Chesapeake Shakespeare Company: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – $15 tickets at Groupon – VERY LIMITED!!!

$15 for One Ticket to Outdoor Theater Performance (Up to $36 Value)

Groupon has limited tickets  for $15, you get one adult admission to an outdoor Shakespeare performance from the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company at the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park in Ellicott City (up to a $36 value). Children younger than 18 are admitted for free (limited to two free children per paying adult). This Groupon is valid for any one of the following performances:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Thursday, June 30 at 8 p.m.
The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) on Friday, July 1 at 8 p.m.
The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) on Saturday, July 2 at 8 p.m.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Sunday, July 3 at 6 p.m.

Link for Tickets: http://www.groupon.com/deals/chesapeake-shakespeare-company-1?c=all&p=1

Link for Play: Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

 

Review: The Empty Chair Theater’s production of Twelfth Night – To Fun for Words!

Charlie Cook, Mark Tucker, Matt Minnicino, Anna Treichler

 

The Empty Chair Theater’s production of Twelfth Night

When I first stumbled upon the website for “Empty Chair Theater“, I was a little more than perplexed as to how they decided to use that name for their company. I, coming from the audience perspective, thought of an empty chair as a lack of audience to fill a seat, which seemed kinda depressing.  A lone chair facing a world of actors.

So during intermission I asked the young girl behind the concession, why Empty Chair Theater? And was told in essence, it is based on the fact that there are so many wonderful young actors in the DC area dying to do professional, classical theater. But there are to few Shakespearean companies to accommodate these new, and upcoming actors.  So Julia Sears and Elizabeth Nearing created a “Space”, an”Empty Chair”. They created a “Void” knowing nature abhors a vacuum, and then filled this void with young Shakespearean actors ready to take on the world. (These are not their words, but this is what I came away with).

As far as the play itself went. My wife and I walked into the “Theater on the Run Black Box”, which has a very pleasant setup, full stage lighting, theater seating etc.  Now I’m use to seeing Shakespeare done by smaller companies, and knew what to expect about audience size, but my wife did not. She’s been to the Blackfriars in Staunton several times, and seen “The Shakespeare Theatre” perform at the Sydney Harmon Hall, both with large audiences. But when we walked in and she saw only 10 people in the audience, she was completely taken by surprise. I just smiled at her and grabbed a front row, center seat. I’ve been to enough of these small shows to know that with Shakespeare, the audience size and budget, do not have to inhibit quality and enthusiasm of the play.

Their setting for Twelfth Night was a School. Staying true to the Shakespearean language of the text, and with the actors all being in their twenty’s, the setting worked amazingly well. Danny Cackley in the role of Duke Orsino appeared as a kinda class president. Sir Toby Belch (Charlie Cook) and his crew came off as the Drinking, Stoner/Burnout crowd (No drugs were mentioned, or seen in this play, but the potato chips were a dead giveaway). And it all fit wonderfully.

The actors, and the play itself were fantastic and funny. The  comedic scene where Malvolio (Jeremy Tuoby) finds the letter was hilarious and original, the physical humor being top notch. Rebecca Speas as Viola was excellent, with a fantastic singing voice. Natalie Cutcher as Olivia was beautiful, with an easy stage presence. Everyone in this play doing a superb job!

I would like to give an honorable mention to Mark Tucker who I believe was the musical director. I’ve seen 27 individual Shakespearean plays live, some of them multiple times. Yet Mark Tuckers musical intermission was inspired and one of the best. With all the cast members joining in, the music and singing was a joy, and fit the play perfect. Truly one of the best interludes I’ve seen.

So’ my wife and I were there with 10 other people yesterday, which made us a very lucky few. Today is their last performance of Twelfth Night at 7:30, which you could still catch if your lucky. But all is not lost, they will be back with Titus Andronicus next month, including a stop at the Folgers Theater in Washington DC!

The Empty Chair Theater’s production of Twelfth Night

link: http://emptychairtheatre.org

Dates
First: Wednesday Jun 15, 2011 7:30 PM
Last: Sunday Jun 19, 2011 7:30 PM
Prices
$5.00 – $15.00
Location
Theater on the Run
3700 S. Four Mile Run
Arlington, VA 22206
United States

The Two Gentlmen of Verona – By Brave Spirits Theatre: “Thy Budget Doth Not Always Need Affect Thy Quality”

Yes' a brief musical interlude

Last night DC’s newest Shakespearean theatrical company, the Brave Spirits Theatre,  opened it’s doors for the very first time. The play was The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The venue was “The Fridge”, which is literally located in a rear alley behind the administration offices for the “Shakespeare Theatre Company”.  This theater appears to be a large converted storeroom with concrete floors, some fixed theater lights, a small stage at one end, and fold out chairs placed in a U shape. But don’t let that fool ya.

