A new Spring Season, and soooo many plays..

Hello – A new Spring Season, and soooo many plays…
I am still going to the plays, but have not had time to update this website (Mid-Summer in Olney ROCKED!). This is not a good thing. The one nice thing about maintaining this web site was I never missed a free play, and other events. It was an excuse to maintain and share my Shakespeare Calendar, along with meeting people of like interest along the way.

So I would like to throw out there a thought. Who would like to help with this website and calendar??

I get emails from companies asking for promotion, and users commenting on existing material, but I just don’t have the time anymore.
If you google maryland shakespeare OR  Washington dc shakespeare, you will find this website on the first page of the search, so this website is worth the effort.

So if you are local, and have an interest. Or if you are part of a Shakespeare Company Maryland, DC, Virginia, or Pennsylvania and want to be able to add your promotions here, send me an email from your companies address..

Thanks
Jamie@marylandshakespeare.com

This Weekend! 2 Hamlets, 2 Midsummers, an “Alls Well” and an R&J!!!!

Sorry for not posting much this week but, wow! This week has been WAY to busy. I had planned to see Hamlet at the Folgers this week, and missed that one, and almost was in a position to miss the Maryland Shakespeare Festivals Midsummer night’s Dream. But the theater God’s have prevailed, the stars have aligned, and MSF’s Midsummer is on my agenda for tonight (Saturday 8pm).

But this weekend is rocking for our area with 2 Hamlets, 2 Midsummer’s, an “Alls Well” and an R&J!!!! That’s a choice of 6 different plays. The Maryland Shakespeare  Festival is my pick for he weekend, but you can’t go wrong with any of them.

This next week will be nuts with long nights and long hours at work (till Thursday)  but I’ll try and keep to my regular posting schedule.

But in the mean time, I’m going to be in Frederick for Midsummer Night’s Dream (Favorite play performed by my favorite company). So If ya see me come and say HI.

Here’s the link for: The Maryland Shakespeare Festivals “Midsummer Night’s Dream

Check out the calendar for event details.

Mondo (Titus) Andronicus: The Legend Lives On

Mondo (Titus) Andronicus as performed by Molotov Theatre Group has come and gone, but the legend of this brutal and beastly adaptation lives on. The play has been finished for a couple of weeks now and the Washington Post is still finding reasons to point it out:

“Molotov’s most recent production, “Mondo Andronicus,” was a quick and dirty adaptation of Shakespeare’s goriest play that included self-mutilation, stabbings and the startlingly realistic removal of a tongue.”

And this is actually part of a positive review for a very unique theater company. This type of theater is not for everyone, but thrill seekers will love it, and anyone that saw Mondo Andronicus will most likely never forget it.

Link: Molotov Theatre Group. of Washington DC

Link: Washington Post article: “small theater: Molotov Theatre Group”

Link: Maryland Shakespeare review: Mondo Andronicus and the Grand Guignol: A Blood Splattering Opening Night.

Shakespeare and the Mystery of Three: Loves Labour’s Lost

There’s a mystery afoot, and very much an enigma it is. I’ve searched the internet, and cannot find the answer, or even a mention of what I have questioned. I have searched Google books, with it’s millions of volumes and none allude it. Could it be that no one has ever noticed it before? Or as Sherlock Holmes said in A Scandal in Bohemia “You see, but you do not observe“? I’m sure others have thought about it in passing, but has no one ever stopped to examine my little conundrum?

Here is my question, why is Shakespeare’s “Loves Labour’s Lost” so fixcated on the number “Three”? Three for example is mentioned only 8 times in both Romeo and Juliet, and Julius Caeser. Three is mentioned merely 9 time’s in Shakespeare’s longest play Hamlet. Macbeth has an unlucky 13 mentions. And Yet in Loves Labour’s Lost three is mentioned 47 times! Why?

I saw the play performed by the Maryland Shakespeare Festival in Frederick, and mentioned in the talk back afterward that I had noticed three was mentioned quite often. A couple people acknowledge that it does seem to pop up a lot, but they never really thought about it, and couldn’t see any significances. But 47 times? Even if three was considered a magical number back in the days of yore, 47 times is a lot of Mojo.

