arts eclectic

"It's actually one of my favorites," says Austin Shakespeare artistic director Ann Ciccolella in reference to Much Ado About Nothing. "The last time Austin Shakespeare did it was ten years ago, when I started as artistic director."

"We did it in the park [ten years ago], and I really wanted to do an indoor production, because the Rollins theatre is so intimate," she says of the current production, which is being staged at the cozy Rollins Theatre space at the Long Center.

At the heart of Much Ado is the romantic pairing of Beatrice and Benedick. "They are very argumentative with each other; they love each other but they get in their own way," says Ciccolella of the pair. She tapped veteran stage actors Gwendolyn Kelso and Marc Pouhé to play Beatrice and Benedick, after working with them as a different romantic-but-feuding couple in a recent production of Taming of the Shrew.

"I've been working for several years on the theme of how humans and technology interact," says artist Rachel Stuckey. "Especially on an emotional level."

"I guess maybe I'm a little bit different than... the classic millennial who really has grown up with computers," says Stuckey, remembering the early pre-Internet part of her life. "I remember the day that we got AOL in my house and that sort of started to become part of my life."

"Gosh, I love old comic books," says Austin artist Rob Ozborne. "I also love art and art history, and so my work is ... brush, pen, inks, [and] I always use dots -- halftone dots -- as a tip of the hat to the old comic book printing process."

That love of both high art and comics makes Ozborne a good fit for the "Artists' Alley" section of Wizard World Comic Con, and he'll be setting up shop there this weekend when Wizard World makes its yearly visit to Austin. It's a place where fans come to see his work, and he can let his geek flag fly as a fan as well.

"The thing is, when you go to Comic Con, there's so much cool stuff and there's so many really talented artists, and there's always some unique find and so, yeah, everybody's geeking out about all kinds of things... including me."

Michal Daniel

"It might be a signature role because I've done it a lot of times, but it's always new, always fresh," says baritone Norman Garret about the role of Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen. The character's a bit larger than life, a flamboyent bullfighter who catches the eye of the title character; Garrett has played the role several times, but always brings a little something different to his portrayal.  And he definitely feels a kinship with Escamillo.

"I really wanted to direct a play this year," says director Jason Phelps.

Capital T Theatre artistic director Mark Pickell suggested he read The Brothers Size, by playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney. "I read it and it was amazing," Phelps says. "And then after I saw Moonlight [this year's Oscar winner for Best Picture] ... by the same writer ... I just wanted to do it even more."

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