What’s onstage at Shakespeare theaters in August

Every month, we check in with our theater partners to find out what’s onstage across the USA. Here’s what’s happening in August.

At American Players Theatre, Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will continues through October 5. Gunderson’s play tells the story of how the First Folio, the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, came to be. Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Fences and more are onstage as well.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) kicks off August 17 at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company.

Hurry and catch the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s The Merry Wives of Windsor before it closes August 18. Director Tom Delise finds an idyllic world in Shakespeare’s Windsor:

“I found myself thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we all lived in a world like this—a world where after all the ‘pribbles and prabbles’ of daily life, we can all simply gather together at the end of the day, and in the words of  Master Page, ‘drink down all unkindness’? O, ’tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.”

At Door ShakespeareThe Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry V continue through August 24. Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol, Falstaff’s friends/servants, appear in both plays. . .  but they don’t always get happy endings.

At the Idaho Shakespeare FestivalJulius Caesar continues through August 29. Director Sarah Bruner writes:

“Consider the climate in which this play was first performed: London, 1599. England has a succession problem. . .  Shakespeare did not have the luxury of writing directly about politics at the time. . . So, to address England’s fear of the impending succession, he adapted the history of Julius Caesar from Plutarch. . . This retelling of Caesar, no doubt, had resonance for a country that was anxiously anticipating change. The function of Julius Caesar is the same for us today as it was for Shakespeare’s audiences. It gives us perspective on our own social and political situations while offering us a little distance, and space for reflection.”

This August, the Nashville Shakespeare Festival‘s free Shakespeare in the Park productions are in a new space at oneCITY. The festival celebrates its move with two plays about people in brave new worlds: Pericles and The Tempest run through September 29.

At the Oregon Shakespeare FestivalAs You Like It, Macbethand more continue through October. Since As You Like It opened, director Rosa Joshi has hopped from one coast to the other to spend some time at Folger Theatre, where she’s in the process of directing 1 Henry IV (starting September 3).

For Shakespeare lovers 21 and older, there’s still time to get tickets to Shakespeare in Detroit’s Inebriated Reading of Fletcher and Shakespeare’s The Two Noble Kinsmen, this Sunday, August 18 at Detroit’s Two James distillery. If you aren’t familiar with The Two Noble Kinsmen, be prepared for an intense friendship, madness, love at first sight, a big ol’ ironic twist, and a pyramid-based battle royale wrestling match with rules that sound vaguely like Super Smash Bros. All of that makes “inebriated” the perfect way to watch this show.

Aaron Clifton Moten (Romeo) and Louisa Jacobson (Juliet) in “Romeo and Juliet” at The Old Globe. Photo: Jim Cox.

At The Old Globe, Romeo and Juliet runs through September 15. The production’s set, designed by Takeshi Kata, is a sandbox, an idea that director Barry Edelstein came to him in a dream:

“I had a dream that it should be set in a sandbox and that everyone should be barefoot. I saw an image of people in white clothes. I heard a piano playing Erik Satie. There’s something beautiful and youthful and romantic about being barefoot in the sand, and something eternal, too, around time and fate and nature and erosion.”

“The show is a celebration of youth, and a cautionary tale about all the forces that buffet young people as they make their way through the world,” Edelstein writes.


American Players Theatre, Baltimore Shakespeare Factory, Door Shakespeare, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare in Detroit, and The Old Globe are part of the Folger’s Shakespeare Theater Partnership Program.

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