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

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 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.

Free Folgers Birthday Lecture Tonight: Recipes for Thought: Shakespeare and the Art of the Kitchen

This is a little bit of a late notice, but if you are looking to do something tonight in honor of Shakespeare’s birthday, the Folgers has something for ya.

Wendy Wall, a Professor of English Literature at Northwestern University, delivers the annual birthday lecture entitled Recipes for Thought: Shakespeare and the Art of the Kitchen.

Wendy Wall has a wide-range of interests, which include editorial theory, gender, national identity, the history of authorship, Renaissance poetry, food studies, housework, theatrical practice, and Jell-O. Professor Wall is author of Imprint of Gender: Authorship and Publication in the English Renaissance and Staging Domesticity: Household Work and English Identity in Early Modern Drama, which was a finalist for the James Russell Lowell prize awarded by the MLA and a 2002 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award Winner. A former trustee for the Shakespeare Association of America, she is currently at work on a book entitled Strange Kitchens: Knowledge and Taste in English Recipe Books, 1550-1750.

Sponsored by the Folger Institute’s Center for Shakespeare Studies, this lecture is free and open to the public.

Folger Elizabethan Theatre
Monday, Apr 25 at 8pm
Tickets: Free

Link: http://www.folger.edu/woSummary.cfm?woid=662

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

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/

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.

Mondo (Titus) Andronicus: The Legend Lives On

Mondo (Titus) Andronicus as performed by Molotov Theatre Group has come and gone, but the legend of this brutal and beastly adaptation lives on. The play has been finished for a couple of weeks now and the Washington Post is still finding reasons to point it out:

“Molotov’s most recent production, “Mondo Andronicus,” was a quick and dirty adaptation of Shakespeare’s goriest play that included self-mutilation, stabbings and the startlingly realistic removal of a tongue.”

And this is actually part of a positive review for a very unique theater company. This type of theater is not for everyone, but thrill seekers will love it, and anyone that saw Mondo Andronicus will most likely never forget it.

Link: Molotov Theatre Group. of Washington DC

Link: Washington Post article: “small theater: Molotov Theatre Group”

Link: Maryland Shakespeare review: Mondo Andronicus and the Grand Guignol: A Blood Splattering Opening Night.

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