The Louisville Cardinal U of L's Independent Student Newspaper 2016-07-26T20:54:00Z http://www.louisvillecardinal.com/feed/atom/ WordPress http://www.louisvillecardinal.com/media/2016/05/cropped-lc-logo-1-32x32.png Kyeland Jackson <![CDATA[Board of Trustees meeting rescheduled for Wednesday]]> http://www.louisvillecardinal.com/?p=37053 2016-07-26T20:54:00Z 2016-07-26T20:46:37Z By Kyeland Jackson — Univeristy of Louisville trustees will discuss President James Ramsey’s fate Wednesday, after abruptly canceling a July 26 meeting just an hour before it was scheduled to begin. Tomorrow’s meeting begins at 3:30 p.m. The Board of Trustees meeting was originally scheduled for Tuesday morning. Cindy Hess, U of L’s director of communications […]

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By Kyeland Jackson —

Univeristy of Louisville trustees will discuss President James Ramsey’s fate Wednesday, after abruptly canceling a July 26 meeting just an hour before it was scheduled to begin. Tomorrow’s meeting begins at 3:30 p.m.

The Board of Trustees meeting was originally scheduled for Tuesday morning. Cindy Hess, U of L’s director of communications and marketing, said the meeting was rescheduled due to conflicts. It had been announced to the media Monday

Trustees will decide whether to accept Ramsey’s resignation at the meeting. Ramsey allegedly offered his resignation during a dubious executive meeting last week.

Wednesday’s meeting agenda includes discussion on what’s next for the presidency and the search process for the position. While Ramsey may retire from the university, he could remain president of the University of Louisville Foundation, U of L’s nonprofit endowment manager.

Ramsey has not clarified whether he will remain president of the Foundation and has dodged questions about it. He has come under fire for receiving $8 million in deferred compensation from the Foundation between 2012 and 2014.

This story will be updated.

Photo credit // The Louisville Cardinal File Photo

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Briana Williams <![CDATA[U of L bookstore mostly unchanged after renovations]]> http://www.louisvillecardinal.com/?p=36990 2016-07-26T02:26:54Z 2016-07-26T02:26:54Z In late April, it was announced that Barnes and Noble would no longer be U of L’s bookstore partner. The popular chain was replaced by Follett Higher Education Group. The new partnership was supposed to bring along an updated bookstore as well as a wider variety of merchandise for students to purchase. In May, the […]

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In late April, it was announced that Barnes and Noble would no longer be U of L’s bookstore partner. The popular chain was replaced by Follett Higher Education Group.

The new partnership was supposed to bring along an updated bookstore as well as a wider variety of merchandise for students to purchase. In May, the bookstore closed for four days in order to make these updates. But nearly two months after the “renovation,” the store looks virtually the same.

With the exception of the Barnes and Noble signs no longer hanging, the thousands of students who return to campus may not realize that any renovations happened.

One student found shopping in the store wasn’t aware that any renovations had happened.

“I didn’t know we were supposed to get a new bookstore,” the student said.

Follett Higher Education Group partners with thousands of schools across the country. U of L officials expressed their optimism for the new partnership in May.

There were new displays and products in the store that weren’t offered before, including Fitbit and Kate Spade items. There was also a slightly wider variety of school supplies and apparel, but prices were still similar to those under Barnes and Noble.

With the Student Activities Center undergoing a costly facelift for the next few years, the bookstore is bound to change with it. And due to relatively low foot traffic over summer, it’s possible that some updates may be made in the next few weeks before the fall semester begins. But, at least for now, the overall layout of the store will remain familiar to students.

Photo by Briana Williams // The Louisville Cardinal

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Kyeland Jackson <![CDATA[Brief: Debate on monument re-location begins]]> http://www.louisvillecardinal.com/?p=37040 2016-07-25T21:16:48Z 2016-07-25T21:16:48Z By Kyeland Jackson — U of L’s infamous confederate monument could move as far as an hour southwest from campus. Reported by the Courier-Journal, about two dozen appealed to Mayor Greg Fischer’s art commission Monday, trying to move the statue to suggested locations. Many ideas came from Brandenburg officials, who said they would welcome the monument […]

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By Kyeland Jackson —

U of L’s infamous confederate monument could move as far as an hour southwest from campus.

