Tag Archives: Shakespeare

Stratford HD Kicks Off Stage-to-Screen Series April 24th

This year’s debut also coincides with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare‘s passing and celebrates his legacy.

Jonathan Goad as Hamlet in Hamlet. Photography by David Hou.

Jonathan Goad as Hamlet in Hamlet. Photography by David Hou.

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The Stratford Festival, North America’s leading classical theatre company, today announced its 2016 U.S. schedule of high-definition theater screenings of the Festival’s critically acclaimed productions of Shakespeare’s iconic works. Captured onscreen for audiences nationwide, the series kicks off on April 24 with the HD debut of Hamlet. The series continues with The Adventures of Pericles beginning May 8, and with The Taming of the Shrew beginning May 29.

Distributed this spring by SpectiCast Entertainment, the productions continue the massive initiative by the Stratford Festival’s Artistic Director, Antoni Cimolino, to capture all of Shakespeare’s plays over the next 10 years and bring them to a global audience. Noted producer and director Barry Avrich has captured the productions using 10 cameras and 128 tracks of sound to create an immersive high-definition, surround-sound experience while remaining faithful to the stage version of the productions.

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Coming to theaters across the U.S. this summer:

  • Jonathan Goad. Photography by Don Dixon.

    Jonathan Goad. Photography by Don Dixon.

    Hamlet – It’s been called the greatest play in the English language and this production “the most complete, most fulfilling, most satisfying in decades of theater-going.” Jonathan Goad is witty and courageous in the title role, but also deeply human. The film excites and surprises at every turn, with a cast of some of the finest classical actors in the world bringing to life the most intense and heart-breaking relationships the stage has ever seen. Directed for the stage by Antoni Cimolino. Directed for film by Shelagh O’Brien. Produced by Barry Avrich.

  • Ben Carlson, Deborah Hay. Photography by Don Dixon.

    Ben Carlson, Deborah Hay. Photography by Don Dixon.

    The Taming of the Shrew – Shakespeare’s boisterous comedy will stir your emotions with the love story of Katherina and Petruchio, the feisty couple at the center of Shakespeare’s most pointed social commentary. Deborah Hay gives a “performance for the ages” as the Shrew, and Ben Carlson is the perfect counterpoint as her plotting suitor, creating a chemistry that sets the stage alight. Directed for the stage by Chris Abraham. Produced and directed for film by Barry Avrich.

  • Evan Buliung (centre) as Pericles with members of the company in The Adventures of Pericles. Photography by David Hou.

    Evan Buliung (centre) as Pericles with members of the company in The Adventures of Pericles. Photography by David Hou.

    The Adventures of Pericles – One storm at sea brings love into the life of Pericles, Prince of Tyre, while another snatches it away. This magical production of Shakespeare’s epic tale is “moving from beginning to end.” Evan Buliung gives a sweeping performance, portraying the dashing young prince with verve and swagger, and taking him into his elder years with sorrowful tenderness. A story rarely told, and one you won’t soon forget! Directed for the stage by Scott Wentworth. Produced and directed for film by Barry Avrich.

Additional screening locations will be updated weekly.
The Stratford Festival HD project launched in February 2015 with the release of
King Lear, King John, and Antony and Cleopatra.

For more information visit: www.stratfordfestival.ca/HD

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ABOUT THE STRATFORD FESTIVAL
The Stratford Festival has been setting the standard for classical theater in North
America for more than 60 years. With the works of Shakespeare at its core, this
acclaimed repertory theater presents a seven-month season of a dozen or more
plays in four venues, along with a Forum of events to enrich the play-going
experience. Since its revolutionary first season in 1953, it has welcomed more
than 26 million theater-goers from around the world, people who flock to this small Canadian town for one reason: an unparalleled quality of performance. In 2015, under the leadership of Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino and Executive Director Anita Gaffney, the Stratford Festival embarked upon a 10-year initiative to capture the entire Shakespeare canon in spectacular HD, bringing the work of
this renowned company to audiences around the world.

Take the “Shakespeare Insult Challenge” : Help a Theatre Company

“Don’t be a bolting-hutch of beastliness!”

shakesIt’s not easy being a  hilarious, classically trained, highly accomplished, cooperative theater ensemble of actors who work frequently on TV, film and Broadway and who founded a theatre company to celebrate and reinvigorate the classics!  And…to raise funds in order to convert a Glendale storefront into a Cultural Arts Center and new home which includes a fully fledged annual season of  three fully-staged classical theater productions, a popular free reading series, Playwrights Lab, and outreach programs for students, educators and audience members that connect the essentially human elements in classical texts to contemporary issues and ideas.  In order to keep it going, sometimes you need to get a sense of humor.  And that’s what they did!

