"Bingo" to be Staged at Bates

The last year in the life of William Shakespeare is the subject of a dramatic play to be staged at Bates College on March 7, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m., and on March 10 at 2 p.m. in the Schaeffer Theatre. Tickets are $6.

“Bingo,” written in 1974 by British playwright Edward Bond, speculates on how the great Bard’s wealth and fame prevented him from fully loving both family members and humanity. Directed by William Pope.L of the Bates theater department, the production portrays Shakespeare, a wealthy landowner, as an absentee father engaged in a difficult relationship with his daughter, Judith.

“Bond has taken a revered superstar of the 17th century and imaginatively re-examined his life as a lesson to all of us today,” Pope.L said. “The story is not about Shakespeare but about us and how we must not lose sight of what is really important: people, not profits; children, not obedience; love, not security.”

Pope.L has set Bond’s play between the 17th and 20th centuries. The director considers Shakespeare “a 17th century Elvis, a successful superstar who wakes up one day to find himself all dressed up with no place to go,” Pope.L said.

The production will be set predominantly in Shakespeare’s time with resonant references to the 20th century, including a peasant rock ‘n roll jam about medieval Christianity and death.

The play features three senior theater majors at Bates: Gregory T. Arata of Bangor as Old Man/Ben Jonson, Margaret Hopper of Brielle, N.J. as Judith and Steven Young of Concord, Mass. as Shakespeare.

As a tribute to Lewiston’s working class culture, Pope.L has re-worked and included French-Canadian step-dance routines as an integral part of the play’s peasant culture. “I hope to provide the audience with an entertaining theater experience which is adventurous, multi-cultural, timely and fun,” he said.

William Matthews, of the Bates music department, has composed original music for the production. Marcy Plavin, of the Bates theater department, provides the choreography. Josh Williamson and Barbara Rodgers, both of the theater department, provide the lighting and set design respectively. Jennifer Moore ’96 of Rindge, N.H. has designed the costumes.

For further information , call the box office at 207-786-6161.

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