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February 22, 2013

Royalty will be visiting the area when the Punxsutawney Theatre Arts Guild, Inc. presents “Much Ado About Will.” Actors bringing the roles to life include (left to right) Jef Dinsmore, Hunter Lee Pataski, Seth Evans, Tim Cooper and Morgan Barrett. (Photo courtesy of Charlotte S. Fye)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Ever been “in a pickle”? Felt like “a laughing stock”? Looked like a “sorry sight”?

If you have ever had occasion to use those words — or worse yet, have had someone use them about you — you may not realize you have been involved with the wit and wisdom of William Shakespeare, who is credited with being the man who added those words to the English language.

The most famous play-wright in the world, whose works continue to be performed and enjoyed in countless languages in nearly every country of the world, may have died centuries ago, yet his creative genius lives on, not only in films, stage plays, TV productions and books, but also in the thousands of now familiar words and phrases that he himself coined as he wrote.

Area theater-goers will have an opportunity to enjoy a fast-paced stage production that re-introduces the audience to the matchless words of the Bard of Avon. The Punxsutawney Theatre Arts Guild will present Robert Johanson’s “Much Ado About Will,” a celebration of the words of Shakespeare in four performances at 7:30 p.m. March 1 and 2 and March 8 and 9 in the auditorium of the Punxsutawney Area Middle School.

Tickets will be sold at the door. The play is produced through special arrangement with Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Illinois.

Under the direction of Guild veteran Kathy S. Dinsmore, the two-act play is a blend of comedy and pathos culled from a variety of scenes and soliloquies of many of Shakespeare’s plays.

The amusing antics of the rustics in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” serve as the bookends for the show that launches PTAG’s 38th season of live community theater. In between the two lengthy excerpts from “Midsummer’s” are explorations of such themes as mistaken identity, murder, love and war.

Among the familiar characters who will appear are Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and the Three Witches (as you’ve never seen them before), Hamlet, Cleopatra and Richard III.

“Much Ado About Will” also includes some of the lesser-known characters, such as Joan of Arc and the infant princess Elizabeth.

Utilizing lighting, small platforms and an assortment of colorful accessories, the cast skillfully moves from one area of the stage to another all the while changing the locale, the characters, the mood and sometimes the accents of each scene.

Innovative approaches to the Bard’s words include music interludes and bits of narration to introduce various segments of the play.

“This unique play is a fine introduction for those who may not know much about the reasons Shakespeare is considered the greatest writer in our language,” director Dinsmore said. “It also gives the actors an opportunity to rise to the challenge of mastering the dialogue and creating new and fresh insights into the classic works of theater. We’re excited about starting our season with a show that celebrates the wonders and the power of the written word. The themes and the excerpts from many of the plays are like a buffet of comic and dramatic treats for the ears and the heart.”

A cast of 12 area performers will assume various roles in the show.

Newcomer Hunter Lee Pataski joins Debra Dinsmore, Doug Fye, Ilona Ball, Jef Dinsmore, Jessica Schidlmeier, Lynn Duncan, Morgan Barrett, Seth Evans, Tery A. Fye, Timothy Lee Cooper and Kathy S. Dinsmore.

Matthew Dinsmore and Terry Studebaker will serve as the technical crew handling lights and sound.

Anyone who desires more information may contact the director at 938-0378.

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