#ShakespeareInsultChallenge

Antaeus Theatre Company is using it’s trademark sense of humor in it’s new crowdfunding campaign,  playon.info.  

Armin-Image-sm
“In the Antaeus tradition, where classical meets contemporary, we’re using a crowdfunding platform to help raise money for our new home,” explain co-artistic directors Bill Brochtrup, John Sloan and Rob Nagle. “We hope it will help us engage the community and the world at-large, like the timeless plays we perform in our theater.”

Here’s a handy Shakespearean Translator (click here!)

The Play On! Capital Campaign was publicly launched last June to raise funds to convert a vacant storefront at 110 East Broadway in the City of Glendale to a Cultural Arts Center.

To date, Play On! has raised $1.3 million through contributions from donors, board members and company members. The refurbished space will house an 80-seat theater and a 45-seat black box, as well as a lobby gallery and a classics library. A production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, fully partner-cast in Antaeus tradition, is on track to inaugurate the new space in the fall of 2016. (Until that time, the company continues to produce at its current space in the NoHo Arts District, with Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill scheduled to open on March 10 and Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, in a version by Andrew Upton, scheduled for June 2.)

Armin

“The generosity of the entire company has been astounding,” says Antaeus co-associate artistic director and Star Trek veteran Armin Shimerman. “We are blessed to have so many passionate people in our midst whose hearts are so devoted to the arts. Having emptied our pockets, we now look to a wider community to help build our new home.”

Following in the footsteps of highly entertaining fundraising videos created by Antaeus in past years (including “Naked Actors Need Costumes” and “Turn Off the Dark”), the company’s new Kickstarter video seeks to raise $75,000 of the remaining funds necessary to begin construction.

Launching in tandem with the Kickstarter campaign, the Antaeus “Shakespeare Insult Challenge” will feature familiar faces from the science fiction universe, including fan favorites from Star Trek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and more, each calling out one of the insults sprinkled throughout the Bard’s plays (“Thou burlyboned, poxmarked skainsmate”) and encouraging viewers to donate, create similar videos of their own and spread the word via #ShakespeareInsultChallenge.

Shakespeare

Antaeus Theatre Company is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations (minus the value of any premiums received) are fully tax deductible.

 

Shakespeare’s Last Night Out at Three Clubs on Vine

Shakespeare's Last Night Out, Michael Shaw Fisher

Michael Shaw Fisher as William Shakespeare. Photo by David Haverty

“Thou must, in this pregnant hour, with haste and wit, and whilst thou hast advantage, get thee to London (or at least to a bigger venue)!  Else content thyself with churlish critics and render bootless thy wordly strength. Dispatch!”

If ever there has been an intimate rendering of the bard, Michael Shaw Fisher’s (Orgasmico Theatre Company) original solo performance, “Shakespeare’s Last Night Out” is a definitive, musical, interactive discourse, from the mouth of the worlds most renowned playwright in his final hours. 

Legend has it that Shakespeare expired from a fever after a night of drinking. In “Shakespeare’s Last Night Out” the Bard of Avon defends his authorship, details personal, life-shaping family milestones, recounts unknown events and characters, and periscopes his bawdy career beginning from early days as a young boy at school fascinated with story and mask.

Sonneting glove making references inside his father’s shop into some of the most beautiful lines of text in his most famous plays, he exalts ignoble hilarity, the importance and pure joy of his art, and kinships and crossed paths with other acclaimed players during one of history’s most celebrated and dangerous centuries of poetry and stage. It is indeed a bawdy journey of song, serenade and deeply heartfelt regret as well as fierce retrospective.

Michael Shaw Fisher’s delivery is more than mere characterization, he is a near apotheosis of our beloved Will yet “most plain”.  Fisher gives us a highly moving, distinctive portrait of a dreamer/actor/writer who was simply a man.

Impressive multi-instrument, musical accompaniment by Allison Faith Shulock with also Gordon Wimpress on guitar.  Directed by Jeff Sumner. Written and performed by Michael Shaw Fisher.

Now Playing until November 1, 2015 at 

Three Clubs (Three Clubs Stage Room) 1123 N. Vine St, Los Angeles, CA

Follow this show on Facebook.

Tickets at: http://bpt.me/event/2227210

PERFORMANCE DATES/TIMES:

(***UNDER 21 AUDIENCES WILL ADMITTED ONLY ON SUNDAY 9/20  5:00PM and SUNDAY 10/4)

FRI September 18th 8pm
SUN September 20th 5pm (***Under age 21 admitted)
FRI September 25th 8pm
SUN September 27 6pm
FRI October 2nd 8pm
SUN October 4th 5pm (***Under age 21 admitted)
FRI October 9th 8pm
SUN October 11th 6pm
FRI October 16th 8pm
SUN November 1st 6pm

Eclectic Company’s Summer Fling with Richard III

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

Jesse Merlin and Jon Mullich. Photo Credit: Marni Troop.

