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Boston and Beyond

April 21, 2014

Shakespeare on the Ipswich

Festival will see scenes from the bard performed all over town


“If the actor knows what he’s saying, then the audience will understand,” Turner says. “The words are important, but it’s as much about feeling and emotion.” For that matter, he says, passers-by have been known to stop their cars, get out and join the procession for a while, listening to the greatest speeches in the English language.

Cynthia August, a commercial photographer, will play a role opposite Amy Sheridan as Hermia and Helena. Their argument is edited to get the insults in as quickly as possible. Hermia suspects Helena is making sly and disparaging references to a difference in height between them. “They’re regular girls having a regular argument,” August says.

“O, when she’s angry, she is keen and shrewd!” a wary Helena declares. “She was a vixen when she went to school; And though she be but little, she is fierce.”

“‘Little’ again!” Hermia complains, “nothing but ‘low’ and ‘little!’ ... How low am I, thou painted maypole? speak; How low am I? I am not yet so low But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.”

“The scene is so much fun,” says August. “Amy and I have a wisecracking relationship to begin with. It comes pretty easy to us.”

From the start, Turner has worked to involve downtown businesses in the fun. At Christopher’s Table, for example, he’s arranged for the presentation of various Shakespearean comments involving food. That’s fine with owner Christopher DeStefano.

“This has been great,” he says. “We try to support J.T. and the arts as much as we can.”

Not surprisingly, DeStefano’s previous employment included a stint as director of performing arts at Suffolk University. He sees the poetry in acting as well as food. “Now I make cupcakes,” he laughs.

For his part, Turner has acted at places like North Shore Music Theatre, taken parts in movies like “American Hustle” and TV shows like “The Brotherhood.” He’s taught and worked on staging fight scenes for live theater.

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