Performing Arts Center Showcases Shakespeare

Melissa Rollins, Staff Writer

FMU’s Opening Gala for the new Performing Arts Center (PAC), which lasts from Sept. 9 to Sept. 12, will include a showcase of scenes and monologues from various Shakespearean plays.

The “Shakespeare Showcase” will be performed twice on Saturday, Sept. 10. The first performance begins at 1 p.m., and the second will start at 4 p.m. Each performance will last approximately 40 minutes.

Admission to the show is free, but is on a first-come, first-served basis with seating limited to around 100 people. Some of the other gala events have a cost to attend, but the showcase offers an alternative for those wanting to see and experience the completed PAC.

Professor of Theatre Arts Keith Best worked with his students from to put together the showcase. He will also be performing in it.

“The intent was to make something available to everyone,” Best said. “So, on Saturday afternoon (there) are free events for people who want to come see the new Performing Arts Center but can’t afford to buy a ticket.”

Shakespeare’s plays are royalty-free, allowing the shows to be offered free of charge to patrons.

Best will be performing alongside Glen Gourley, another theater professor, in “The Merchant of Venice.”

“I’m looking forward to playing the character of Shylock in the scene of ‘The Merchant of Venice’,” Best said. “That’s one of my dream roles to play, and even though we’re only doing a few pages. . . the character of Shylock really comes across well.”

The showcase will be performed in the black box theater inside of the PAC. This theater style is different from traditional theater. In addition to limited seating, black box theater is also different in the staging of the show.

“It won’t be a fully realized show,” Best said “We’ll have some costumes and some props, but for the most part it’s done very minimally.”

Many of the students performing are theater majors enrolled in Acting III.

Cierra Buckman, a junior double-majoring in English and biology who also works at the PAC, said that she is looking forward to the showcase.

“I took Dr. Jacobs’ Shakespeare class, which has given me a different perspective on Shakespeare’s work,” Buckman said. “I also love black box theater and the experiences it provides. I am looking forward to seeing what Professor Best does with the performance.”

The plays that are included in the showcase are “The Merchant of Venice,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Othello,” “Macbeth,” “As You Like It” and “Henry V.”

More information about upcoming events at the Performing Arts Center is available at