The Actors Shakespeare Company at New Jersey City University is a professional, non profit ensemble theater, entering into its Eleventh Season of service to the Hudson County area, and its sixth at New Jersey City University. ASC’s relationship to NJCU has blossomed into a full partnership, as ASC was made the theatre in residence at NJCU in 2008.
ASC produces the plays of Shakespeare as well as other classics and classically inspired works, staged readings, and, most recently, podium readings of new, Shakespeare themed plays (such as The Jewish King Lear) and experimental laboratory productions of Shakespeare’s texts (a four actor, modern dress Romeo and Juliet). Additionally, ASC offers an exciting and varied menu of educational programming for students from elementary school to adult.
ASC bases its work on the personal leadership and responsibility of its members as well as a commitment to the illumination of the text. Actors and directors resolve textual questions by referring to folio and quarto versions of the play, instead of relying exclusively on the editorial decisions of others. The ASC Ensemble works together on an ongoing basis to define and master the Company voice as well as the individual skills of its members. Ongoing workshops in text, verse, voice, combat and dance are a regular feature of the ASC actor’s life, and are led by Company members, each sharing his or her area of expertise.
The Company chooses to keep the audience lit throughout the production, and makes liberal use of character/audience relationship, keeping with the notion that Shakespeare’s plays were performed outdoors during the day, and that the literature is meant to engage, as well as entertain, its audience. The Company does not indulge these conventions out of tradition or a sense of historical recreation, but to explore how such practices activate the language of the text and the conflicts of the story.