Here’s a short comparison:
Three is Mentioned 47
God is mentioned only 32 time
Two 13
Four 12
Five 9
Six is not mentioned once, so we will count the single Sixth found as 1
Seven? No seven, but 1 seventh
Eight 0
Nine 5

I’ve searched though the plays text, and can’t find any particular reason for the number three, other then maybe Shakespeare was having a “I think I’ll use the number three a whole lot” kind of day.
Examples:
The King has 3 companions, who are there to study for 3 years
“You three, Berowne, Dumain, and Longaville,
Have sworn for three years’ term to live with me”

Note: He also has ADRIANO DE ARMADO whom is there to study as a 4th but is never considered one of the “Three” companions

* Princess has 3 Ladies in waiting
* The Nine Worthies were:
3 Pagan: Hector,  Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar
3 Jewish: Joshua, David, Judas Maccabeus
3 Christian: King Arthur, Charlemagne, Godfrey of Bouillon
* “And then, to sleep but three hours in the night”
* “You three, Berowne, Dumain, and Longaville, Have sworn for three years’ term to live with me”
* The world was very guilty of such a ballad some three ages since
* “nor no penance; but a’ must fast three days a week”
* “The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee, Were still at odds, being but three. There’s the moral”.
(Do you really want to keep reading these examples?)
* “three farthings: three farthings remuneration”, “And, among three, to love the worst of all!”
* “he came, one; saw two; overcame, three. Who came? the king”
* “Honey, and milk, and sugar; there is three”
* “By Jove, I always took three threes for nine”
* “Great Hercules is presented by this imp, Whose club kill’d Cerberus, that three-headed canis”
* “With three-fold love I wish you all these three”
* I have vowed to Jaquenetta to hold the plough for her sweet love three years.”
* ADRIANO DE ARMADO: I am all these three.
MOTH: And three times as much more, and yet nothing at
all.

And there is of course many more references, but nary a significances.

“The Shakespeare Cryptograph™”
Forget the Da Vinci Code, there is a real live mystery to be solved and one that I have yet to find an answer to. A conundrum that I have spent way to much time on (A couple hours at least). Yes, we have our own “Shakespeare Cryptograph™”. Why “Cryptograph? Because all the cool names like Shakespeare Code, Shakespeare Enigma, Shakespeare mystery etc. are all taken, and If I’ve stumbled onto a mystery that could bring down nations, and discredit religions, I want to make sure I can copy-write the name for the eventual movie.

So if you have any idea what all this means, or why I am even spending my time on it, please feel free to let me know.

Loves Labour’s Lost: Complete text

Word count tool that I used to find the number of times a word is used:
http://rainbow.arch.scriptmania.com/tools/word_counter.html

FREE: Shakespeare’s Birthday Lecture 2010: Jonathan Bate at the Folgers April 26th – “The Good Life in Shakespeare”

Jonathan Bate

Shakespeare’s Birthday Lecture in Washington DC
Jonathan Bate on “The Good Life in Shakespeare”.
Professor Bate will discuss the Epicurean tradition through As You Like It, The Winter’s Tale, and Measure for Measure.

Everyone knows I love the word FREE! Well here is a free lecture by the author of several books on Shakespeare who also does features for BBC’s Radio 4. I really wish I could make this, but I have to travel on business that week and will be out of town. But will definitely make it if plans change.

From the Folgers web site: “Jonathan Bate, professor of English at Warwick, will speak on “The Good Life in Shakespeare” and about the Epicurean tradition, with an emphasis on the plays As You Like It, The WInter’s Tale, and Measure for Measure. He is the author of The Genius of Shakespeare and a Governor and Board member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.”

http://www.folger.edu/template.cfm?cid=2329

Monday, Apr 26 at 8pm

Tickets: Free

April 24th and 25th: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – A Maryland Shakespeare Festival “Bare Bard”!

