Niagara University theatre students enrolled in a course on Shakespearean acting recently had a chance to learn from a company member of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.
Andrew Long, who was in town as a company member with the national tour of War Horse at Shea’s Performing Arts Center, met with NU students in the Leary Theatre on Thursday, Nov. 14.
During the approximately three-hour dialogue, Long spoke about his path to previous acting experiences, which have taken him all over the world, as well as his theatre and classical training. He then coached the theatre students through their Shakespeare monologues, helping them to make discoveries about their individual technique, character and intent.
Concluding the event was a Q-and-A session that allowed the aspiring actors to seek advice on forging careers on stage and ask Long about his work on War Horse.
“This business is certainly challenging and not for everyone. It’s a profession that chooses you. If you can do something else and be just as happy, go do the other thing. The people who work hard and invest into themselves as a business are the ones who are constantly working. You will make sacrifices in your life as an artist, working unorthodox hours and traveling constantly, especially if you’re on tour. But the benefits and rewards are beyond measurable,” Long said.
Long was brought to Monteagle Ridge by Adriano Gatto, an artist-in-residence in Niagara’s theatre department. The two became friends while Gatto was serving as an acting fellow at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in 2007-2008.
“Andrew is such an extraordinary actor and artist,” commented Gatto. “I’ve had the privilege of working with him onstage in five shows at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and also assisting him in numerous master classes. His commitment and work with the classics, language and this profession are inspiring. I consider myself very fortunate that we became such good friends off stage. Having our students hear of Andrew’s career and witness his process with this beautiful language really enforced the education our BFA performance students are receiving. We hold our students to the highest professional standards in this business.”
A 2007 Will Shakespeare Award recipient and 2010 Lunt Fontanne fellow, Long has held title roles in in Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra, among many others, at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. His Off-Broadway credits include The Misanthrope and Swansong. Long has appeared in the international tour of The Bridge Project Richard 3 directed by Sam Mendes; as well as M. Butterfly, Gross Indecency (Guthrie Theater); Educating Rita (Huntington Theatre); My Fair Lady (Signature Theatre); Amadeus (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis); Richard III (Denver Center Theatre); Romeo and Juliet (Folger Theatre); Cobb (Chautauqua Theater Company); and productions with Cincinnati Playhouse, Delaware Theater Company, O’Neill Center, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Alabama, Oregon and Illinois Shakespeare Festivals, and Pioneer Theatre.
For more information on Niagara University’s Theatre program, please visit www.niagara.edu/theatre-fine-arts.