MEETUP.COM: Read Shakespeare aloud! This Weekend at the National Mall in Washington DC

This is another DC-area Shakespeare explorer Meetup.com event for local Shakespeare enthusiasts. Come on, you know you want to practice your chops by reading some Shakespeare out loud. And if you don’t feel like reading, come out for the discussion, or simply for the pleasure of being in the company of others who feel the same way about the Bard as you do.

The focus this Sunday will be on plays that will be performed in the area this year:

  • As You Like it (Act 2, Scene 7)
  • Julius Caesar (Act 1)
  • A Midsummers Night Dream (Act 2, Scene 3, Act 3, Scene 1)
  • Much Ado About Nothing (still thinking, any suggestions?)
  • Othello (4.2 and 4.3)

Click here for details: DC-area-Shakespeare-explorers

Happens this Sunday, June 5, 2011 at 5:30 PM

The National Mall
near 7th and Madison Washington, DC

Bring a chair or Blanket

LIVE from DC! The Audio Worlds a Stage, and The Lean & Hungry Theater are the Players

I just got this email from the Lean & Hungry Theater about their upcoming broadcast of “Romeo and Juliet”, and their LIVE broadcast of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. And by live I mean you are invited to sit in the audience where the audio worlds a stage, and The Lean & Hungry Theater perform Shakespeare for the Radio.

As a side note I was lucky enough to catch one of the Managing Directors/Co-Founder of Lean&Hungry Alex Zavistovich’s, astounding, bloody and brutal version of Titus Andronicus on stage in DC. I have yet to the hear Lean & Hungry, but if his imagination can translate aurally for Midsummer (Info below), what he did visually (viscerally) for Titus, then “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on June 26 should truly be auditory magic.
Please give them all the support you can and visit their website at:
http://www.leanandhungrytheater.com

Here are the details:
Sirius XM to Broadcast Lean & Hungry Theater’s “Romeo and Juliet,” 7 PM, Saturday, May 14
WAMU-88.5 to Air a Live Broadcast of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on June 26

May 10, 2011, Washington, DC — Sirius XM Satellite Radio will broadcast Lean & Hungry Theater’s one-hour long production of “Romeo and Juliet” this Saturday, May 14 at SEVEN PM on their Book Radio channel (80). The broadcast comes just less than six weeks before Lean & Hungry’s live broadcast of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on June 26.

“Romeo and Juliet” was originally broadcast this past Valentine’s Day evening on WAMU-88.5, as part of an ongoing relationship Lean & Hungry has established with the Washington, DC NPR affiliate.

The cast of “Romeo and Juliet” included JJ Area, Luke Cieslewicz, Chris Genebach, Heather Haney, James Majewski, Karen Novack, Natalie Pyle, Teresa Spencer, Jay Sullivan and Bob Sheire. The production was directed by Kevin Finkelstein, the co-director of Lean & Hungry’s “Macbeth,” which aired on WAMU-88.5 this past Halloween evening. Special effects and musical underscore for “Romeo and Juliet” were provided by Lean & Hungry Technical Director Gregg Martin. The production’s dramaturg was Hannah Todd. Lean & Hungry’s Artistic Director is Jessica Hansen.

Lean & Hungry Theater’s productions and recordings are endorsed by the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind.

About Lean & Hungry Theater:

Conceived in 2006, Lean & Hungry Theater (Lean & Hungry) is a non-profit educational radio drama company. Drawing primarily on the works of William Shakespeare, Lean & Hungry provides adaptations of classic dramatic works to underserved areas, in established or improvised venues (both live and electronic), for the educational benefit and cultural enrichment of students, families, seniors and other interested groups in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and beyond.

Lean & Hungry is the only company in the Washington, DC metropolitan area dedicated to adapting works of Shakespeare and other classic playwrights for radio broadcast. Its performances are recorded before a live audience, complete with sound effects and original musical underscore. The recorded performances are made available as audio streams, audio CD and as radio broadcast productions. For more information, visit www.leanandhungrytheater.com

May Is So SLOOOOOWWW This Year!

Well’ May this year is turning into a barren desert for local Shakespeare fans in the DC area. Where locally last year we had the Montgomery County Players doing Midsummer, and the Folger’s doing Hamlet. This year, there’s nothing around here for May.