Jesse Merlin and Jon Mullich. Photo Credit: Marni Troop.

This being my first visit to Eclectic Company Theatre, Richard III seemed like a great start to an eventful Summer theatre season, which, this year, boasted a dirge of classical indoor and outdoor plays happening around town. What I expected to be a sleepy little company in the Valley turned out to be, to my happy surprise, a powerhouse of talent.  Unsupervised at worst but rife with potential, Eclectic’s presentation of one of Shakespeare’s most villainous of characters diverted into a rather interesting course.

They could have used some better direction.

There was so much going on choreographically apart from the script that the whole thing occasionally needed a pause and a re-align. The costuming by Wendell C. Carmichael was stylishly extravagant in its black and white, futuristic 1930s era mashup. The production however, was cluttered with noisy entrances and exits via the many platformed stage design, the text projected through a wide variety of acting styles, application of opera style makeup in a very closeup house, a forthwith dramatic delivery or two that ended as abruptly as it had begun, plus the breathtaking length of the show.

But the bombshell is that despite some of the more flagrant missteps inside the production Eclectic Theatre Company actually packed a wallop of a show!

Actor Jon Mullich endowed Richard with ferocious comedy, vicious wit and Olivier style spoken word every living breathing moment of the tyrannical, manipulative, hunchback’s life on stage. In the vain of it being a truism that in narrative drama, the villains get the best lines, most certainly no meaning was left unearthed. No text unaddressed.  Paired with the incomparable repartee of actor Jesse Merlin as Buckingham, these two by mystique alone held focus and kept this show moving at a stealthy pace.  Although, there were many notable performances in this play. Overall it was a delicious Richard III.

A little sewing is in order but only to seem the players more perfectly together.  Otherwise, at Eclectic there is most definitely color and contrast, flavor and fragrance.  It will be interesting to see what comes next.

Fight choreography by Christian Chan

Produced by Natasha Troop and Marni Troop
Directed by Natasha Troop

The cast: Jon Mullich as Richard, Jesse Merlin as Buckingham, and Christian Chan, Alon Dina, Melody Doyle, Carissa Gipprich, Rachel Kanouse, Jessicah Neufeld, David Pinion, Tim Polzin, Glenn Simon, Janie Steele, Randi Tahara, Gary Tremble, Eliot Troop, Micah Watterson and Nathan Werner.

This show is now closed. 

Eclectic CompanyCheck the website for the upcoming season productions.

Independent Shakespeare Rocks Romeo and Juliet at Griffith Park

Erika Soto and Nikhil Pai in ISC's Romeo and Juliet

Erika Soto and Nikhil Pai in ISC’s Romeo and Juliet

@IndyShakes returns to Griffith Park this Summer with Shakespeare’s most famous play about teenage folly as it’s season opener.

The emotional knee-jerk characteristics of tween/teens are thoroughly captured in this production by a not yet 13, overly cutesy Juliet and a capricious Romeo falling in and out of infatuation with Rosalind and then soundly in love with the girl of his dreams.

It’s a solidly modern theme that never loses its resonance or it’s impact especially with younger people today driving culture into a very adult landscape, drowning out the motif of children being babies, in its wake.  That’s not exactly the case here, but the power of extreme youthful passion craving experience in its fullest value is never more displayed so well as in Romeo and Juliet.

Once past the somewhat manufactured physicality of actress Erika Soto’s (Juliet) naivety, who displays a more adult change-up in the second act, there really is a quite brilliantly executed performance.  Ms.  Soto captures on one hand an exuberant, refreshingly high-spirited pre-teen and on the other, a singularly desperate, very young girl trapped in a situation with no options, no empathy from her parents, and no social recourse whatsoever.  Suicide is a clear choice.  For Juliet, it is the one way she knows how to absolutely decide her own fate.

Independent Shakespeare has taken pains to master a raucous Romeo and Juliet focusing much more into the quicksilver aspect of the teenage love story and the bawdiness of Shakespeare’s original writing.  Everything about the presentation is pointedly interactive, jolly, “loose,” laying so much less heavily on Shakespeare’s age-old theme of parental control, but nevertheless making the heady and lightening speed ending absolutely potent.

In fact, it is noticeable that some of the darkest aspects of this play – the death of Mercutio, the fatal duel with Tybalt, the severity of the consequences of Romeo and Juliet’s secret marriage – are almost skipped in favor of  what seems like a “never-ending party.” Here we have a thoroughly libertine Mercutio powerfully executed by Andre Martin and a surprisingly un-frumpy, street-wise, quick-thinking nurse played by Bernadette Sullivan almost entirely coopting focus.  Actor Nikhil Pai is a perfectly appealing Romeo who matches Juliet.  And there is truly an immersive quality about this production.

