It’s every town’s dream: Raise young people who participate in the town’s quality programs and they will return to give back to those programs and support another generation.
Andrew Fridae and Emma Pfanner are longtime friends and were actors together in the 2008 Winters Shakespeare Workshop production of “The Tempest,” and will be teaming up again as director and costume designer, respectively, for the Winters Shakespeare Workshop’s production of William Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors,” set in the 22nd century.
Fridae, 24, is an actor, director, playwright and puppeteer from Winters. He graduated from Bennington College (2012), where he studied theater after falling in love with the stage through Winters Shakespeare Workshop (WSW).
He has directed in the past and some in college, but coincidentally, directed a production of “The Importance of Being Ernest,” as a start-up company, and Emma Pfanner was his assistant director/stage manager.
“I was in several WSW productions, from ages 13-18,” says Fridae. “I had a lot of fun roles, including Benedick from ‘Much Ado about Nothing,’ Jaques from ‘As You Like It,’ Prospero from ‘The Tempest’ and Berowne from ‘Love’s Labours Lost.
“These years were central to my decision to pursue theater professionally and to study it in college. I have this company (WSW) and especially Russell St. Clair’s years of direction to thank for it.”
Pfanner has many years of experience with Winters Shakespeare Workshop and is also returning to work again in WSW. Pfanner is also from Winters and was a comparative literature major and also studied Russian Language at UC Berkeley. She currently is club leader for drama clubs at Shirley Rominger and Winters High School.
“I am really looking forward to doing ‘The Comedy of Errors’ for a third time,” says Pfanner. “I acted in it once and costumed for it once, both times in wildly different settings. It is an interesting play, and I like the opportunities the costumers have to work ‘theater magic.’”
This play sets a high bar in both characters and costuming.
“We need to create two sets of identical twins, so alike in appearance that the play revolves around them being mistaken for each other constantly throughout a day,” explains Pfanner. “Of course, we rarely get even one set of twins in the cast, so this means making two sets of unrelated teenagers nearly impossible to tell apart.
“It is a fun challenge to face, and I love it when two kids you would never mistake for each other in their normal clothes become indistinguishable in costume. I think that really speaks to the power of theater and costuming.”
When asked about what he wants young actors to know about the Winters Shakespeare Workshop, Fridae says, “We are looking for kids who want to throw themselves into something big and come out stronger. Diving into a 425-year-old play is not a simple task, and we don’t do it just because we want to put on a fun show, but because Shakespeare captured portraits of the human condition, ages ago, which can still be filled with life today.
“When kids do the work of learning a play like this, they’re not just acting. They get a chance to inhabit a spirit that endures across time and history.”
How Can You Get Involved?
Winters Shakespeare Workshop is for teens ages 13-19. The program runs June 14 through July 16, and practice is Sunday through Thursday 6:30-9:30 p.m. Performances are Friday and Saturday, July 17 and 18, at 8 p.m.
The cost to participate in the workshop is $250, and scholarships are available. Sign-ups take place at the Winters Community Library, or visit WFOL.org, or call 795-3476. Performers receive an intensive blast of training in all aspects of theater, including production, physical comedy, singing, dancing, stage combat, special effects, and an opportunity to have an absolute blast and make long-lasting friendships.
Reading for parts will take place on Sunday, June 7, at 2 p.m. at the Winters Community Library, 708 Railroad Ave.
This article by Jesse Loren, was titled “Andrew Fridae, a veteran of many Winters Shakespeare Workshop plays, will take over as director of the annual project for this year’s production of “The Comedy of Errors.” is reprinted with permission from Winters Express. Some dates have been updated. Find more of Jesse’s writing at Ipinion Syndicate.