Traveling theater group explores love and war

GVL / Matt Oberski
Genesis Loza and Jason Flannery practicing for Bard to Go.

GVL / Matt Oberski Genesis Loza and Jason Flannery practicing for Bard to Go.

Shelby Pendowski

The Grand Valley State University theater group, Bard to Go, puts a new twist on Shakespeare’s ideas of love and war. In “All’s Fair,” seven GVSU students combine scenes from some of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, which shows the idea of how far a character will go to achieve their goal, said director Katherine Mayberry.

“It includes scenes from ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ ‘Macbeth,’ ‘Much Ado About Nothing,’ ‘Measure for Measure’ and ‘The Winter’s Tale,’” Mayberry said.

GVSU theater professor James Bell said the play is structured to cater to high school students in an interesting way that shows Shakespeare in a more easily understood, contemporary setting.
“It is always very entertaining and interactive with its audience,” Bell said.

The cast includes students Erik Czuprinski, Matthew Fowler, Jason Flannery, Sean Kelley, Genesis Loza, Brianna Shahly, and Sarah Tryon. The crew includes Mayberry, David Johnson, Scott Lange and English professor Rachel Anderson.

Bell said the students auditioned last April and were chosen amongst others, who were auditioning for “Richard III.” They have been working on the production since May.

“The first thing that happens is the creation of the script,” Mayberry said. “The cast has been rehearsing since two weeks before classes started. They have done a lot of work with Shakespeare’s language, as well as creating the blocking, or stage movement for the scenes, and they had an intensive week of fight rehearsals on the sword fights that happen in the production.”

Loza said working with Bard to Go has taught her the level of commitment and time it takes to develop a production, but it was all worth it.

“I want to gain experience working in an ensemble,” Loza said.

For Kelley, performing with Bard to Go is more than just a learning experience, it is an unforgettable opportunity.

“Characters that last hundreds of years, like the ones in Shakespeare’s plays, are imitations of the greatest and most volatile people in memory,” Kelley said. “Trying to act like one takes every bit of physical, intellectual and emotional attention in you. I can’t imagine a more challenging or rewarding experience, especially as it brings a cast close together and affects people in the community.”

Performances begin Oct. 5 at 2 p.m. with a free performance in the Pere Marquette room inside the Kirkhof Center on GVSU’s Allendale Campus.

“For Grand Valley students, it’s a short, fun Shakespeare show they can see for free…” Bell said.

For more information about Bard to Go, or for a complete performance listing, go to

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