The Maryland Shakespeare Festival is celebrating their last “Bare Bard” of the season with Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’m overjoyed they’ve chosen to do Midsummer, but saddened by the fact that the another season has come to an end. I’ve been following the MSF’s for two years now and have seen them do ten plays, eight of them as Bare Bard’s. I really should thank them for fostering much of my love of Shakespeare. For Showing me that Shakespeare is not just some stiff old white guy bleating some uncomprehendable, un-understandable, and totally nonsensical dialogue.  Instead they helped to show me that in reality Shakespeare can be fast, loose and funny at times. And weighty, dark, and deep at other times.

Yes I have seen Shakespeare performed by various other companies, and enjoy seeing the different takes, views, and ideas that they all bring to the same material. But the Maryland Shakespeare Festival has always seemed more like a down to earth, community based Shakespeare Company. Not to mention, the actors in the Bare Bards come from around the country to perform with the MSF on a voluntary, and unpaid basis. Simply for the learning experience, training, and the chance to do something they obviously love. They are always friendly and chose to hang around after Sundays show for an open discussion, and to answer any audience questions.

I really didn’t intend to write all this, but when I saw this was going to be the last Bare Bard of the season, it kinda took me back those last two years and all great plays I’ve seen. And in reality if I didn’t write about it here, then who would I tell? Considering all my friend’s are watching American Idol, and Dancing with the Stars (Yech), while I’m re-reading A Midsummer Night’s dream in anticipation of the next Bare Bard.

Link: Maryland Shakespeare Festivals – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

April 24th at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 25th at 2 p.m. Sunday’s performance will be followed by a celebratory cake-cutting ceremony with Shelly Aloi, representing the mayor of Frederick, and a post-show discussion.

Shows Ending in DC: STC’s Acclaimed Henry V and Richard II

Michael Hayden as Henry V

This is the Final weekend to catch what has become a highly acclaimed set of Shakespearean plays this season,  Henry V and Richard II. There has been an almost uncountable number of write ups about these productions, most of the attention being placed on Michael Hayden, who plays the lead rolls in both these plays. I’ve seen Henry V a few time now and this was definitely one of the best.

Link: Shakespeare Theatre Company of Washington DC

Here’s a link to a recent Washington Post article about the plays and Michael Hayed

Link to my first visit to the Sydney Harman Hall to see Henry V

FREE April 20: 10 years and going strong – Shakespeare’s Birthday at the Library of Congress

Hey – Shakespeare’s birthday is this month, and if this year is like last year, there will be lots of interesting things going on… And I’ll hear about them the day after they happen. Or maybe not. Just got an email for the Library of Congress event to add to the calendar.

On Tuesday, April 20, the popular celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday will take place at noon in the Whittall Pavilion in the Jefferson Building. Professional actors from the Academy of Classical Acting associated with the Shakespeare Theatre Company will recite monologues, act out scenes and engage in stage fighting. This is the 10th year “Shakespeare’s Birthday Reading” will be held.

Link: http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2010/10-011.html

LAST CHANCE!: Mondo Andronicus and Henry VI are closing this weekend!

The Blackfriars Theater in Staunton VA- Henry VI part 2

This is the last weekend for two Shakespearean plays that are on two completely different spectrum’s from each other:

Mondo Andronicus performed by The Molotov Theatre Group, See my review here

Henry VI part 2 performed by the American Shakespeare Center at the BlackFriars

I had already reviewed Mondo (Titus) Andronicus. In short realistic blood,  gore, and violence,  if you like horror movies, you’ll love this. So I’ll just say a quick word about Henry VI at the Blackfriars.

I just finally got around to seeing it last weekend,  I haven’t had time to write it up, and now it’s closing this weekend. Truthfully I’ve been enjoying  Shakespeare’s History plays more then you can imagine, and this one’s no exception. I really don’t think the Histories get their due. Henry VI part 2 has enough court intrigue, subplots and action to keep you riveted to your seat. Not to mention the famous quote, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” And even though it’s “Part two”, it is a complete stand alone story. Henry VI is the ongoing tale about the son of Henry V (Now at Sidney Harman Hall), the passions of men and their desire for power. It also includes one of the nastiest noble woman this side of Macbeth.

