As far as live entertainment goes, yes, it may seem odd that the go-to author for so many artists and companies is a 400-year-old dead white guy from Stratford-upon-Avon, England. What could this guy possibly have to offer in the 21st century? Why is it relevant? Perhaps the simplest answer is that this Shakespeare fellow had some of the keenest insights into the human experience of any artist living or dead. He knew how to find razor-sharp humor in devastating tragedies and deep emotions within his silliest comedies. He asks us to sympathize and even cheer for crazed killers like Richard III or Macbeth, match wits with Rosalind in As You Like It, plumb the depths of the human psyche with Hamlet, or experience life in its twilight with King Lear or Falstaff. More than anything, Shakespeare knew how to craft an intimate experience between actors and audiences that they can remember for a lifetime.
What If I Don't Like Shakespeare?
We absolutely understand and respect this point of view, though we stop short of saying Shakespeare isn't for everyone, since our goal is to demonstrate the opposite. Perhaps you had a bad experience in school or saw a poor performance that turned you off to Shakespeare. What we offer is probably unlike most Shakespeare you've seen before. Our productions are intimate, fast-paced, and interactive, inviting our audiences to be active participants in the experience. We hope that you'll give us and Shakespeare a chance to win you over.
What If I Can't Understand The Language?
Acclaimed director Rob Clare once said, "Shakespeare isn't hard. It's gradual." The language of Shakespeare can seem overwhelming and occasionally confounds even those who have dedicated their whole lives to his works. It is important to stress that these plays are intended to be performed and not read. A skilled actor can take a complex piece of text and transform it into an emotional composition so that even the most inexperienced audience member can comprehend the emotions of a character in a particular moment, even if the finer nuances of the language wash over them.
Do You Translate The Plays Into "Modern English"?
No. Strictly speaking, scholars and artists refer to Shakespeare's English as "Early Modern" English. We've lost the "thees" and "thous," but approximately 98% of the words used in Shakespeare are words used today. We cut the plays for time and occasionally conflate scenes and characters for clarity. We may also exchange a handful of words with a more modern word to generate a certain response, but by and large, the words spoken in our productions are the closest representation we have to the words written by Mr. Shakespeare 400 years ago.
Is This Appropriate
Unless otherwise noted in the promotional materials, all of our productions are intended for families. As parents, we've taken our children to see Shakespeare and were amazed by how much they enjoy it and how much they comprehend. We definitely encourage you to know about the play you're attending and know your children and how they might respond to it. Be advised Shakespeare's plays are full of violence and sexuality. We will not dampen these aspects of the plays, since they do a disservice to the material we're presenting if we do. We're happy to provide more information on the plays to help facilitate someone's budding passion for Shakespeare and the theater. We welcome anyone, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, religion, income, sexuality, or age, to come and be a part of it.
How Long Is The Play?
To quote the opening Chorus of Romeo and Juliet, we aim to keep our performances within, "the two hours traffic of our stage." Some plays will run longer, and we will do our best to cut for time, but our goal is always a two-hour performance with a brief intermission.