If you walk into Schuster Theatre this week, you are bound to hear someone shout something along the lines of “The British are coming!” No, it’s not just a Paul Revere joke. They are referring to CAST, The Cambridge American Stage Tour, which is making its return to Erie Sept. 21.
CAST is coming to Gannon from Cambridge University in Cambridge, England. Cambridge is the third-oldest university in the world, and is internationally recognized for its excellence. The cast members are all students studying anything from drama and history to biology and medicine. They come together to produce Shakespeare in a way that can be appreciated by many.
CAST is currently in its fourteenth year of taking Shakespeare to American colleges and universities. The members of the cast and crew travel the United States for three weeks before returning to Cambridge to perform at home. Gannon has been a stop on their tour for the past several years, bringing plays like “Macbeth” and “The Tempest” to the Erie community.
Working its theatre magic in amazing ways, when CAST comes into the Schuster Theatre there is often a separate stage previously set-up with appropriate seating. With the help of the theatre work-studies and members of Alpha Psi Omega, they tear down the current set to make room for the CAST set. Often times, they have only hours before their performances to build a set, set up props, costumes and tech lights and sound, and if there is time, rehearse before the performance that afternoon or evening. After the show, the same process occurs in reverse. Everything returns to the way it was before CAST arrived so that life at the Schuster can proceed as it was.
This year, CAST is bringing Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” to Gannon University. “Measure for Measure” is considered a Shakespearean comedy, but has also been classified as a “problem play,” so some say, as the mood of the story does not easily lend itself to comedy. The show will be performed on Saturday Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door.