Shakespeare companies have lots of creative programs happening this month both online and in-person. Here’s what the Folger’s theater partners are up to this November.
Posts Categorized: Staging-shakespeare
There are a ton of places to watch Shakespeare in October, both online and in-person. Here’s what the Folger’s theater partners are up to this month.
Shakespeare’s witches haven’t always terrified audiences. For a century and more – from the late 17th to the early 19th centuries – actors played these parts for laughs. During the period in which Shakespeare became “the Bard”, the witches in fact brought a large dose of comedy to Shakespeare’s bloody tragedy. The origins of this surprising, but long-lasting, stage interpretation go back to 1664.
One of the lasting achievements of the extended COVID quarantine will surely be an extraordinary archive of the complete works of William Shakespeare performed on Zoom by casts from around the world, under the umbrella title The Show Must Go Online (TSMGO).
Shakespeare became the Bard of Avon, the English national poet, in the roughly two hundred years following his death in 1616. During this period, his plays were constantly staged in theaters throughout the British Isles and their colonies—but often in forms that we would be hard pressed to recognize as “Shakespearean.” The Tempest is a particularly interesting case in point.
Check out a mix of innovative online programming and safely socially-distanced in-person performances from Shakespeare companies across the US.
There are philosophical travesties, which use absurdity to further explore the ideas Shakespeare raised in his plays. And there are popular travesties, which are substantially less faithful to Shakespeare’s original, trafficking in the most well-known touchstones of the plays. Explore their roots in the 1800s.
Double-casting is a theater technique (as opposed to a literary one) that creates a meta-narrative, transforming a large-cast play into a present-tense adventure. Actors swapping costumes and changing roles (and sometimes genders) becomes part of the thrilling ride, and theater’s fundamental artifice becomes its strength. Theater’s very artificiality becomes a feature, not a bug. Shakespeare utilized this trick to both amplify subtext and heighten the drama.
Imagine a King Lear that cut the character of the Fool, created a romance between Edgar and Cordelia, and featured a happy ending in which Lear and Cordelia both live. That was the most popular version of Shakespeare’s play for more than 150 years, until William Charles Macready’s landmark production in 1838.
Debra Ann Byrd writes about encountering an early female Othello in the Folger collection and developing her memoir and solo show, Becoming Othello.