The Two Gentlemen of Verona this Month. Performed by Brave Spirits Theatre: DC’s Newest Shakespeare Company!

This is awesome, there’s a new  theatre company with an obvious passion for Shakespeare in Washington DC called “Brave Spirits Theatre”. They’ll be starting out their first season with The Two Gentlemen of Verona on June 16 – 18, 23 – 25.

There’s a couple of reasons why I am excited to see the Brave Spirits Theatre company (And with any luck, their first show). To start with, the ecstatic energy that comes with the start of any new venture is generally reflected in the performances, which gets poured out into the audience. And the second reason is that, this will not be the first time I’ve had a chance to  see some of the actors in this company. I have had the pleasure to see Jonathan Lee Taylor  in  The Merchant of Venice, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet. And just a couple of months ago I was lucky enough to see Ian Blackwell Rogers play Leontes in The Winter’s Tale. I had a chance to see Ian at another Shakespeare function last April in Baltimore where he left an indelible impression on my wife by reciting several Shakespeare sonnets to her. So in the vernacular of my 1970’s/1980’s Southern Maryland upbringing I just want to say to Ian, “Thanks Dude – You Rock”.

Yet’ I digress…

Here’s some more information about “Brave Spirits Theatre” from their website: http://www.bravespiritstheatre.com/about.html

Brave Spirits Theatre, founded in 2011, is a professional theatre company dedicated to bringing fresh, energetic productions of the works of William Shakespeare and other early modern playwrights to the Washington, D.C. region. We have a triangular focus: text, actor, and audience.

Text: We are unabashedly obsessed with language. We believe the text itself holds all the clues we need to perform an early modern play with truth and vitality. We examine imagery, verse, rhetorical devices, and embedded stage directions. Shakespeare and his contemporaries wrote beautiful poetry, but they also wrote bawdy, gritty, realistic prose and we embrace both with equal relish. In short, we trust the text and it is the basis of our work.

Actor: We are a company that believes the actor is at the center of the artistic process. We seek out artists who are willing to take creative risks, who are bold and courageous, who are ensemble-driven, and who are professionally-minded in their commitment to the art. The actor is the vessel through which the text comes to life, and as such the actor must be willing to bare his or her soul onstage, and must be intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually adept.

Audience: We feel that the audience is the final ingredient needed to bring the play to life. In keeping with the early modern aesthetic, there is no fourth wall, and we engage the audience as a fellow actor, an active participant in the world of the play. Actors may turn the audience into a raucous mob, their confidants, or the butt of a joke. By playing with the audience rather than to them, we make these plays exciting, accessible, and relevant.

For more information, you can check them out at there website by going here: http://www.bravespiritstheatre.com/

Brave Spirits Theatre will be performing

The Two Gentleman of Verona

June 16 – 18, 23 – 25 The
Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8pm
Saturday matinee at 2pm

tickets only $10

Now on sale at Brownpapertickets.com

performing at:

The Fridge DC
REAR ALLEY
516 8th Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

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

Shakespear​e in Arlington!: Twelfth Night and Titus Andronicus

Shakespear​e in Arlington!: Twelfth Night and Titus Andronicus

Hey’ Someones been holding out and not telling me about the ” Empty Chair Theatre Company” based in Arlington Virginia! They’ve been around for about 4 years, doing 7 Shakespeare plays in that time. Turns out this month they’re doing Twelfth Night, and next month Titus Andronicus, including one night at the Folgers in DC!

Here’s a little more about the “Empty Chair Theatre Company” from their website

“The company was formed with the goal to give young artists a creative outlet and the chance to explore deeply layered texts while working with their peers to create innovative theatre. Empty Chair performed a Shakespeare Showcase in June of 2007,  Taming of the Shrew in January of 2008, and Richard III in July 2008. The 2009 season was one cast performing Measure for Measure and King Lear in rep. In 2010, Empty Chair put on Much Ado About Nothing, Miscalled Simplicity (a benefit showcase), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Richard II. Empty Chair became incorporated through the state of Virginia in the Spring of 2008, and has 501(c)3 non-profit status from the IRS.”

