By Dani Zorn '09
To act or not to act was never a question for Paul D'Agostino. Graduating in 2005 from Gordon College with a B.A. in theatre, D'Agostino attended month-long intensive training at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts. Fourteen hours a day D'Agostino and 26 other theatre students studied and practiced voice, movement, text work, and the Alexander technique.
After this 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. schedule for four weeks, D'Agostino attended the Boston Conservatory to study musical theatre. When he graduated in 2008, D'Agostino returned to Shakespeare & Company, rehearsing and performing his first four-month tour of Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night's Dream, in which he played the two kings.
With fellow Gordon graduates Kaitlin Henderson'04 and Kelley Johnston '04, the tour of seven actors travel all around the New England states as well as New Jersey and New York, stopping at several colleges and high schools for their performances and workshops.
Founded in 1978, Shakespeare & Company "merged the power suits of British actors and American actors: the spoken word and the physical body." Today the company (according to their website) continues to "create a theatre of unprecedented excellence rooted in the classical ideals of inquiry, balance and harmony; a company that performs as the Elizabethans did--in love with poetry, physical prowess and the mysteries of the universe."
Jeff Miller, professor of theatre arts at Gordon College, said the three actors were heavily involved in production work at Gordon and all three had a major impact on the quality of the shows.
What Miller remembers most is "a courageousness about their theatre work--whatever it was--and their hunger to learn and grow as artists." D'Agostino and Henderson both studied music as well. "Few people saw the nuanced and powerful work they did in class, but their interpretations of difficult musical-theatre ballads remain among my most moving memories," said Miller.
Shakespeare & Company's mission is to introduce high school students "to a theatrical experience," said D'Agostino. "It's fun, funny and moving all at the same time. That's the most rewarding."
Miller said the three Gordon graduates have an eye for directing as well. "Paul loves clear and specific character detail; Kaitlin sees the overall picture with a keen, insightful eye; and Kelley's sense of pacing is spot-on," Miller said. "They are terrific young artists, and I look forward to enjoying their artistic work for years to come."
Shakespeare & Company is nearing the end of its four-week rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet. "We rehearse 9 to 9 every day until we head out on tour," D'Agostino said. He plays the nurse and the friar. Launching their 31st season, D'Agostino and the rest of Shakespeare & Company prepare for another four months of successful and educational performances.
For more information about performances and ticket sales, visit the Shakespeare & Company website at http://www.shakespeare.org/.
Gordon College is a Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston's North Shore. The College offers majors in 37 fields and has graduate programs in education and music education. Leading the way in Christian college merit, Gordon is nationally ranked for its excellence in academics and its role in character building. These achievements recognize Gordon as one of the nation's top Christian colleges.