Reported by the Courier-Journal, about two dozen appealed to Mayor Greg Fischer’s art commission Monday, trying to move the statue to suggested locations. Many ideas came from Brandenburg officials, who said they would welcome the monument as another tourism spot for the city.

Brandenburg holds Civil War reenactments every two years, attracting many to city.

Paducah, Virginia, Perryville and other locations were suggested for where the monument could move. Statue advocates said Fischer bowed to political correctness, and suggested the statue remain in Jefferson county.

The planned removal of the statue was announced by Fischer and President James Ramsey in April. The announcement drew immediate backlash, with advocates gathering around the monument and calling it an erasure of history.

In May a judge ruled Fischer could legally remove the contested statue. While the city may act, Fischer’s office has stated the monument will remain until a destination is decided.

Regardless of the decision, debate remains heated. Pan-African Studies Chair Ricky Jones defended himself during a forum on the monument, blaming accusations against him on racist sentiment.

“To call me or my people terrorists, or terrorists sympathizers…that is one of the greatest erasures of history ever,” Jones said at the forum.

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Kyeland Jackson <![CDATA[Ramsey’s fate to be decided Tuesday]]> http://www.louisvillecardinal.com/?p=37032 2016-07-26T13:21:13Z 2016-07-25T17:46:10Z By Kyeland Jackson — Update: As of Tuesday morning this meeting was postponed due to scheduling conflicts. Date of the rescheduled meeting has not been decided. President James Ramsey’s resignation will be decided sooner than later, after the Board of Trustees unexpectedly announced they will meet tomorrow. A news release confirmed the meeting. Ramsey offered his resignation […]

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By Kyeland Jackson —

Update: As of Tuesday morning this meeting was postponed due to scheduling conflicts. Date of the rescheduled meeting has not been decided.

President James Ramsey’s resignation will be decided sooner than later, after the Board of Trustees unexpectedly announced they will meet tomorrow.

A news release confirmed the meeting.

Ramsey offered his resignation in a questionable executive session when trustees met two weeks ago. Pledging to remain legal in executive session, Chairman Pro Tem Junior Bridgeman said the board would accept Ramsey’s resignation at the next meeting.

Originally, the next meeting was set for August 16.

While Ramsey’s resignation may be contested, tomorrow’s agenda considers the next steps in searching for a new president and the transition period in between. Ramsey has said he would be willing to remain president during the transition, but no further than the next academic year. He has not announced whether he shall remain president of the U of L Foundation, saying “we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

Last week’s meeting stirred the university when students convinced the board to reconsider the school’s budget.

The budget included an increase to student tuition, meal plan and housing rates, prompting students Kate Hall, Kaleb Fischbach and Jamie El-Mallakh to question it. Hall said students have quit college after previous tuition increases, and asked why Ramsey’s deferred compensation from the U of L Foundation was not used to allay tuition costs.

“Do you care about low income students who have to work full time to work through college?” Hall asked trustees during the meeting.

Ramsey was payed upwards of $8 million from the foundation between 2012 and 2014.

Bridgeman allowed the students to stay and talk throughout the meeting, offering to halt the budget approval to ease concerns. He announced a new committee would be formed to analyze the budget by today, but Cindy Hess, U of L’s director of communications and marketing, said it has not been formed yet.

Hess said the committee is in an “information gathering” stage, and will host a public meeting when it’s gathered.

Bridgeman did not clarify if Ramsey would be part of the group, but said the committee is more for board members than administrators. Student Government Administration President Aaron Vance said he plans to be on the committee.

“I would be remiss to think that the student rep. shouldn’t be apart of it,” Vance said in an email.

Vance said he opposed the budget and later issued a statement condemning tuition increases.

Tomorrow’s meeting will be held in the Jefferson room of Grawemeyer Hall at 9:30 a.m.