I got there about 10 minutes early (DC Traffic Stinks), was kindly greeted at the door, and made my way inside to find a seat. There were about (Guesstimate) 25 people there, mostly in their 20′s and 30′s. And before I knew it the play was starting, out comes Jonathan Lee Taylor and Jeremy Lister in the lead roles of Valentine and Proteus. I’d seen Jonathan in several different Shakespearean plays, and he has yet to disappoint, always bringing versatility and a unique personally to each role. But this was my first time seeing Jeremy, who came across with a cool subtlety, followed by sudden busts of intensity, as the role demanded.

Busted!

A short time later there was Victoria Reinsel and Charlene V. Smith (Lead roles of Julia and Silvia) standing in the center of the floor, wearing modern dress and speaking Shakespeare’s words in a fluid and flowing conversation.They seemed amazingly comfortable with each other and the words they spoke, completely pulling me.

The plot moved fast and the comedy came quickly proving these smaller companies are a perfect showcase for Shakespeare’s humor. In Shakespeare’s time the Clown (Comic actor Richard Tarlton) was an acrobat and vaudevillian, he would jump, roll, dance, ad-lib, cajole and interact with the audience till they were belly laughing. I find sometimes that the larger theater companies feel the need to tone down the antics, yet’ David F. Zimmerman and Ian Blackwell Rogers had no problem following this tradition. They were showing off their comedic verbal wit, and physical acrobatics within minutes of the play starting, at times literally bouncing off the wall with energy.

Now I LOVE big Shakespeare productions, with period costuming, and huge budgets. But Brave Spirit reminded me tonight, with Shakespeare it’s not about the how much money you throw at the production. Shakespeare is about imagination, and passion, and a love for the spoken word. So do yourself a favor and check the Brave Spirits Theatre. This weekend and next week will be your only chance to see them perform The Two Gentleman of Verona. So don’t miss out.

Note: When I originally posted this review I mentioned that Victoria and Charlene were the first to come out and start the play, which they didn’t. I blame this on the fact that they are both so very stunning (Which they are, See their website), and I was completely taken aback in the same manner as so many of the Bard’s romantic leads. For thou shouldst know, in that small Shakespearean world in my mind, such beauty as theirs, will always be the first and last of all my imaginings.

Brave Spirits Theatre presents

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

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

Tickets only $10

Link: http://www.bravespiritstheatre.com

Brave Spirits Theatre – On-line ticketing is having issues. Make’s you think their soldout

UPDATED 06\17: The online sales are now available up to an hour before curtain.

Just a noteBrave Spirits Theatre – Their on line ticketing is having issues. At least for now you cannot purchase tickets on the same day as the play. The ticketing site gives the impression the show is soldout. This is not the case. There are tickets at the box office, and they would love your support for opening night (Tonight), and up coming performances.

Link: http://www.bravespiritstheatre.com

Reminder: Two Opening Nights for Tonight and Tomorrow – Don’t forget to support your local groups!

Opening Nights for Tonight and Tomorrow.

TWO GENTLEMAN FROM VERONA performed by Brave Spirits Theatre tomorrow night (June 16th) -  This is the first night of their very first production, so I plan to be there early for a good seat! As I had said in a prior post, even though it’s a new company I’ve seen some of the actors already in several Shakespearean plays, so it will be interesting to see how they perform with this new company.

Link: http://www.bravespiritstheatre.com

TWELFTH NIGHT performed by Empty Chair Theater Company is tonight.(June 15) – They’ve been around since 2007 and have done about 7 plays by Shakespeare. I’ll be there Saturday for the 2pm production for the simple fact that Twelfth Night is one of my favorites.

Link: http://www.emptychairtheatre.org/

See the Calender for more plays and details: http://marylandshakespeare.com/events-calender/

ALERT-FREE: STC Preview this Sunday for “The Merchant of Venice”

Just got this email – The Shakespeare Theatre Company will be performing a  free preview this Sunday of “The Merchant of Venice” at the Sidney Harman Hall. It’s just my luck I’ll be in Staunton at the Blackfriars watching As You Like it, but if I had the time I would most definitely be there.

Here’s a quote from the Email:

Whether contemplating the contents of gilded chests or the darkest corners of humanity, The Merchant of Venice challenges audiences to look beyond misleading appearances to find the true measure of things. This intriguing story of power and revenge, justice and mercy, true love and duplicity features some of Shakespeare’s most complex and memorable characters.

 

The Merchant of Venice is being staged at STC for the first time in more than a decade. Set against the gritty backdrop of 1920s Lower East Side New York City, this classic tale with a modern twist highlights that commerce is king and everything’s a commodity.

Link to: Shakespeare Theatre Company

Catch a preview this Sunday, June 12, at Open Rehearsal.

Seatings: 2 p.m. and 3:50 p.m.

Sidney Harman Hall.

Admission: FREE

First come, first served.

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

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