Month-long Shakespeare festival to begin June 29 at Kilgore College

WaMonth-long Shakespeare festival to begin June 29 at Kilgore College
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 1:11 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2023 at 11:09 PM CDT
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KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - The Bard is back: The Texas Shakespeare Festival opening at Kilgore College is less than a month away.

The players are in their places and ready for some serious photography at the annual Shakespeare Fest Media Day. Meaghan Simpson has been artistic director for three years after taking over from founder Raymond Caldwell.

“It’s been hard, but mostly because of the post-COVID world that we’re in. I think the theater in general is still coming out of the COVID wake. So, what’s good about that is I feel like I’ve kind of had my training wheels on for a little bit. And just this season I feel that the training wheels are off,” Simpson said.

She says Caldwell was very helpful before he retired.

“Raymond did so much to impart his knowledge onto me, but there’s just a lot you figure out from the job,” Simpson said.

Sean Dale hails from Denver but is based out of Atlanta and plays a twin in Comedy of Errors.

“Last season, that was my first season. I came back for a fall road show; did their educational tour. And they invited me back for the summer season again, and it’s been a wonderful ride,” Dale said.

But that ride is sort of in three different vehicles.

“I’m also in King Lear, or Lear, and I’m also in Something Rotten, the musical,” Dale said.

That can get confusing.

“When we started the read-through in the very beginning, I couldn’t remember what part I was playing,” Dale said.

So how does he remember three plays?

“I counted up all the lines, and then I divided them by the number of days that I needed to have them memorized in,” Dale said.

“So, who thought as an actor you’d be doing math?” I asked him.

“Goodness gracious, not me. I didn’t make it very far in my math classes in high school,” Dale laughed.

Sean puts the festival at the top of his acting gigs because of the caliber of the other actors.

“I feel the need to rise to the occasion in a positive way. It’s like, ‘okay, we’re doing this, here we go,’” Dale said.

It gives credence to Shakespeare’s line, “One man in his time plays may parts.”

The Texas Shakespeare Festival opens June 29. It takes a crew of about a hundred people to produce the six plays that run through the month of July. Most actors involved have parts in three plays.

KLTV’s Jamey Boyum talks with Texas Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Meaghan Simpson about the festival coming up the entire month of July at Kilgore Coll