San Francisco Shakespeare Festival celebrates its 35-year history with 35 Shakespeare speeches

Thirty-five is the magic number for San Francisco Shakespeare Festival this year. Since February, SF Shakes has been presenting a series of free, short performances to celebrate its 35-year history in San Francisco. The goal is to perform 35 famous speeches from Shakespeare’s plays in 35 famous places in the city.

The series kicked off Feb 11 with Hamlet’s “O that this too, too solid flesh would melt” soliloquy, performed at Crissy Field East Beach with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. On Pi Day (Mar 14), the “And make two pasties of your shameful heads” speech from Titus Andronicus was performed at a popular pie shop in the Mission District. And in another particularly apt combination, Mark Antony’s “Friends, Romans, countrymen” speech from Julius Caesar was performed at City Hall on the ides of March.

The latest performance, on Aug 25, featured six speeches from The Tempest, with Julian Lopez-Morillas* as Prospero. He was joined by Anne Yumi Kobori as Ariel, and John R. Lewis* as Caliban. The performance also included two songs from The Tempest: “Full fathom five thy father lies…” and “Where the bee sucks…” You can see the Sutro Baths ruins in the background of these photos.

San Francisco Shakespeare Festival
Julian Lopez-Morillas as Prospero, Aug 25, 2017. San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. Photo credit: Kristin Hall
San Francisco Shakespeare Festival
A flock of birds flies over Prospero’s head, adding to the air of magic among the misty, eerie ruins. Aug 25, 2017. San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. Photo credit: Kristin Hall
San Francisco Shakespeare Festival
Prospero gives up his staff to an audience member. Aug 25, 2017. San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. Photo credit: Kristin Hall

Here are some highlights from past performances in the “35 Famous Speeches in 35 Famous Places” series: The balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet performed in the Yerba Buena Gardens on Valentine’s Day, Titania’s “These are the forgeries of jealousy” speech from A Midsummer Night’s Dream with an environmentalist twist at the Conservatory of Flowers, and “Now is the winter of our discontent…” from Richard III performed near the Yoda Fountain in the Presidio.

More speeches to come! Check the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival website for upcoming performances.

San Francisco Shakespeare Festival is a theater partner of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

*Member of Actor’s Equity Association

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