Sunday, February 27, 2005

A marvellous musical with the most tremendous heart

The storyline is based on Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost, with the four leading men all taking a vow of chastity so they can better concentrate on making a good start in their new country. Naturally, it is not long before Eros � in this case the Eros in Piccadilly Circus � is sending his mischievous arrows flying, and the foursome find themselves falling in love with a quartet of memorably spunky women who give them a far from easy ride."

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Oregon Shakespeare Festival set to kick off 70th year

ASHLAND - The Oregon Shakespeare Festival will open its 2005 season, and its 70th year, next weekend with four productions including a world premiere by Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Schenkkan.

``By the Waters of Babylon,'' a bittersweet romance by Schenkkan, will open at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 27 in the New Theatre. William Shakespeare's ``Richard III'' will open at 8 p.m. Friday in the Angus Bowmer Theatre.
And two comedies will open Saturday, both in the Bowmer: ``The Philanderer'' by George Bernard Shaw at 1:30 p.m. and ``Room Service'' by Allen Boretz at 8 p.m. Schenkkan's new play is one of two that will premiere in Ashland this year. The other is 'Gibraltar' by San Francisco playwright Octavio Solis, whose 'El Paso Blue' was staged by the festival in 1999. Solis developed 'Gibraltar' in collaboration with seven festival actors. It is scheduled to open in July.

The season will run through Oct. 30 and will include 11 productions and 773 performances. It is dedicated to former artistic director Jerry Turner, who died Sept. 2, 2004. Turner led the festival from 1971 to 1991.
The festival's outdoor season will open in June with Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' and 'Love's Labor's Lost' as well as 'The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus' by Christopher Marlowe.
Shakespeare's Rose theatre to rise again after centuries under London silt
British acting's aristocracy unite to resurrect Bard's first stage, immortalised on film"
SHAKESPEARE GOES TO PARIS: How the Bard Conquered France
by John Pemble

The French were so appalled by the vulgarity of Shakespeare’s plays that it took them 300 years to come near to an accurate translation. The item of Desdemona’s on which the plot of Othello hinges could not be mentioned on stage because mouchoir was too coarse a word to be uttered — or heard — in the Comédie Française. It was not until 1829 that Alfred de Vigny first risked the M-word, but that still left the question of the strawberries with which it was decorated, and fraise was considered an even lower word. The handkerchief was thus referred to as being decorated with “flowers” until well into the 20th century

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Davidson College Exhibition Showcases Royal Shakespeare Company's Collection for First Time Ever in U.S; March 7 to April 15
DAVIDSON, N.C., Feb. 16 (AScribe Newswire) -- Audiences for the Royal Shakespeare Company's upcoming performances at Davidson College will also enjoy an opportunity to see an unprecedented exhibition showing how the world-famous troupe prepares for opening night.

The RSC is shipping more than 100 concept drawings, costumes, models, paintings, and prints from its archive in Stratford, England, to Davidson for an exhibition entitled "Break Thy Leg: Art and Design from the RSC Collection."

The March 7 to April 15 show will be the first time the RSC has ever staged an exhibition of its memorabilia in the United States. Co-curators David Howells, curator of the RSC Collection, and Brad Thomas, director of Davidson's Van Every/Smith Galleries, will present a gallery talk about the show on Tuesday, March 8, at 7 p.m. in Davidson's Belk Visual Arts Center.

For more information about the talk, or the exhibit, contact Bill Giduz, director of media relations, at 704-894-2244 or


Movie sweetheart MEG RYAN will make her SHAKESPEAREAN debut on the big screen in a new movie that pokes fun at Hollywood stars who attempt to become thespians.
The WHEN HARRY MET SALLY actress will play a movie star who is cast opposite top theatrical types as the lead in a Broadway, New York, Shakespeare play, according to trade magazine HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

The WALT DISNEY film will be called THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Kevin Spacey to make Shakespeare debut

Actor Kevin Spacey is to make his UK Shakespearian debut in the autumn.