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Matthew Shircliffe <![CDATA[A retrospective look at the superlatives of Seinfeld]]> http://www.louisvillecardinal.com/?p=37018 2016-07-23T14:33:24Z 2016-07-22T02:00:32Z By Matthew Shircliffe– It has been just over a year since Hulu unleashed the entire 169-episode collection of Seinfeld, arguably the most recognizable sitcom of all time. I spent a month last summer reviewing the entire series and in light of the anniversary, I wanted to delve a little deeper into the 90s sitcom narrative. Favorite Characters The show […]

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By Matthew Shircliffe–

It has been just over a year since Hulu unleashed the entire 169-episode collection of Seinfeld, arguably the most recognizable sitcom of all time. I spent a month last summer reviewing the entire series and in light of the anniversary, I wanted to delve a little deeper into the 90s sitcom narrative.

Favorite Characters

The show thrived on the existence of minor characters who made well-timed appearances. Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer were always the focus of the show, but the supporting cast played just as intricate of a role in the series.

Kenny Bania– He appeared in seven episodes and was an absolute nuisance to Jerry. The way Jerry treated Bania, loathing his existence, was a perfect comedic rival for the show’s main character.

David Puddy– Elaine’s on again, off again boyfriend had a rugged masculinity blended with subtle stupidity. This aloof character made the most out of his screen time by confusing and intriguing anyone around him. Puddy as a top character? Yeah, that’s right.

Joe Bookman– Also known as the “Library Cop”, Bookman appeared in two episodes. But that was all he needed to leave his intense and focused mark on the series.

Jackie Chiles– The well-spoken and sometimes verbose lawyer fell into litigation because of Kramer’s ineptitude, frequently suffering public embarrassment because of his client’s under-the-table settlements.

Tim Whatley– Jerry maybe an anti-dentite and quite possibly a rival of Whatley, but the dentist had a counter-intuitive presence that was played well by Bryan Cranston.

J. Peterman– His outlandish stories, which sometimes weren’t even his, were comedic because of his serious undertone and distinct speaking mannerism.

Frank Constanza– Always ripe for an explosion, he created a national holiday and an upper body undergarment for men. His uncontrollable rants directed toward George were humorously painful to watch.

George Steinbrenner– Though viewers never see his face, “The Boss” has wild presence on screen, and is usually played by the show’s creator Larry David.

Mr. Kruger– His careless inability to command his company was laughable and his multiple run-ins with Dr. Van Nostrand create an awkwardly humorous dynamic.

Newman– Jerry’s arch nemesis gets the last laugh in the finale, but the mailman bickers back and forth with the protagonist throughout the series.

Least favorite characters

Mike Moffitt– The Parking Space episode is one of the more frustrating episodes in the series and Moffitt plays a quintessential role in it.

Uncle Leo– His “Hello’s” were too much for the offsetting character, but Elaine drawing in his eyebrows were one the more memorable moments in the show.

Top Episodes

There are plenty of classic episodes and all 169 were ranked recently, but here are a few of my favorites.

The Opposite– George’s life goes on the upswing after he decides to do everything he thinks he shouldn’t do. “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right,” Jerry tells George.

The Marine Biologist– The show was known for wrapping everything together by the end of the episode. This ending was one of the most memorable closing sequences.

The Invitations– After a full season of George trying to thwart his engagement, Susan meets an oddly tragic ending which is uncomfortably convenient for him. The doctor, who appears in multiple episodes, gives George the news with a stone-cold and unabashed demeanor.

The Pothole– All four main characters have unique problems in the episode highlighted by Kramer’s adoption of a local highway. The ending is humorously horrifying as Newman rides in a mail truck along Kramer’s highway.

The Strike– Kruger attends Frank Constanza’s Festivus celebration after becoming leery of George’s donation to the Human Fund. The whole cast ends up showing up to the holiday party.

Top Moments

The show never lacked memorable sequences. Every viewer has their own favorite, but here are a few special moments:

The Library Cop’s conversation at Jerry’s apartment.

Kramer’s political incorrectness on handicap spots.

Bruce Wayne isn’t the only Batman in Gotham City.

Frank Constanza’s harrowing war flashback.

A phone call between Kramer and David Puddy.

