A popular comic book series culminating in an epic battle between a famous playwright’s good and evil characters will play out on stage when SUNY Oswego hosts “Kill Shakespeare: The Live Graphic Novel,” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20, in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

“We’re really trying to make the comic book come alive,” said theatre faculty member Toby Malone, who coordinates what will be a staged reading with animated panels projected over the stage. 

The event is free but tickets are required, available via any campus box office, online at tickets.oswego.edu or by calling 315-312-3073.

The fantasy adventure pits the likes of Hamlet, Juliet, Othello and other heroes attempting to save The Bard from dastardly forces including Richard III, Lady Macbeth, Iago and other villainous characters.

“It’s a quest kind of story,” Malone explained. “They’re trying to solve a mystery and it ends with a battle. It’s like Fables combined with Game of Thrones.”

Co-creator coming

Conor McCreery, who co-created the series with Anthony Del Col, will be on campus to take in the performance and guest lecture in some classes. “Kill Shakespeare” has amassed a legion of fans as well as critical respect, including one New York Times review calling it “gripping, violent and dark fun, even if you’re not fully versed in Shakespearean lore."

Malone’s connection to the production goes back to the first stage adaptation of the series in 2011, when he served as dramaturg for the inaugural production at Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company. To direct the production with members of the Oswego campus participating, and hosting McCreery, is an accomplishment in itself, he noted.

“It’s a really rare opportunity,” Malone noted. “We’re very glad to have it.”

The cast of performers playing multiple roles includes eight students -- Mark Arricale, Michaela Buckley, Bayana Burnell, Tyler Guy, Amanda Gydesen, Jared Mills, Sean Ryan and Garrett Sinemus -- and two faculty members, Amy Lynn Budd and Brad Korbesmeyer.  

To go beyond projecting static slides over the stage during the reading, Patrick Mathis of the theatre faculty is working on some animations to create a more engaging presentation.

The event also will feature live foley, or creation of sound effects, depicting everything from horses to swordfighting.

“It’s accessible to people who are very into Shakespeare -- there are all kinds of inside references they are going to appreciate,” Malone said. “But it’s also very accessible to people who don’t know much about Shakespeare.”

For more information or for those who need accommodation to attend, contact the theatre department at 315-312-2130.