Every month, we check in with our theater partners across the United States to see what’s onstage. Here’s a look at Shakespeare in October.
At San Francisco, CA’s African-American Shakespeare Company, Othello is onstage through October 27. San Francisco Chronicle critic Lily Janiak says that L. Peter Calendar, who plays Othello and is also the company’s artistic director, “brings inborn dignity, the highest caliber of training and a restless curiosity to every role he portrays,” while Michael Ray Wisely (Iago) is “a master of menace, a virtuoso of the two-face.” Sounds like good casting to us.
The Annapolis Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet is onstage through October 27.
At the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, catch Julius Caesar through October 27.
Dead Centre’s Hamnet is onstage at the Brooklyn Academy of Music from October 30 – November 3. The play focuses on William Shakespeare’s son Hamnet, who died at the age of 11. BAM’s Vilina Phan writes that Hamnet “forces the audience to think about what is to be, and what is destined not to be.” Hamnet is “barely able to make a mark on life, just one letter shy from greatness, overshadowed by the achievements of his famous father.” But break, my heart… because tickets to the show’s five performances are currently sold out.
At the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Romeo and Juliet opens on October 31. It’s Artistic Director Barbara Gaines’s first time directing the play. “I’ve set the story in the heat of the summer in the not-too-distant future of August 2020—in a Verona that could be any city in the world,” says Gaines. “In truth, I want to set it in the future because my enduring hope is that the ultimately tragic outcome we witness onstage can yet be changed for the future of all our children.”
Titus Andronicus is onstage at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company through November 2. Director Jeremy Dubin reflects on why Titus has a cult following:
Shakespeare’s body of work is no stranger to violence, depravity and gore, yet Titus still stands out as something unique. Something about it feels, in the most wicked and wonderful way, a little disreputable—and consequently a little dangerous. It is an outlier, a black sheep… No, it is not always elegant, arguable not always tasteful (pun slightly intended), but for all that, indeed because of that, it is no less insightful, no less heart-rending, and most of all no less truthful. It pushes past the bounds of propriety to get to something fundamental.
The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s Macbeth is on tour through December 8. The Festival’s Anne Yumi Kobori directs the play with inspiration and influence from butoh, a dance form developed in post-World War II Japan that reflects the brutality of the nation’s recent experience. Butoh “strives to capture the dark, earthy, taboo interiority of the dancer in precise movement,” says Festival Communication Specialist Edmund Campos. This Macbeth isn’t pure butoh, Campos says, but it is “inspired by its grim beauty in spirit and gesture.” Find public performance dates here.
Catch The Tempest at the Seattle Shakespeare Company through November 10. The production features new settings of Shakespeare’s songs by composer and sound designer Malex Reed.
Shakespeare in Detroit hosts an Inebriated Reading of Macbeth on October 24.
At the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Romeo and Juliet is onstage October 16 through November 17.
The Southwest Shakespeare Company’s Macbeth opens October 25 and runs through November 9.
In case you missed it…
These productions closed earlier this month, but you can still get a taste of the performances with two blog posts:
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis partnered with the Big Muddy Dance Company, Jazz St. Louis, and the Nine Network of Public Media to stage an exuberant multi-disciplinary production of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s Such Sweet Thunder.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival’s hit Hamlet charted a new path for Ophelia and Hamlet’s relationship.
The African-American Shakespeare Company, Annapolis Shakespeare Company, Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare at Notre Dame, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Shakespeare in Detroit, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Southwest Shakespeare Company, and Utah Shakespeare Festival are theater partners of the Folger Shakespeare Library.