The Hollywood star, who is the artistic director of London's Old Vic will play Richard II at the London theatre. Oscar winner Spacey's first role acting was playing the messenger in Henry VI on the New York stage in 1981. Richard II will kick off the theatre's second season with Spacey at the helm, after initial productions which have been met with mixed reviews.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

REED - Patrons and Performances

Professional performers of all kinds in England and Wales toured to provincial towns, monasteries and private residences before 1642. The Records of Early English Drama project (REED) is discovering fresh evidence about medieval and renaissance entertainment for publication in volumes for all English, Scottish and Welsh counties.

The REED Patrons and Performances Web Site is designed to include a wide range of data about professional performers on tour in the provinces – their patrons, the performance venues they used and the routes they took across the kingdom.

Shakespeare Playing Cards from

  • Shakespeare Playing Cards have a different quote from Shakespeare on each card.
  • Every play by Shakespeare is quoted.
  • Quotes on all of the number cards contain a reference to that number in their quote.
  • Each of the four suits of the deck represents a different dramatic temperament. For instance, all of the heart card quotes represent themes of love and romance, diamonds: wealth, spades: intrigue and the clubs: war.
  • Shakespeare Playing Cards feature an art historical pastiche on the Aces, face cards and Jokers, with images from the old masters such as Michelangelo and Rembrandt.

Monday, February 07, 2005

After 47 years, conscience passes the test

GYPSUM, Colo. A high school graduate has confessed to cheating on an English literature test 47 years ago.

Eagle Valley High School Principal Mark Strakbein said he received a one-page, handwritten letter from a 65-year-old grandmother of five who admitted that she and a friend stole the answers to a Shakespeare test in the fall of 1957.

"I know it makes no difference now (after 47 years), except maybe this will keep some student from cheating and help them to be honest-- conscience never lets you forget--there is forgiveness with God, and I have that, but I felt I still needed to confess to the school," she wrote.

Strakbein did not release the woman's name but said he confirmed that she graduated in 1958 from Eagle County High School, which has since been consolidated into Eagle Valley High.
Scottish MPs: Shakespeare Was Wrong About Macbeth
LONDON (Reuters) - Macbeth was not the ambitious, cold-blooded murderer Shakespeare described in his play but a popular king who ruled over a peaceful land, a group of Scottish parliamentarians said Thursday.

They want to restore the reputation of the 11th century king of Scotland, who has been stained with villainy ever since Shakespeare's play was first performed 400 years ago.

'He (Macbeth) was perceived as a good king who stabilized the country and has since been maligned by Shakespeare's play,' said Scottish Member of Parliament, Alex Johnstone. "

Inmate Hal Cobb rehearsed for his role as Prospero in "The Tempest." In the documentary "Shakespeare Behind Bars," Cobb, who electrocuted his pregnant wife by throwing a hair dryer into her bath, appears tormented by his crime.
Posted by Hello

Curt Tofteland, producing director of the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, created the prison theater program. He appears in the documentary. (BY FRED HAYES)
 Posted by Hello
'Shakespeare' at Sundance

PARK CITY, Utah -- In Louisville, Derby fever means jockeying for box seats to the Oaks and the Derby. Conversations usually begin with, 'Got your Derby horse?'

At the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, festival-goers bond by standing in line and asking: 'What movies have you seen?' 'What's good?' 'Seen any stars?' And of course, 'Where's Bob?'

At Derbytime, B-list celebrities live in a rarefied atmosphere, moving in limousines and entourages.

At Sundance, the most prestigious independent film festival in the world, A-list stars can be spotted standing in line for a movie, dancing in clubs on Main Street or dining at one of Park City's restaurants, including Zoom, owned by Sundance founder Robert Redford.

