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.

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!

April 9th and 10th: Maryland Shakespeare Festival Bare Bard of “As You Like It” This weekend

I’ve been lax on updating the calendar, but with the Spring season kicking off I am starting to get really excited. One reason for this excitement is the Maryland Shakespeare Festivals last Bare Bard of the season,  where they will be performing a play I haven’t seen yet, “As You Like It”.

Now if you haven’t seen a Bare Bard, give this one a chance. A Bare Bard is where the actors come from around the county with their lines memorized, meet up on Friday, and in 24 hours put on a full production. I’ve seen to many Bare Bards to count and REALLY enjoyed them all. It’s like seeing Shakespeare on a high wire without a net. There’s no sleepwalking these lines, they are freshly learned and the energy is raw. It’s fast,  loose, and a lot of fun!

April 9th at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 10th at 2 p.m. Sundays performance will include a talk back with the actors.

The Bare Bard performance space is located at All Saints Episcopal Church.

All Saints Episcopal Church
21 North Court Street
Frederick, MD 21701

See website for details

Links: http://mdshakes.com

 

DC-area Shakespeare explorers Meetup!

If you are looking to find other Shakespeare lovers in the DC area, then there’s a new Meetup group looking for you, called DC-area-Shakespeare-explorers.  Now I do not run in any type of academic circles of any type, and personally know no one interested in Shakespeare, so I am looking forward to checking this out.

 

To find out more about the DC-area-Shakespeare-explorers just follow this link:
http://www.meetup.com/DC-area-Shakespeare-explorers/

Click here for their upcoming events calendar:
http://www.meetup.com/DC-area-Shakespeare-explorers/events/calendar/

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.

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