Springfield audiences enjoyed a wide variety of theatrical experiences with Aquila Theatre this week! Aquila’s mission is to bring the greatest theatrical works to the greatest number, as evidenced by the diversity of programs offered this week. On Monday, middle and high school students were introduced to the dark and chaotic world of Shakespeare’s Macbeth by way of a special “guided tour” performance, followed by a Q&A session with the cast. The company then journeyed further back in time with Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives, a new initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities built around Greek drama and the ways its themes continue to influence and invigorate contemporary culture. Community members joined in a free workshop using masks and movement to explore the world of classical theatre and acting techniques. Aquila was joined by MSU professor of Modern and Classical Languages Dr. Edwin Carawan as the company treated audiences to a staged reading of scenes from ancient Greek drama, selected from Agamemnon, Ajax, Herakles, and the Odyssey. Community members then participated in a talk-back discussion, sharing their impressions and experiences related to the program’s themes of a soldier’s journey and homecoming.
We returned to the present time on Tuesday, as two actors led high school and college students through an exploration of vocal and movement techniques that Aquila uses in rehearsal and performance. This very physical masterclass encouraged students to explore ideas about status, and ways to use movement to communicate a both character’s self-image and perceived station. Romance and satire reigned in the evening, as Aquila closed out their Springfield engagement with Oscar Wilde’s delightful comedy The Importance of Being Earnest, including a pre-performance talk by the cast’s two actresses. It’s unusual to have such variety in programming from a single troupe over a span of only two days, but the talented performers of Aquila Theatre pulled it off with great aplomb, and were delightful to work with. We wish them much success on the rest of their tour!