All-female cast delivers powerful retelling of ‘Richard II’

All-female cast delivers powerful retelling of ‘Richard II’

Whether you’re Shakespeare-obsessed or have no experience with iambic pentameter whatsoever, Sean Martin’s Richard II is the must-see show of this season. “As far as we know this will be the first production of Richard II ever to be staged in Nashville,” director Sean Martin said. “I also just think opportunities to see things like this are often rare outside of places like New York or London, and it would be an unfortunate thing to miss it.” Richard II is the story of a capricious king who makes arbitrary decisions until his own people welcome an invasion to change leadership. The production examines divine right, the responsibility of the commoners and the psychological weight of a crown. The iconic work is retold with an entirely female cast, mixed with Lipscomb theatre students and Nashville Shakespeare Festival (NSF) actors. Caroline Amos, a regular actress with the NSF, shines in the role of Richard II, her mastery of Shakespeare obvious from her crisp diction and breathtaking storytelling. Amos portrays Richard II honestly and powerfully, making him startlingly relatable. The audience can sympathize with Richard’s mistakes through Amos’ retelling, instead of writing him off as incompetent or weak. The dispute between Carrie Brewer’s role of Bolingbrook and Evelyn O’Neal Brush’s portrayal of Mowbray kickstarts the production, creating a conflict powerful enough to carry the whole show in its wake. Denice Hicks is the perfect choice for the Duke of York. Her wise warmth fills out the intensely loyal role, endearing her to the audience. Richard II also features Lipscomb professor and Chair of Theater Beki Baker as Northumberland, a role she portrays...
‘Richard II’ features all-female cast

‘Richard II’ features all-female cast

Lipscomb’s Theatre department is combining with the Nashville Shakespeare Company to cast an all female cast for a production of Richard II. As a male and self-proclaimed feminist, director Sean Martin finds the dialogue the play creates around the women valuable. “In the past though, at least for me, productions were always overshadowed by a desire to portray Richard as effeminate or inherently weak,” Martin said. “My desire was to get rid of all the imposed stereotypes and to simply let us see the human beings at the story’s core. By doing the play with a female cast, I felt I would be able to achieve that effect. If everyone is feminine then no one could be effeminate.” For those unfamiliar with this rarely referenced Shakespeare play, Richard II is the story of a capricious king, far too concerned with his own finances and arbitrary decisions to consider the emotions of his people. Richard slowly alienates his own subjects, until the common folk welcome a rebellion. “As humans we are all inherently fallible or flawed,” Martin said. “No one is perfect. Richard personifies that in his struggle to know who and what he is. He is a character that we can all relate to.” Martin added that the story of Richard II still provides valuable commentary and lessons for society today, despite its composition in the latter part of the 16th century. “As we explored the script during table work, it actually surprised most of us how relevant this play is today — the overall political themes that it touches on, the power plays, the role of government, taxation, the...
Foundation Dance Theatre presents ‘Elevate: Still I Rise’ dance concert

Foundation Dance Theatre presents ‘Elevate: Still I Rise’ dance concert

Lipscomb’s resident dance company, Foundation Dance Theatre (FDT), will perform Elevate: Still I Rise March 8-10 at 7:30 p.m. each night in Shamblin Theatre. Lipscomb professors Kari Smith and Leigh Anne Ervin are directing the spring concert. “The ‘Still I Rise’ subtitle is based on one of our cornerstone pieces in the show, which is Maya Angelou reading her poem,” Smith said, adding, “and we set a beautiful piano piece underneath the spoken word poem. This piece interprets the poem, and how she was able to rise above no matter what obstacles came her way.” The dances for this concert are choreographed to tell a story related to the theme, and styles including jazz, classical ballet, modern, tap, musical theater and hip hop are performed. The program includes “Try Everything” from the Zootopia soundtrack, as well as “My Shot” from the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. This year, the theatre department changed the Elevate concert from two productions each year to just one production in the spring semester. Ervin said that she thinks this allows time for the pieces to come together more fully. “With the concert this [spring] semester, we’ve been cultivating a few pieces since September,” Ervin said. “It’s been nice to have time for those pieces to breathe a bit.” Not only have the dancers and choreographers had more time to prepare, but Ervin said she believes the ‘Still I Rise’ aspect of the show has become a relevant message for Lipscomb’s campus as well as the country. “I think Angelou’s timeless poem embodies not only the vision for our concert, but also a hopeful vision for your country,”...
‘The Space Between Us’ emotionally brings audiences together but has space to improve

‘The Space Between Us’ emotionally brings audiences together but has space to improve

The Space Between Us is a heartwarming reminder of the complexity of love, but there are elements in which the film is ultimately lacking. There is nothing shockingly new or overwhelmingly picturesque about the cinematography, and while the soundtrack inspires a feeling of adventure, that’s the best sensation the audience receives from the film. Gardner Elliot, played by Asa Butterfield, is born on Mars after his astronaut mother left Earth unknowingly pregnant. Sixteen years later, all Gardner wants is to return to Earth to find his father and meet a girl he met online named Tulsa, played by Britt Robertson. He returns to Earth, and a breathtaking adventure to find love ensues. The Space Between Us may be the type of feel-good romantic comedy couples will flock to on Valentine’s Day, but the film doesn’t prioritize romantic love as the end-all be-all of relationships. The primary focus is Gardner’s search for his birth father and discovering all he can about his family. Despite the film’s releasing around Valentine’s Day, there is a crucial motif showing that being single is never the same as being unloved. The nature shots are stimulating and immersive, thanks to the beautiful color grading and artistic drone shots. However, if the best shots of the film were the drone shots, that’s not highly redeeming of the cinematography. Warmer color grading is used intentionally on Earth symbolizing the longing and passion represented on the planet. The film mostly showcases the adventurous scenery captured by Barry Peterson, the film’s director of photography. Besides the spirit of adventure, the defining feature of the film is the female characters. So often in films,...
Lipscomb plans to uphold Title IX, despite political controversy

Lipscomb plans to uphold Title IX, despite political controversy

President Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has yet to be confirmed, due to comments she has made about education policies in her confirmation hearing on Jan. 17. Title IX is set up to create a mandatory safe space for any student who has been assaulted with unwanted sexual conduct but is unsure of how he or she desires to proceed or what to do from there. Since she has not openly declared whether or not she will uphold Title IX on college campuses, Kathy Hargis, Lipscomb’s own Title IX coordinator and Vice President of Risk Management elaborated what this could mean for Lipscomb’s future. “We want to do the right thing,” Hargis said, “and I don’t think even if the mandate goes away, [Lipscomb] wouldn’t [respond saying] ‘we don’t have to do this anymore.’ I still think in some element, we would keep some of this intact. In my opinion, it’s the right thing to do.” If Lipscomb didn’t claim to subscribe to a Christian code of morals, Hargis thinks the situation would be quite different. “It comes down to funding,” Hargis said. “There will be some schools who probably just don’t want to fool with it just because of the money, and they’re going to put it in their student handbook.” The Title IX Compliance offices investigated the situation to ensure that a situation most likely occurred based on a preponderance of evidence. They then proceed to look out for the students’ physical, emotional and psychological well-being. Lipscomb’s Title IX coordinators offer physical help, safety plans, guidance, therapy and, potentially, no-contact orders to keep students safe. “[Title IX’s influence] has a huge ripple...