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Voices Found Repertory Brings Ancient and Modern Texts to Center Stage

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Voices Found Repertory
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Alec Lachman speaking with Lake Effect's Bonnie North.

In Milwaukee's well-established theater scene, Voices Found Repertory is one of the new kids on the block. The material they generally present, however, dates back nearly five centuries. 

The group specializes in Shakespeare, but also presents some new works as well as some commissioned from playwrights.

Alec Lachman, one of the founding members, says this specialization was the inspiration for creating Voices Found. 

"We wanted to see more Shakespeare and more new work done. You know, new playwrights, new plays, and more opportunities for young actors, for people coming out of school to play roles, to get a chance to do things that they normally wouldn't get cast as," says Lachman. 

The organization's most recent production, Richard III, will be a gender-blind retelling of the classic Shakespearian historical play. The group stays true to the original text, relying heavily on the First Folio, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Arden. But they do cut their scripts for time, since many audiences have a hard time sitting through a three-hour (or five-hour) play.

"It's a long process to cut scripts. We put them all up on the wall, we put the whole script up, and we start to go through and pick out which pieces are the most important or which pieces we feel are necessary to the story," says Lachman.

"I think it's important, especially in classical theater and especially in Shakespeare, for actors to kind of see their role as a conduit for the text; to be, sort of the avenue through which the audience is able to receive the story," adds Jennifer Voster, a member of the company who will perform the title role in Richard III.

Voices Found Repertory's production of Richard III opens February 8, and runs through February 19, at the Arcade Theatre in the Shops of Grand Avenue. 

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Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.