Willamette University Presents Shoebox Shakespeare

Co-director Jonathon ColeWillamette University Theatre presents Shoebox Shakespeare, its first show of the 2006-07 season, Oct. 13 and 14 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 15 at 2 p.m., with a preview Oct. 12 at 8 p.m. The performance will be in the Kresge Theatre at Willamette University.

"Eighty percent of Shakespeare's plays require nothing more than actors and a playing space," said Theatre Professor Jonathan Cole. "They rely on the power of the spoken word to indicate time, place and passion."

Shoebox Shakespeare, he said, presents Shakespeare at his most vital -- no elaborate sets, no fancy costumes, just great acting and inventive staging. The performance, which is a collection of the Bard's best-loved scenes and monologues, is presented in a minimalist style that brings out the vivacity of Shakespeare's language. Cole and Willamette University students Laura Hoff and Laura Wheatman adapted the scenes and direct.

"This project is near and dear to my heart," Cole said. "One way to enable theatre to live and thrive is to help young people fall in love with plays. Shakespeare is boring to many high school students and doesn't have anything to do with their real lives. To combat that assumption, we have assembled some of Willamette University's finest actors to bring the Bard from the page to the stage.

"The rough and ready presentation style and the fight scenes, combined with the sheer dramatic and emotional range of the content, should delight even the most jaded audience member," said Cole, who is an Advanced Actor Combatant certified through the Society of American Fight Directors.

Shoebox Shakespeare presents a remarkable opportunity for artists behind the scenes. Hoff, a junior theatre major from Fresno, Calif., and Wheatman, a senior theatre major from Pleasanton, Calif., serve as assistant directors. They helped adapt and cast the show and will direct a selection of scenes.

The company features Lesli Okorn, a senior theatre major from Tigard, Ore.; Sarah Hamilton, a senior theatre major from Salt Lake City, Utah; Eliza Leoni, a senior theatre major from San Francisco, Calif.; Kyle McBroom, a senior theatre and rhetoric major from Hillsboro, Ore.; Ben Nockles, a senior theatre and math major from Gresham, Ore.; Karen Johnson, a junior history major from Pleasant Hill, Calif.; Annie Rimmer, a junior theatre major from Portland, Ore.; Cory Goble, a sophomore theatre major from Las Vegas, Nev.; Tara McLauchlan, a sophomore theatre and psychology major from Woodinville, Wash.; and Olivia Saccomanno, a freshman psychology major from Grass Valley, Calif.

To purchase tickets, contact the Willamette University Box Office at 503-370-6221 or reserve tickets by email at Tickets are $5 for Oct. 12, 14, and 15 performances, and $7 for opening night on Oct. 13. The Willamette campus is at 900 State Street in Salem. For more information contact the Theatre Department at 503-370-6222 or visit the website at