My question is, with the recent demise of the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, and the lack of event’s in our area, is this a disturbing reflection of the times? The Washington Post ran an article last year stating:

“Reflecting the growing hunger among Washington’s nonprofit theaters to expand their audience base and diversify their offerings, Shakespeare Theatre Company will serve as the launching site for a national tour of the original production of “Fela!,” the unconventional, Broadway-tested musical about the life of the Nigerian singer-activist Fela Kuti.”

Link to post article

I’m almost afraid that when they say that Washington’s nonprofit theaters, and the Shakespeare Theatre Company, are looking to expand their audience base, what their really saying is that the bucks aren’t flowing for Shakespeare so let’s try something else. For example I noticed there are plenty of plays and things going on with the Shakespeare Theatre Company for the month of May… and no yet  no Shakespeare.

http://www.meetup.com/DC-area-Shakespeare-explorers/

DC-area Shakespeare explorers

And yet’ do not lose all hope! There are others in the area looking for Shakespeare happening’s at the grass-roots level. For example I hang out at the local Meetup.com group called “DC-area Shakespeare explorers.” It’s brand new place on the web to hook up with local Shakespeare fans.  There’s  been so far (I believe) three meetups, I’ve been to a two, and looking forward to the next.

So’ even if there are no “Official” Shakespeare offering’s for May,  we can still make something happen. Jump to the site for DC-area Shakespeare explorers and check out the offerings, or even throw out a suggestion or two. I,  among others have hosted a “Meet up”, and we are in the hopes that you can too. Shakespeare readings? Movie night? Gather before or after seeing a play? It’s a great way to do Shakespeare on the cheap, and meet others in the process!

So’ pop in and support the DC-area Shakespeare explorers

Most likely if you go to an event, you’ll get a chance to meet me there. If you see me, say HI!…

Don’t take Shakespeare in the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC area for granted.

Shakespeare Factory Shakespeare’s Birthday Bash? Who’s Afraid of a Little Rain!

The Shakespeare Factory Players Ian Blackwell and Jess Behar

Well’ As the old saying goes, “You can plan a camping trip, but ch’a can’t plan the weather”. Was it raining at 1pm? Yep. But there’s another quote that I always liked, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” So the wife and I packed up the umbrellas, and I put on my old boots, and off we trudged in the damp gray afternoon to Baltimore for The Shakespeare Factory’s Shakespeare Birthday Bash.

We got there just after 1pm to find a tent put up and the Factory Players inside laughing, joking, and taking the rain in stride. Soon after that the Shakespeare anecdotes, discussions and stories were in full bloom as we waited for the Rain to slow down. Finally the clouds parted, and we found ourselves outside listening to live music (with a brief talk on the history of music),  a sonnet reading that my wife found wonderful, and the amazing sense of pleasure you get when surrounded by people who enjoy something just as much as you do.

Everyone of the Shakespeare Factory Players who were there made us feel completely welcome. It felt more like a family gathering then a “Meet and Greet”. You could tell everyone of the Factory Players who were there, wanted to be there, so they could enjoy each others company and friendship. And what was unique about this gathering, is you could tell they wanted to pass on that sense of joy to us.

Keep an eye on thier web site for dates and times of their next production of As You Like it!

Link: The Shakespeare Factory

Don’t take local Shakespeare in Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia for granted!

April 23rd The Shakespeare Factory Presents: Shakespeare’s Baltimore Birthday Bash!

Update 04/19: Got an update for the  Times and Location for the Meetup.com gathering.
Time: 1:30
Location: They will have a “designated performance area” set up with a sandwich board sign that says “The Globe”. We’ll meet there.

Something Special: She also said there will be a special little presentation for the Meetup group at 1:30 and then everyone can explore and have fun!

Lets support local Shakespeare and have fun in the process!

The Shakespeare Factory Presents: Shakespeare’s Baltimore Birthday Bash!

The Shakespeare Factory (One of my personal local favs)  are a growing professional Shakespeare company of Shakespeare enthusiasts who understand how fun Shakespeare can be! I can attest to this after witnessing, and completely enjoying, their productions of “The Winter’s Tale” and “Comedy of Errors”.