Both the plays listed above are entertaining, Mondo is definitely  for adults only, but since I like the old 70 style grindhouse movies, that is not a bad thing. As a matter of fact I may take up an offer to go see it a second time this Friday. And Henry VI is the ASC doing what the ACS does best, great Shakespeare! So depending on your mood, both are fun choices… But don’t wait to long, this weekend is it.

The Playbill in Washington DC - Mondo Andronicus

REVIEW: Maryland Shakespeare Festivals Love’s Labour’s Lost

This weekend the Maryland Shakespeare Festival put on another one of their experimental and absolutely unique Bare Bards. The actors performing in the play are providing their services for free. And show up from around the country simply for the training and a chance to help the producer in her research in Shakespeare studies.

A Bare Bard is: “Part of MSF’s performance research, Bare Bard is great theater with out the frills! Actors from across the country come to Frederick to tell timeless stories in our Elizabethan Play house.. costumes, fights, music… It’s all there BUT… like in Shakespeare’s day, there is NO director, No lights and very little rehearsal! It’s all in the language, and with just 1 day… This is where ‘whose line is it’ meets ‘To be or Not to Be’ “ – Becky Kemper

Pretty much, the actors show up on Friday knowing their lines, do a performance Saturday and Sunday, and that’s it, no more shows.

I’ve been to countless Bare Bard’s and have yet to be disappointed, and Sunday’s Love’s Labor’s Lost was no exception. The Play was held at the All Saints Episcopal Church in Frederick MD, where the hall was transformed into an Elizabethan theater for the day, with the stage area projected into the hall and people sitting on all 3 sides.  Actually “Stage Area” might be to limiting a term considering the entire hall is used by the actors, and the audience becomes part of the play. With the performers at times talking directly to the audience, sitting in the audience, or at one point a lovelorn actor groveling at the foot of an understanding audience member.

From the moment the play started, so did the laughter, and I knew this was going to be a good one. All the actors seem to glow with energy and enthusiasm, making it hard to believe they had only been together for 2 days by this point. In particular I’d like to point out a new comer to the “Bare Bards” Quinn Franzen in the role of Berowne, who stood out right from the beginning. He displayed a jovial sense of confidence and believability that connected with the audience immediately.We can only hope this will be only the first of many appearances with the MSF.

Another person that stood out was Yvonne Cone who played the comic roll of Moth, as she bounced and beamed her enthusiasm to all who caught her eye. I don’t know if  I’d seen her before, but she made a lasting impression and  seemed like she was having way to much fun out there.

Of course there’s all the rest of the cast that deserves great praise for the work they put in; if it seems like I’m gushing, it’s simply because I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. There were regular’s like John Bellamo as Don Armado who somehow was able to get one of the biggest laughs of the night simply by holding up a key (to a Honda mind you – Trust me you had to be there). or David Dowell as a very flamboyant, and very funny Boyet.

I do want to point out one more actress from Sundays performance, and that would be Shannon Parks who played Jaquenetta in this production. Whether playing Lady Macbeth, or a lowly Milk Maid she always displays an honesty in her roles that connects easily with the audiences. She can put a  twinkle in her eye and a warmth in her smile that will draw you in completely. Or in case of Lady Macbeth she’s able to take that twinkle and warmth, and turn it into frozen ice within the chilling turn of a page.

I had sat next to a very pleasant woman, who’s name I really wish I could remember, who had never seen Shakespeare outside of the larger venue hall’s. So it was a treat for me to experience the play through her eyes, and her laughter. She afterward told me she never knew Shakespeare could be this fun. All I can say is that Shakespeare did not write his plays to be viewed in a stoic museum setting, they were written for the the masses, standing in a mud pit, who paid a penny to see a play, and darn well expected to get their monies worth!

03/31/10: Addendum: I got an email from a very wonderful person I met at the play who reminded me:

you didn’t mention the actors threatening each other with silk shrubs, which had me in stitches.  ;-)

Yes’ A Honda key and 2 silk shrubs… You really really had to to be there to understand.

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