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Kyeland Jackson <![CDATA[Trustees will accept Ramsey’s resignation, students convince board to postpone tuition increase]]> http://www.louisvillecardinal.com/?p=37000 2016-07-22T17:44:13Z 2016-07-21T21:36:32Z By Kyeland Jackson — Board of trustees chair Junior Bridgeman said today trustees will accept President James Ramsey’s resignation at their next meeting. He also delayed approval of a university budget, satisfying students who disrupted the meeting. Ramsey offered his resignation last week during the board’s executive session. Bridgeman drew flak from the session, admitting some discussions during […]

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By Kyeland Jackson —

Board of trustees chair Junior Bridgeman said today trustees will accept President James Ramsey’s resignation at their next meeting. He also delayed approval of a university budget, satisfying students who disrupted the meeting.

Ramsey offered his resignation last week during the board’s executive session. Bridgeman drew flak from the session, admitting some discussions during the meeting may have been illegal. U of L general counsel Leslie Strohm defended the session, saying the board was in compliance with state law.

Questions leveled by U of L students convinced Bridgeman to halt approval of the new budget. The university will operate on the current spending plan, while Bridgeman said a committee will be created in the next couple of days to take a “deeper dive” into the budget. He did not clarify if Ramsey would be part of the group, but said the committee is more for board members than administrators.

The decision came after students Kate Hall and Kaleb Fischbach asked why a five percent tuition hike was still being considered. The new budget also includes a three percent increase to student meal plans and a two percent increase to housing rates.

“Do you care about low income students who have to work full time to work through college?” Hall asked the trustees.

Bridgeman allowed the students to speak during the meeting. In an exchange with Hall, Bridgeman said the board would not approve the budget and a committee would take a closer look at it.

State cuts have bled U of L, taking away $18 million this academic year. The Council on Postsecondary Education this year raised the cap on tuition rates for U of L and University of Kentucky, allowing an increase of five percent.

The hike led to a budget disapproval by trustees before they were dissolved on June 17Ramsey then instituted a spending plan for the university including the five percent tuition increase the former trustees rejected.

SGA President Aaron Vance addressed Hall and Fischbach during the meeting. Vance said SGA has always opposed tuition increases, and that he personally opposes it.

“I do not approve of this budget,” Vance said. Vance said he wants to fight for a lower tuition rate percentage, but did not clarify what percentage he would support.

“I think they made the right decision in not approving the tuition increase today,” Hall said, adding she was pleased the budget wasn’t approved. Hall said the previous board disapproved of the budget increase, and the budget committee asked for a new one before the board was dissolved.

“They said that the university couldn’t continue to fund itself on the backs of students. I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. I think that played a part in Bevin’s decision to dismantle the board illegally,” Hall said.

Hall suggested cuts to deferred compensations, citing Ramsey’s widely publicized $1.1 million bonus from the U of L Foundation. Vance said he welcomes the concerns Hall and Fischbach voiced.

“I think now, more than ever, it’s even more pertinent that we continue to amplify and echo the student voice and student voice of all students,” Vance said. “There’s a lot going on at U of L and there’s lots of different voices and lots of different students and we have to continue to serve every single one.”

U of L faculty and students have questioned Bevin’s decision to hand-pick 10 board members. Attorney General Andy Beshear filed suit against the governor’s acts. A hearing on the U of L-based suit stalled in Franklin Circuit Court today, leaving Bevin’s new trustees in place while the case plays out.

The next board meeting is scheduled for August 16.

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Kyeland Jackson <![CDATA[Brief: Trustees hastily call meeting, will discuss budget]]> http://www.louisvillecardinal.com/?p=36975 2016-07-20T20:49:20Z 2016-07-20T14:40:24Z By Kyeland Jackson — The board of trustees will meet Thursday. One item on the agenda: the university budget. University spokesman John Karman confirmed tomorrow’s 1 p.m. meeting, sending out an agenda at 12:54 p.m. Karman confirmed one item on tomorrow’s agenda would be the university’s official budget. “That is on the agenda right now. I […]

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By Kyeland Jackson —

The board of trustees will meet Thursday. One item on the agenda: the university budget.

University spokesman John Karman confirmed tomorrow’s 1 p.m. meeting, sending out an agenda at 12:54 p.m. Karman confirmed one item on tomorrow’s agenda would be the university’s official budget.

“That is on the agenda right now. I don’t expect it to change,” Karman said.

Trustees were told of the meeting on Monday. The original schedule given to media slated the next board meeting for August 16.