Well’ it seems this Saturday, April 23rd they’re putting on a FREE Community Festival. There will be “Games, crafts, performances, and lots more fun for all ages!” So here is your chance to check out some Shakespeare with a local flavor, and meet others who are just as fond of the Bard as you are.

I’ll also post this on MEETUP.COM group “DC-area Shakespeare explorers so we can all say HI if anyones interested

1-5PM at Sumpter Park located on the corner of Robert St. and Linden Ave in Baltimore.

Link to The Shakespeare Factory for Details

Link to Google Maps

Link to the MEETUP.COM group: DC-area Shakespeare explorers

DC-area Shakespeare explorers

DC-area Shakespeare explorers

1993 – 2011: The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival Closes it’s Doors – Who’s Next

One year ago you could have enjoyed Shakespeare’s birthday by seeing Hamlet performed by the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival. I’m sorry to say that this will no longer be possible, the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival has closed it doors for good. “It was strictly a financial decision,” Peter Toran, Baltimore Shakespeare Festival Board president said. Started in 1993, they had worked hard to bring professional levels of Shakespeare to the Washington DC area. Last winter, Richard III came and went. And with that, they are gone forever.

Unfortunately I don’t think this will be the last Shakespeare Festival to close. County and State budgets are tight, and donations are drying up. I’ve heard these issues from more then one place. But when the economy goes south it seems the first be affected when the axe falls, is the Arts.

Factorys winters tale - Leontes (Ian Rogers) and Hermione (Bess Kaye)

Factorys The Winters Tale - Leontes (Ian Rogers) and Hermione (Bess Kaye)

BUT! We don’t have to let that happen to another Company! Do something, no matter how small it is. Adopt a local Shakespeare company, there are still some around. Take a look at the Maryland Shakespeare Festival in Frederick Maryland, a Company who’s plays I rarely miss. Or how about The Shakespeare Factory in Baltimore, ever heard of them? A group of professional and semi-professional actors who put on wonderfully fun Shakespearean plays in Maryland, just north of Washington DC. I watched them do “The Winter’s Tale” just last month, and “a Comedy of Errors” last year, and they both left me smiling ear to ear.

As a side note since I just used the Shakespeare Factory and the Maryland Shakespeare Festival as examples. Last weekend I saw the MSF put on a production of “As You Like It”, and in the audience was Bess Kaye of the Shakespeare Factory. I had just seen her last month in the Factory’s version of “The Winter’s Tale” as Hermione. Now I am just one that never approaches actors. I’m a musician, I’ve play and sang for 30 years, it’s just something I don’t do. But I’d just heard about the Baltimore Shakespeare Festivals demise, and I guess I was feeling a little melancholy about it. So I went up and told Bess how amazingly wonderful I thought she was as Hermione, and how much I enjoyed the Factory Players version of “The Winter’s Tale”. And I told her I remembered her in “The Comedy of Errors” from last year, and… Well’ I just thanked her.

She took my hands and gave me a hug.

Shakespeare makes our lives that more richer. Don’t take local Shakespeare  for granted.

Links for those mentioned:

The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival

Maryland Shakespeare Festival

The Shakespeare Factory

See the links section for more Company’s.

FREE: Sunday April 17th: A Shakespeare Meetup for the Bards Birthday

Looks like another year has come and gone, and with that Shakespeare gets another year older. To celebrate the Bards birthday the Folgers Shakespeare Library in Washington dc is holding an open house with tours, exhibits, and a cake cutting. Music, dance, and crafts!

To make this a little more interesting, there’s a new group of Shakespeare lovers who have started a MEETUP.COM group called the “DC-area Shakespeare explorers” whose intent is to create a place where local Shakespeare enthusiast can meetup  for events,  discussions,  and anything else that sounds fun. They’ll be having their first meetup at the Folgers for Shakespeare’s birthday party, and they would like to invite you to come and join in the festivities! This group is in the beginning phases, so please show up and give it as much support as you can.

04/13- Update for time and location. Theresa the organizer just posted:
“The Open House starts at noon and goes until 4pm. Let’s meet by the front door at 1pm, to decide when we’d like to head out to find a place to sit down and talk about what we’d like to do with the group. I’ll have a Meetup sign so you can find me!

Links:
DC-area Shakespeare explorer
Folgers Library Birthday Event in Washington DC

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