Rachel Strayer earned her Master of Arts degree and her Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing/Playwriting at Wilkes University. She is a writer as well as a professor, teaching classes at Keystone College and Marywood University. Every summer, Rachel teaches playwriting classes for teens here at the Library. Also every summer, her company Ghostlight Productions produces Shakespeare in the Park at South Abington Park. This year? Macbeth!
How is Shakespeare still relevant today? What will modern audiences appreciate?
Shakespeare is relevant today because his plays deal with the same themes we see in life; from the common emotions of love, jealousy, anger and joy to the news-worthy tragedies of murder, revenge, and abuse. This year's choice of play is no different. For a modern comparison, if you liked watching the downfall of Breaking Bad's Walter White, the character of Macbeth takes a similar (albeit, drug-free) descent. He starts as a good, moral man who just wants to provide for his family (in this case, the devious Lady Macbeth). For the sake of his ambition, however, he constantly compromises his morality, slowing evolving into a completely different man. It's a fascinating process to watch, and while we may not face such dramatic ethical quandaries in our own lives, most of us know what it's like to face a moral compromise for something we really want. If we give in, how does that change us? I think modern audiences will find a lot to connect with in this production.
Why do you believe community theatre is important?
There are too many answers to this question! When all is said and done, quality community theatre brings people together. Local theatre artists gather to share their gifts, we're supported financially by local businesses, and everyone is welcome to come to a free show in our beautiful community park. From start to finish, this production is created by the community, for the community, and it allows us all to bond in a way that wouldn't otherwise be possible.
How can community members get involved with Ghostlight Productions?
We are always looking for new people to audition! But even if you've never desired to be in the limelight, there are still ways people can help out. We are looking for individuals who are willing to help with fundraising, set building, set painting, and so much more. We are also looking for people who are business-minded or who design websites and would like to offer their time and services to make Ghostlight a stronger company. We thrive on having people involved who are passionate about theatre and who want to use their talents. And as always, we're looking for anyone - businesses and individuals - who would like to support Ghostlight Productions financially. We love being able to offer free Shakespeare in the Park to our community, but of course, no production is actually free to put on. We're extremely grateful to those who help us with the financial burden. Anyone interested in getting involved in any capacity should email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org