The drafted agenda is subject to change, but Karman said he doesn’t believe faculty pay, or matters surrounding faculty, will be discussed. The official agenda lists approval of the operating budget, including tuition, fees, housing and a meal plan increase.

The new meal plan would increase resident meal plans by three percent and commuter meal plans by $25. This will be the second year U of L has increased meal plan rates.

 

BOT agenda 7-21

Official agenda for the meeting

The university is currently running on a spending plan presented before the board was dissolved June 17. The spending plan calls for a five percent tuition raise. The former board disagreed with an earlier version of that plan, leading to a disapproval of the budget.

“I’m very biased. I’m very much against any tuition increase,” former board chair Larry Benz said.

U of L’s American Association of University Professors President Avery Kolers said the timing is odd, and hopes the meeting agenda will note faculty concerns.

“The timing is odd both because of the extremely short lead time and because it’s scheduled for the same day as the hearing on the Attorney General’s request for an injunction,” Kolers said.

“Regarding the agenda, which I have not seen, I just hope it will include confirmation of promotion and tenure cases and faculty & staff salaries. These were among the urgent matters that supposedly justified the Governor’s excessive haste in issuing his legally dubious executive orders,” Kolers said. “If the trustees do not deal with these issues they will belie that justification.”

After the board was dissolved, President James Ramsey presented a spending plan for the university to operate with until the full board was comprised. The plan offsets the tuition increase with a “Credit for Credits” program, rewarding full time students with a refund for the tuition increase.

The Cardinal asked to speak with Ramsey about the meeting and was directed to ask online or via the university spokesperson.

This story will be updated.

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Kyeland Jackson <![CDATA[Renovation uncovers asbestos, university fined]]> http://www.louisvillecardinal.com/?p=36957 2016-07-20T17:23:05Z 2016-07-19T21:26:37Z By Kyeland Jackson — The university will pay $5,425 after breaking code in renovating the Natural Sciences Building last summer. First reported by WDRB.com, the Metro Air Pollution Control District cited asbestos concerns in the building. The APCD said removing the building’s drop ceilings disturbed asbestos pipe insulation, workers improperly removed these contaminated materials and they were not trained on […]

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By Kyeland Jackson —

The university will pay $5,425 after breaking code in renovating the Natural Sciences Building last summer.

First reported by WDRB.com, the Metro Air Pollution Control District cited asbestos concerns in the building. The APCD said removing the building’s drop ceilings disturbed asbestos pipe insulation, workers improperly removed these contaminated materials and they were not trained on handling asbestos.

U of L spokesperson John Karman said the infraction was from a paperwork error.

“There was no release of any asbestos-containing material to the environment,” Karman said. “It was a simple paperwork error. An inspection was conducted by the Air Pollution Control District, and work was allowed to proceed.

Karman said the university performed an asbestos survey to remove parts of the building, finding no asbestos in the walls. After an asbestos abatement permit application was sent to the district, an abatement contractor noted glue dots on the ceilings and stopped operations. The glue dots were not noted in the permit application, incurring the fine.

APCD spokesperson Thomas Nord said it was a minor infraction. He said U of L did not follow proper procedures and was therefore fined.

“They had said to us they had done their due diligence. But as it turns out – and we’re not alleging any wrongdoing, it could’ve just been an oversight – but essentially that they took out ceiling and they realized there was asbestos behind the ceiling,” Nord said. The fine says the permit was issued July 30, 2015 and work was halted by APCD Aug. 26.

Nord said asbestos is not dangerous until it corrodes or is released into the environment. While asbestos is a danger for workers, part of APCD’s survey found 30 feet of insulation containing asbestos with uncovered pipes extending into classrooms.

A follow-up survey found U of L in compliance and cleared construction to continue days later.

This story will be updated.  Read the full infraction agreement here.

Photo by Mallory Siegenthaler / The Louisville Cardinal

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Sarah Rohleder <![CDATA[Q & A: Crystian Wiltshire, Louisville’s own Romeo]]> http://www.louisvillecardinal.com/?p=36950 2016-07-20T17:16:01Z 2016-07-19T19:28:46Z By Sarah Rohleder — Crystian Wiltshire took the Central Park stage as one of the most recognizable characters in English literary history, Romeo Montague. Wiltshire plays the role for the Kentucky Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Shakespeare in the Park series. While holding three different roles in an almost-nightly play series, Wiltshire finished his University of Louisville career with […]

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By Sarah Rohleder —

Crystian Wiltshire took the Central Park stage as one of the most recognizable characters in English literary history, Romeo Montague. Wiltshire plays the role for the Kentucky Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Shakespeare in the Park series. While holding three different roles in an almost-nightly play series, Wiltshire finished his University of Louisville career with a degree in English and a minor in (unsurprisingly) theatre.

