Bard News Round-Up
We will very soon be deep into our production of The Comedy of Errors, with all of the news that related directly to i, so it seems like now is the best time to share some other bits and bobs of Shakespeare news with you:
We'll be back soon with lots and lots of Comedy of Errors goodness!
Have a Listen to the Past
Shakespeare's use of language is a rich, fascinating source of clues for how English was spoken in the 16th century. Reconstrucing older forms of English can yield equally interesting results.
To say we're directing you to the latest scholarship on the sound of English from the time of Shakespeare, Chacuer and King Arthur (not really "English" for the last one, but, you get the picture) sounds rather dry. It's not.
Click through and have a listen to the how Shakespeare's words may have sounded when they were brand new!
From Our Friends at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)
As Shakespeare fans, you will all want to know that Milwaukee Chamber Theatre is presenting The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged( [REVISED] by Adam Long, Daniel Singer & Jess Winfield, running from Nov. 19 – Dec. 14, 2014.
Celebrate the holidays with a rowdy band of overachievers who attempt to perform all of Shakespeare's plays in 99 minutes! The [REVISED] script features new jokes along this madcap journey through Shakespeare's comedies, histories and tragedies. With the added bonus of live music in this production, theatergoers will be rockin' and rollin' with the Bard!
Directed by Ray Jivoff; Featuring Chris Klopatek, Rick Pendzich, Chase Stoeger & Marcus Truschinski and performed at Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee. Buy tickets (414) 291-7800 or the MCT website.
In all of the excitement of this summer's The Winter's Tale, we neglected to share with you a guest blog that our own Ron Scot Fry wrote for the Wisconsin Humanities Council.
In fact, he wrote this piece during a rehearsal for the show. But, what better time or place to address his topic, "why Shakespeare matters -- especially for kids?"
So, without further ado, give it a read!
Not Your Mother's Shakespeare!
The title, Bloody, Filthy Shakespeare! (BFS) suggests lots of lust, gore and more -- and the performance delivers: Blood. Sex. Murder. Lust. Revenge. But for Susan and Ron Scot Fry, producing an original "Shakespeare" show in Florence, Italy was more along the lines of joyful, fascinating and delightful.
After seeing Ron's outreach work last summer in Tuscany, FESTA (Florence English Speaking Theatre Artists) commissioned Optimist Theatre to coproduce an original play. The production focused on the universal concepts of murder and death...Shakespeare's plays having no shortage of wrack and ruin!
Ron shared the stage with the talented Elia Nichols. Originally from Louisiana, Elia is an ex-pat living in Florence and one of FESTA's cofounders. Elia played The Boy, who enthusiastically aided in Shakespeare's exploration of art vs. popular entertainment. Although the violent bits were broadly drawn, the dialogue was in earnest. The Boy was also obviously a woman -- obvious, that is, to everyone but Will, until the end of the play. Let your imagination run wild on those breadcrumbs.
BFS was performed on March 28 & 29, 2014 at Teatro Goldoni in Florence. According to Ron, here's the recipe: a grand total of 48 hours face-to-face rehearsal time--GO! Start with 1 show featuring 2 actors playing 36 characters in 18 scenes from 20 plays with 3 fights involving 10 weapons and 9 blood packs. Sneak in 1 puppet with removable bloody tongue and hands and 1 severed hand. Interweave 34 costume pieces, 10 props and 3 poems. Corral 6 audience members on-stage, perform 2 magic tricks. Set up all of the above in a picturesque Florentine venue and the result: 3 encores from a lovely and generous audience and a happy, exhausted Susan and Ron.
The Frys are the first to admit how bloody filthy lucky they are -- to have the opportunity to do what they love together, in Florence, the hotbed of Renaissance creativity. It was magnifico!
There are plans afoot for BFS to return to Italy in August. Will we see BFS in MKE? "Stay tuned," Susan teased. And so we will....
We don't really know the answer to that, either. But, "as good luck would have it," there's still a few days to figure it out. And, you'll want to.
Because April 23rd is going to be an observ-ance to "beggar all description!" (See what we did, there?).
April 23, 2014 marks the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth and Stratford-upon-Avon will lead the world in the revelry with fireworks, workshops and theater tours. The celebration will culminate in productions of Henry IV parts 1 and 2 performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).
The RSC is also spearheading a three-year jubilee to mark the occasions of Shakespeare's life and death. Between 2014 and 2016, theatre performances and live streaming cinema will take place around the world.
Check out this website for information on more birthday celebrations, museum exhibits, library projects and the story behind Shakespeare's meet-up with a 20-foot mechanical Lady Godiva!
Closer to home, Optimist Theatre's Ron Scot Fry will be on hand as the Bard of the Hour for a reception for the Racine Literacy Council on April 23rd. Then he's off to Eau Claire where the collected middle schools hold their annual Shakespeare Festival.
How can we help you to celebrate? Inspired by a project we stumbled across on the Internet (thanks, Canada Writes!) we would love to receive your Shakespeare Selfies at our Facebook page! By that we mean -- whatever you want it to mean. Photos of you celebrating Wm Shackspeare. Your written homage to Will Shaxspere. The video of your finger-puppet production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. Ideally, your submission should include you and Shakespeare.
Dirty Bloody Shakespeare
'Blood. Sex. Murder. Lust. Revenge. And Sex. Lots and lots of Sex.'
In this production by Ron Scot Fry, "Dirty Bloody Shakespeare", William Shakespeare and his ‘Boy’ do battle with some of the naughtiest, raunchiest and bloodiest scenes ever penned by the Bard of Avon.
March 28 & 29 in Florence, Italy.
OT fans will get the details of this performance in a couple of weeks. For now, you can soak this in.