Kellogg Community College will break in the newly renovated Binda Performing Arts Center this weekend with an onstage production mashing up scenes from “Star Wars,” “The Big Lebowski” and the works of William Shakespeare.
The show, dubbed “Sampled Shakespeare,” will open at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, at the center, located on KCC’s campus at 450 North Ave., Battle Creek. The opening performance and all other performances are free.
Additional performances are scheduled for:
- 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15
- 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16
- 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21
- 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22
- 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23
Brad Poer, theatre coordinator and professor at KCC and director of the production, said the show is a hybridized, low-budget production of staged readings from the books “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars,” “The Empire Striketh Back” and ‘The Jedi Doth Return” by Ian Doescher, and “Two Gentlemen of Lebowski” by Adam Bertocci. The source books are Elizabethan English translations of the modern films.
The production – which features a cast consisting primarily of KCC students and a handful of community members – will include nine scenes inspired by the original “Star Wars” trilogy followed by five scenes inspired by “The Big Lebowski.” The actual movie scenes will be projected onscreen above the stage before being performed in the translated style by live actors.
Poer said he’s excited about making Shakespeare more accessible to an audience that might otherwise not choose to expose themselves to the classic works of the Bard.
“For most people, their first and oftentimes only experience with Shakespeare is when they’re forced to read it out loud in English class,” Poer said. “With this production, the audience can look at the performances on the screen, see the actors’ performances of the same scenes in Shakespearian voice and say, OK that’s how it translates.”
In addition to the novelty of the production’s content, “Sampled Shakespeare” will also be the first major performance event held in the Binda space since a $4.1 million renovation project was completed last month. The renovations, which began in January, doubled the size of the lobby, improved acoustics and other functional aspects of the theatre space and allowed for the integration of new technologies, such as the projection capabilities to be utilized in the Shakespeare production.
Poer called the show a kind of “six-night party” to christen the new space.
“I’m excited for the whole thing. We’ll be experiencing these movies in a new way and then using theatre itself in a new way, too,” he said. “Come expecting a very different evening of theatre and we’ll make sure you have a good time.”
While the “Star Wars” portions of the show are family friendly, the movie clips from “The Big Lebowski” include strong language not appropriate for those under 17. An intermission will be held between the two portions of the show to provide those who do not wish to stay for “The Big Lebowski” portion to depart.
Group reservations for the show are not required but are available. For more information, contact the KCC Box Office at 269-965-4154.
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