Wiltshire stopped by to share how he balanced three plays, graduating college and binge-watching “Game of Thrones” with TLC.


Q: How did you get into theatre?

A: In Germany in seventh grade, because my mother’s in the military. My guidance counselor asked me if I wanted to take cooking class or theatre, and cooking class didn’t sound like the way I wanted to go. My theatre career has been steady since the seventh grade—Virginia Beach, New York, where else? All over. As a military brat, you move around a lot, and wherever there is theatre, I hop in. Wherever I go, I try to seek out the arts community.

Q: How did you break into the Louisville arts community?

 A: I came here four years ago. Before, in North Carolina, I did no theatre whatsoever. I worked at a call center and got pretty frustrated that I hadn’t gotten into the arts community, so when I got here, I made sure to get back into theatre. When I came here, I was a transfer student from Norfolk State University. I walked into the theater just to check it out and saw an audition notice. I showed up, I got a small role and knew I didn’t just want to act, I wanted to be a part of the theatre department—which means not just acting, but working offstage too.

Q: Who are some influential people who facilitated your growth in theatre at U of L?

A: It’s hard to single anyone out. Charles Nasby, Baron Kelly, Daniel Hill, Nefertiti Burton – that’s just some – the graduate students, and all the hard-working undergraduates who work in the scene shop. All those people accepted me into the theatre department and molded me into the professional that I’d like to think I am now.

Q: What are your next steps?

A: I’m not going to grad school right now. This is my last week in Louisville. July 24 is my last show, then I have to report to the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company for 10 months.

Q: How did you get involved with Kentucky Shakespeare?

A: Last summer, because of Charles Nasby. He has a relationship with Kentucky Shakespeare where he brings students to learn how to do work backstage as part of a professional theatre company. Last summer, I auditioned and didn’t get anything, but he gave them my name and I became a stage management and sound intern. It made me really appreciate being onstage and showed me the daily grind you have to put in to get there.

Q: How was going from where you were last year with the company to getting a lead role?

A: Quite the jump from a year ago. Starting in February, we took a seven-person tour version of “Romeo and Juliet” around Kentucky parks and schools and I was Romeo in that, so I’ve kind of had this role with me for a while. When you have a group this talented around you, it’s not as difficult as you’d think. Between me being up there with this cast and the scenes where I’m doing these monologues to the audience where I’m using the audience as a scene partner too, I’m very rarely alone onstage.

Q: How do you balance finishing your last class, three shows and taking care of yourself?

A: Any pressure that comes with that, you combat it with preparation and work ethic. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. I’m always surprised at how much time there actually is in the day. Between trying to finish school and do the shows and prep for my next show in Cincinnati, I’ve still found time to binge watch “Game of Thrones.”

Q: In the future, what do you think you’ll look back on from your time here?

A: The networking I’ve been able to build at this school is something I wouldn’t have been able to build on my own. I’m getting ready to venture out of this city as an actor. I’m going after this based on the network, the experience, that started at this school—in this city. I love Louisville. The educational director at Kentucky Shakespeare told me there have been plenty of actors that venture out, but they always end up back here, and I can see why. There’s so much to this arts community—so many ways to make a living as an artist in this city.

Q: What do you love about your role as Romeo?

A: The amount of hard work that goes into rehearsals and the crew working every day in the heat on these sets to make sure the audience gets a good show. We’ve performed to 15,000 people this summer. With the popularity of “Romeo and Juliet,” audience members have said “I want to see ‘Winter’s Tale,’ I want to see ‘The Gentlemen of Verona.'” With what we’re doing, with the Montagues being African-American and the Capulets being white—an older company member told me he can’t remember seeing more than three black actors on the Central Park stage, so it was special to be part of that. Thinking about the racial tension happening in our country right now, we didn’t plan on all these unfortunate events happening in Dallas or Baton Rouge, and what has happened and what will continue to happen. Being able to address that onstage today with a play that is over 400 years is powerful.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share about U of L, Kentucky Shakespeare or yourself?