Visit them at : http://www.emptychairtheatre.org/

TWELFTH NIGHT
Directed by Miranda Steege
June 15-19th 2011

TITUS ANDRONICUS
Directed by Julia Sears
July 14th, 15th, 21th-23th, 28th-30th

For Something Special:

Add July 16 to your calendar – That’s the day they will be performing Titus Andronicus at the Folger Shakespeare library stage. This will be a benefit performance to help raise money for the Empty Chair Theatre Company, to help them with their community and educational outreach programs…

Where: Folger Theater 201  East Capitol Street, SE Washington, DC 20003
Get Directions

When: July 16th 8:00pm performance with a reception to follow
Buy Tickets

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

FREE May 21st: Orson Welles in The Chimes at Midnight on the (semi-)Big Screen!

Orson Welles at the Maryland Shakespeare miniplex

So’ it’s been decided that the First Shakespearean movie for the “First NeverAnnual Maryland Shakespeare Movie Night” is… Falstaff – The Chimes at Midnight! One that I own, but have chosen not to watch, until I could do so with others who might appreciate  this Bardic experience. I’m actually quite excited to see The Chimes at Midnight, a movie which is often considered Orson Welles finest, as Roger Ebert stated in his review:

” This is a magnificent film, clearly among Welles’ greatest work, joining “Citizen Kane,” “The Magnificent Ambersons,” “Touch of Evil” and (I would argue) “The Trial.” It is also magnificent Shakespeare, focusing on Falstaff through the two “Henry IV” plays to his offstage death in “Henry V.” Although the plays are much abridged, it is said there is not a word in the film not written by Shakespeare.”

Link: Review of Chimes at Midnight (1965)

Directed and staring Orson Wells as Falstaff, and Sir John Gielgud as Henry IV, this movie spans the scope of several Shakespearean histories, mostly focusing on Henry IV parts I and II, but also grabs parts from Richard II, Henry V and The Merry Wives Of Windsor.

The Chimes at Midnight  is considered a rage gem, and a lost classic due to the fact that it has not been in any kind of wide release relating to various copyright and legal issues. Which is why I, among so many others, have never seen, nor heard about this movie.. But thanks to the internet making the world all that much smaller, it is no longer impossible to find it anymore. All you have to do is bounce over to Amazon UK and grab a copy for example.

So if you’re interested in seeing Orson Welles as Falstaff in “The Chimes at Midnight, just follow the links to the  DC-area Shakespeare explorers  at Meetup.com for details.

Links:  DC-area Shakespeare explorers for more details

IMDB: The Chimes at Midnight

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimes_at_midnight

Remember, don’t take live Shakespeare in Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland for Granted

May 21:The First NeverAnnual Maryland Shakespeare Movie Night (On a 10 foot Diagonal HD Screen)

The First Neverannual Maryland Shakespeare Movie Night

The First Neverannual Maryland Shakespeare Movie Night

The Month of May has been pretty much Lemons, considering the fact that there is not a single live Shakespearean play in the DC area, (Compared to the last couple of years). So’ What do you do when life throws you Lemons? You add some sugar, a 10foot Diagonal HD screen, some Shakespeare, water, friends and a DVD, and make Lemon-Aid. In other words:

The First Neverannual Maryland Shakespeare Movie Night.

Shakespeare Festivals and Companies are taking a beating in this economy, so I’m hoping to drum up some enthusiasm and have some fun in the process! This is still in the concept phase, no plays have been decided yet, and space is VERY limited. But if this sounds fun to you, We have just started a discussion at the DC-area Shakespeare explorers. Bounce other there and give us your thoughts!

link to: DC area Shakespeare explorers

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

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.

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