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

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.

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

Maryland Shakespeare Festivals “As You Like It”

Well’ just got back from another Bare Bard from the Maryland Shakespeare festival,  and once again they showed that professional theater is alive and well in Frederick, (As long as they are funded and supported by people like us I should say). The first time I saw them was in 2008 doing the “Merry Wives of Windsor”, and now here we are, thirteen plays later (Yes I’ve seen 13 fully acted, separate plays since 2008 performed by MSF, having  missed only a couple) and I just had the good fortune to see them perform “As You Like It”. What can I say that I haven’t said before? Their energy was boundless. The presentation was energetic and full of fun. And the actors were at the top of their game.

“As You Like It” is a funny play no matter how you slice it, but the way the actors pulled the audience in made it all that more enjoyable. For at this Bare Bard the audience was not allowed to be mere spectators, but were drawn in to be participants, either as cannon fodder on stage for a pun, or getting handed a script and a hat and asked to perform… I have seen some very formal, and should I use the word “Uptight” versions of the Bards comedies, and in no way could this version ever be considered “Uptight”. Especially after seeing a man in tights, that were’ Ummm, well… to tight… sing the venerated and sanctified words of our beloved Bard to the tunes of “I Will Survive”, and Ricky Martins “Living La Vida Loca”.

Most importantly the Maryland Shakespeare Festival reminds us that Shakespeare is meant to be fun. And if I have not said it before, I would like to thank each and every person involved in these productions, for all their hard work and dedication.

Please visit the Maryland Shakespeare Festival at http://MDShakes.com. Your support will help keep Shakespeare alive in our area!

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