GV student performances share Shakespeare’s stories


GVL / Sydney Lim

Allison Bair, Staff Writer

This year marks the 29th season of Grand Valley State University’s Shakespeare Festival (GVSF). This season featured a main stage production of “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” The group held its first performance on Oct. 7 and had the final showing on Oct. 16 in the Louis Armstrong Theatre.

This performance is one of the many events in performances of the Shakespeare festival. The production aimed to draw in audiences who are both new to and familiar with Shakespeare’s work. Originally, GVSF began as a way to bring Shakespeare study to life at GVSU and aims to continue to share Shakespeare’s works with the community. 

The mainstage production takes place every other year during the Shakespeare festival. This year’s performance featured a modern twist to the comedy “The Merry Wives of Windsor” with guest director Timuchin Aker. Aker has a long professional record of directing, writing and acting in Shakespearean plays. 

I cast the show based on traits I saw from the actors in auditions and how I thought these traits would fit the characters in ways I thought would be interesting,” Aker said.

“The Merry Wives of Windsor” is a comedy that follows a knight trying to win over two wealthy Windsor women. Aker, the production team and the student actors worked to put a modern twist on this play and create a contemporary angle. 

With the exception of a single guest actor who played the lead role of Falstaff, all of the actors were GVSU students. Although many of the students that were in the production are studying Theatre, some students were not. James Bell, Managing Director of the GVSU Shakespeare Festival, said the organization welcomes anyone who would like to get involved.

In the future for Shakespeare Festival productions and any other Grand Valley Theatre productions any student at GVSU can audition or get involved in production work or take our classes,” Bell said.

Another event of the GVSF is the traveling GVSU student production “Bard to Go: Bardic Inspiration” which will travel to some secondary schools in the area. This production tells Shakespeare’s stories as a tabletop role-playing game with scenes from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Tempest,” “Macbeth,” “Hamlet” and “The Winter’s Tale.” These performances will be held every Friday from Oct. 14 until Nov. 4. 

“A big part of our Shakespeare Festival and mission is to be a resource for area schools and educators,” Bell said. “‘Bard to Go’ tours each fall to area secondary schools to help bring live Shakespeare performances to secondary school students and to offer resources to educators.”

Another event was a performance of “Blue Eye’d Hag” from the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company, a company mainly composed of GVSU alumni. The company is independent of the school but strives to bring the works of Shakespeare to the GVSU community. 

“Our other primary mission is to be that resource and that live Shakespeare opportunity to our own campus and students,” Bell said. “We are Grand Valley, and we want students to enjoy our productions as an audience, as performers, as stage managers and technicians.” 

The remaining event of GVSF includes a performance of “Bard To Go: Bardic Inspiration” on Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. An exact location is to be determined but will take place on GVSU’s Allendale Campus.