UD professor directs play for Shakespeare Dallas

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Linda Smith, News Editor

Stefan Novinski, University of Dallas alumnus of the class of ’92 and associate professor of drama, is directing a production of Shakespeare’s Scottish tragedy Macbeth for Shakespeare Dallas.

Shakespeare Dallas is a company that was founded 41 years ago to not only produce Shakespeare’s plays, but to generate interest in his works among those living in the North Texas area. The executive and artistic director of Shakespeare Dallas is Raphael Parry, co-founder and former co-artistic director of Dallas’ Undermain Theatre. At the Undermain, he directed and performed in over 40 productions. Parry has been honored by the Dallas-Fort Worth Theatre Critics’ Forum; he is a recipient of the Leon Rabin Award, and received the Standing Ovation Award from the Dallas Theatre League in the fall of 2006. Raphael is also the director of Texas Bound, which is a component of the Arts and Letters Live literary series presented at the Dallas Museum of Art, and is the chief artistic officer of Project X, an agency that develops various artistic programs in an urban setting.

Parry says that ever since Shakespeare Dallas this summer announced its intention to have a staged dramatic reading of each of Shakespeare’s works, the hiring of capable directors has become increasingly important in Shakespeare Dallas’ productions.

“We are looking for directors that know Shakespeare and can work in the unusual environment of outdoor theatre,” Parry said. “It is a tough assignment, so we are also looking for a personality as well as talent that meets the needs of this unusual set of conditions. I work with my artistic associate, René Moreno, in considering which director would be a good fit for each play. It is a puzzle that we have to put together every year.”

Novinski, who since his own undergraduate days at UD has known Parry, accepted the Macbeth assignment last fall. Parry has “always been struck by [Novinski’s] enthusiasm and intelligence,” and knew that “he could tell some great stories on stage.”

A group of drama students from the university saw the play at its opening on Saturday, Sept. 22. Another surprise for drama students included seeing class of 2012 alumni Thomas Sorenson and Johnny Wilder playing the parts of Lennox and the Messenger, respectively.

“There’s always a pressure on the process when students are there,” Novinski said. “You try to teach a process that’s not linear or analytical, especially in practice. When we recognize those things, we can teach them in the department and put confidence in the curriculum.”

“The entire experience has been amazing,” said Novinski, identifiying the great dedication of all involved as his favorite part of the production.

“It’s great to have a cast and crew committed to Shakespeare in Dallas,” Novinski said. “It’s great to have people come together, put on a play and to have a number of people show up and enjoy it, and hopefully give them a gift.”

This show features a locally famous cast and crew, including Chris Hury as Macbeth and Joanna Schellenberg as Lady Macbeth; Bob Lavallee for scenic design, Driscoll Otto for lighting, Bruce Richardson for sound and composition, and Amy Pedigo-Otto for costumes. Through them, this show takes on a new life in the Shakespeare Dallas performances.

“It’s a rare opportunity to see two brilliant actors find resonance on stage,” Novinski said. “Many people have talked about how visual it is and about its exciting theatrical moments.”

The play can be seen at the Addison Circle Park from Oct. 3 – 14. The gates open at 7 p.m. and shows will begin at 8 p.m. General admission tickets for non-students are $10 online or at the door, while $7 student tickets can only be purchased at the door. Novinski encourages students to enjoy this great theatrical performance.

“The fall shows at Shakespeare Dallas are some of my favorite theatre experiences,” Novinski said. “Bring a picnic basket and a blanket, and enjoy some of Dallas’ finest actors in one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies.”

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