In the end though, the message for Juliet remains the same: that Love is most definitely NOT unconditional.  She has “lain with her sworn enemy”.  There will be no forgiveness for the truth and no way out of a life she can no longer accept through the “forced” new open eyes of an adult.  In Romeo’s case, death is as definitive a choice, and that of a young boy so immersed in the conviction of love without reason.  He really believes his life is over when he hears of Juliet’s untimely demise.  Romeo and Juliet’s only real support system is Friar Lawrence who (even though only) by accident, fails the couple, when it counts.

The violence of Romeo and Juliet’s actions is not shocking at all.  Their course has been set for them, mostly by the haste and bullying with which Juliet’s parents arrange her “womanhood”.  They are well-meaning but typically narcissistic adults more concerned about appearance and legacy than their child’s “actual” happiness.  Sound modern?  It should.  It’s a behavior still happening in every culture ore’ the world difficult to render it excusable for the “times,” be it cross-racial divides, religious and cultural differences that don’t assimilate, buying and selling child brides…and grooms, keeping kids on lock down for more than safety reasons, the gamut is endless – just watch the news.  And that is what makes this story ultimately so tragic.  We may have moved the needle in the direction of facilitating awesome human beings rather than ordering our children into a kind of submissive adulthood.  But plenty over centuries hasn’t really changed.

Independent Shakespeare’s production of Romeo and Juliet under the direction of Melissa Chalsma is an overwhelming success with it’s completely fresh interactive presentation.  Here we have absolute beauty, intelligent comedy and painful tragedy unequivocally balanced.  

One of the most gorgeous and seriously fun aspects of this production is the original fairytale-punk, rock score designed and performed by David Melville & Ashley Nguyen with William Elsman & Jack Lancaster.  Undeniably the highlight of the evening.

Highly recommended.  It’s a bit bawdy at times for young children, but no one was complaining.

The Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival
Friday through Sunday until July 26th
at The Old Zoo in Griffith Park

7:00pm

For more information, call (818) 508-1754

or visit www.iscla.org

Photo credit: Grettel Cortes

The World Domination of Richard III at Eclectic Company

 The villains get the best lines

Richard III

One of the most coveted roles in Shakespearean literature, Shakespeare’s history play recounts how Richard ascended to the throne and consolidated his power largely by accomplishing the murder of his perceived political adversaries, including members of his own family, in a story that resonates as surprisingly modern.  Fast, vicious and murderous, Richard III revels in Shakespeare’s gleeful poetry, hurtling along with Richard on his psychotic vision of world domination.

Directed by Natasha Troop, Eclectic Company’s Richard III is this season’s play to watch. Described as an “intimate encounter with Shakespeare’s most popular and cunning anti-hero, Richard of Gloucester,” the design elements of the current production are a mash-up of the futuristic and 1930s-era retro, highlighting both the elegance of life at court and the coldness of the Plantagenet feud.

It is both silky and seductive, ferocious and brutal, charming and repelling.

The cast includes Jon Mullich as Richard, also featuring Ovation award nominee Jesse Merlin (Re-Animator: The Musical) as Buckingham, and Christian Chan, Alon Dina, Melody Doyle, Carissa Gipprich, Rachel Kanouse, Jessicah Neufeld, David Pinion, Tim Polzin, Glenn Simon, Janie Steele, Randi Tahara, Gary Tremble, Eliot Troop, Micah Watterson and Nathan Werner.

Costume Designer: Wendell C. Carmichael   
Fight choreography: Christian Chan

Eclectic Company

The Eclectic Company Theatre
5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd. 
Valley Village, CA 91607 

(between Chandler and Magnolia)

WHEN: July 24- August 30, 2015. Fri. & Sat. at 8:00, Sun. at 2:00.

ADMISSION: $18.

RESERVATIONS: (818) 508-3003.

ONLINE TICKETING: www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org

Gia #HFF15 #Reviews : Shakespeare(ish)

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

Shakespeare (ish)

This shows begins right where it ends in a kind of no man’s land of Shakespeare’s words, tropes, poetic styles and 8 year old fantasies of the more famous stories in the catalog.  They are certainly not lacking in exuberance or dedication. But even the masks, minor puppetry, delightfully frivolous sets and song making couldn’t keep this mess from its tipping point.

As a family friendly teaching tool mashup for youngsters or those who go deep for being young at heart, Shakepeare(ish) does highlight and instruct on important moments, characters and ideas adding some adorable off-handed, off-text audience participation.  As a stage play, it’s purely non-sensical which for some is the reason to experience it.  They could cut it down a bit however, for the older kids in the room who were finding some of the scenes repetitive and long.