A lot has happened since Geoffrey Sheehan ’84 (SFA) and Laura Sheehan ’85 (SFA) put on “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” with a $300 budget in Hartford’s Bushnell Park. They have raised three sons and a daughter, staged 26 Shakespeare festivals, and moved their Capital Classics Theatre Company to a permanent home at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford. Along the way the Sheehans, who met as undergrads in a UConn drama class, have entertained scores of audiences and cultivated and befriended many professional actors in the area. They have even officiated at their weddings and served as godparents to some of their children.
As the theater celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, the Sheehans continue to refine their performances by using music, colorful costumes, and skillful acting to make sure the Bard is accessible to modern audiences. “For me, the hardest part about performing Shakespeare is making sure you understand and speak the language as a deeply authentic human expression so you can perform as the people in the stories rather than as Shakespeare characters,” Geoff says. Over the years they also have expanded their repertoire to now include a Shakespeare book club, a Halloween radio play at The Mark Twain House & Museum, and a series of short contemporary performances followed by audience discussion.
By grace merritt
Photos by Nicole Battistone