of people that we want to collaborate with.”
Possibilities for the future of GoShakes include a move to the Red Tail Barn in Goshen, more Shakespeare productions, workshops with Broadway professionals, casting directors and in the long run, possibly turning GoShakes into a festival of Shakespeare works.
“It only makes sense that we want Goshen College [students] and faculty to be involved,” said Bland-Kendall, “to audition and be a part of this GoShakes journey as we continue to grow.”
“Romeo and Juliet” will be performed May 3, 4, 6 and 9-11 at 8 p.m. and May 5 and 11 at 3 p.m. at the Goshen Theater. Admission is $15 general and $10 senior & student.