A: Playing Romeo has allowed me to be put into this position to talk about my time at U of L and with Kentucky Shakespeare. I’d like to let it be known that there are so many people at the theatre company from U of L. That product you see on the stage has been put together by so many people … I’m just trying to say that this is so not just about me. There are so many cast and crew members who have been at this university that the relationship is vital to Kentucky Shakespeare’s success and I hope that continues, because without it, I wouldn’t be here.

 

Crystian Wiltshire

Photo by Sarah Rohleder / The Louisville Cardinal

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Sarah Rohleder <![CDATA[U of L’s Romeo takes Central Park stage for Kentucky Shakespeare]]> http://www.louisvillecardinal.com/?p=36927 2016-07-20T17:01:55Z 2016-07-17T23:40:48Z By Sarah Rohleder — The downpour Friday evening broke just in time for roughly 700 viewers to fill the benches at Kentucky Shakespeare’s free production of “Romeo and Juliet” in Central Park. The play took stage at 8 p.m. after an hour of pre-show talent by Boogie Down—Down Syndrome Louisville’s amateur dance troupe—and food truck […]

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By Sarah Rohleder —

The downpour Friday evening broke just in time for roughly 700 viewers to fill the benches at Kentucky Shakespeare’s free production of “Romeo and Juliet” in Central Park. The play took stage at 8 p.m. after an hour of pre-show talent by Boogie Down—Down Syndrome Louisville’s amateur dance troupe—and food truck vendors peddling gourmet dinner and dessert items.

U of L student Crystian Wiltshire played namesake character Romeo Montague. Though operative primarily through sponsorships and donations, the Kentucky Shakespeare theatre company employs professional actors, many of whom took on minor characters in comparison to Wiltshire’s title role. His casting alone speaks to the level of talent he brought to the production. He portrayed a clearly lovesick young man, true to Romeo’s rash, angst-filled character. Wiltshire’s performance highlighted the otherwise decent show.

Considering the ticket price and limited staging options, the production exceeded the standard I expected, specifically with the skillfully crafted lighting and the comical supporting characters, aside from Wiltshire’s thoughtful performance.

Since the play began at sunset, the lighting tech executed a flawless lighting scheme that complemented the limited – and eventually nonexistent—natural light. The clever use of lighting also allowed the rigid stage structure to function as several different sceneries, including an abbey, a home, a courtyard and a crypt.

“Romeo and Juliet” is probably Shakespeare’s best-known tragedy, but that is not to say it has no comedic elements. Mercutio, played by U of L theatre graduate Byron Coolie, lightened the heavy plot, articulating funny points in the script with over-the-top gestures, specifically about Romeo’s boyish attention to women. The Nurse, played by Marci Duncan, displayed similar funny body language, egging on Juliet’s teenage antics.

The creative choice that brought the show down was the confusing costume shift. The entire first act took place in period-appropriate costuming, but the second act transitioned into present-day clothing for no apparent reason. At first, when Romeo appeared back onstage in black tennis shoes with bright red shoestrings while still wearing the Renaissance-era tights, I legitimately thought Wiltshire had somehow forgotten to change out of his street shoes after the intermission. Then, other characters began appearing in modern clothes, and I realized it was just an odd, otherwise unexplained costume choice. The only other aspect of the play that matched the new clothing choice was the presence of a cop car toward the end, but everything else seemed to remain Renaissance. A second look at the program sort of hinted at the attempted connection to a relationship between the Montague-Capulet feud and today’s street feuds, but the idea just didn’t come across clearly.

The play brought a good dose of culture to people who may not otherwise be able to afford theatre tickets (such as broke college kids like myself) and to families who want to expose their children to theatre in a low-pressure set up, where there is no dress code and there is plenty of space for wiggling around and getting cozy.

Kentucky Shakespeare will continue performing “Romeo and Juliet,” as well as “The Winter’s Tale” and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” which Wiltshire and Coolie also appear in, for free in Central Park almost every night through July 24. See the schedule here.

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