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Davis Shakespeare Ensemble picks up ‘Best of Fringe’ honor for ‘Nightingale’

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From page A15 | October 08, 2013 |

April Fritz, front, perform with Gabby Battista, left, and Tracy Hazas, in the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble's production of "Nightingale" at the Fringe Festival in San Francisco. Serena Morelli/Courtesy photo

April Fritz, front, perform with Gabby Battista, left, and Tracy Hazas, in the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble's production of "Nightingale" at the Fringe Festival in San Francisco. Serena Morelli/Courtesy photo

The Davis Shakespeare Ensemble’s show “Nightingale” was honored with “Best of Fringe 2013″ recognition by the San Francisco Fringe Festival, where “Nightingale” was performed four times during the festival’s September run.

“Nightingale” — a piece involving movement, text, music and projections — was developed by the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble’s co-artistic director Gia Battista, who was the show’s writer and director, in addition to appearing as a performer. The show had a workshop production at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in March, followed by an April production in Davis (at the Pamela Trokanski Dance Workshop), and then the September performances at the San Francisco Fringe Festival.

Battista made a number of changes along the way — she said “the version in San Francisco was much different than the one in Davis — with more of a ‘through narrative.’ It was a treat for me as a writer to have it produced three times, so I could learn from seeing it performed, then go back and revise. It’s an experience you probably couldn’t get in grad school.”

The show drew favorable reactions from the San Francisco Fringe Festival’s audience; Battista was very pleased to learn that some audience members had given “Nightingale” the nickname “The Beautiful Play.”

“That was pretty awesome, especially considering that there were 36 shows happening (at the festival),” Battista said. “Now that we’ve produced it three times, and proven how mobile it is, it is in the back of our heads that it is something we could remount and take it somewhere again someday.”

But for the time being, the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble is laying plans for “a really big summer” in 2014. The group is hoping to mount a local Shakespeare festival in the UC Davis Arboretum, featuring a production of “The Tempest,” as well as another production to be announced.

“We are really hoping to get a big crowd; stay tuned,” Battista said.

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