Here, amid the hyperactivity of screenings, deal-making, night-clubbing and celebrity-spotting, a documentary about Kentucky prisoners who perform Shakespeare played to full houses at every screening and left audiences with a new perspective on Kentucky and the power of theater to transform human beings.
Bard's lady lovely

Out of the few scraps that history has left him, local playwright Vern Thiessen has fashioned a flesh-and-blood portrait of a fiercely independent woman. Shakespeare's Will, now running at the Citadel Theatre, is Thiessen's take on the life of the shadowy Anne Hathaway, whom Shakespeare married when he was only 18, left behind when he went to London to make his way in the theatre and retired to spend his last five or six years with in Stratford. He also, famously, left her his "second best bed'' in his will.
Fargo students have their own versions of Shakespeare

FARGO, N.D. - For Anna Pieri, William Shakespeare evokes a copper tree.

For Meena Tadros, the Elizabethan author's works are best captured in a satirical newspaper.

And for Maria Sauvageau, sketches from the Sistine Chapel add meaning to the Bard's poetry.

Teaching Shakespeare to high school students is never an easy task. Too often, students stumble over 'thee's' and 'o'ers' and puzzle over his poetic forms.

English teacher Judy Cooper says students are more afraid of Shakespeare than anything. 'They're intimidated by it,' she said."
London troupe tackling Othello

Paul McCleary says he has it 'real easy' for this week's production of 'Othello' by the Actors From the London Stage company: only two roles to play in the production.

Based at the University of Notre Dame, Actors From the London Stage performs Shakespeare's plays with casts of only five actors and with few props and without costumes or sets. Men play women, women play men, and, sometimes, an actor will converse with him- or herself as multiple characters in a scene."
Acorn dishes up blue-plate Bard in Portland Maine

The language is the thing.

Acorn Productions continues its 'Naked Shakespeare' series at the St. Lawrence Arts and Community Center in Portland by focusing all the attention on the words of playwright William Shakespeare."
Tragedy at the Manoe: Romeo and Juliet in Malta

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Text and Theatre at Stratford upon Avon
from Joanne Walen

The 2005 Shakespeare: Text and Theatre program at Stratford upon Avon is scheduled for Monday, July 4 to Saturday, July 9, 2005 (arrive Sunday, July 3, depart July 9 in the afternoon). I am "guesstimating" the price this year will be no more (and probably less) than last year's tariff of $1275. That price includes 6 nights' lodging in Bed and Breakfast guesthouses (including breakfast), tickets for 5 plays in Stratford, course cost, visits with RST actors, and a group cocktail hour and dinner.

The play schedule proposed is as follows (a nice mix of Shakespearean comedies, gunpowder plot plays, and a new play in The Other Place): A New Way to Please You (Middleton, Rowley, Philip Massinger), Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, The American Pilot (the new play in TOP), and Sir Thomas More (Shakespeare, Munday, Chettle). The attendance at the plays is augmented by pre-performance lectures and post-performance discussions presented by resident Shakespeare scholars. Our study of the text and performance choices is further enhanced with visits by the RSC actors who come to our group as guest speakers and talk about their roles in the plays we see.

Final cost for the program will depend on the number of participants and the current rate of exchange. There is a minimum (and maximum) of 15 required for the course to make.

If you think you might be interested in taking part in this exciting venture, or if you would like further information, please contact Joanne Walen at or at my home number 480-807-5114. I will keep you posted as the course takes shape, and you can make a final decision about attending when details are finalized.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Winter's Tale, The Watermill Theatre, Newbury

Somehow it does not matter that The Winter's Tale is more complex than any single production can fully realise. As with so much of Shakespeare, we find our breath taken away by the originality of its human relationships, its theatrical situations, its violent emotions and above all its piercing imagery, so that to return to the play in the theatre is often to feel we are experiencing it for the first time."

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Shakespeare’s Sonnets in new Finnish translation

A new Finnish translation of William Shakespeare's Sonnets appeared on Monday under the title Nautintojen ajan aarre (The name is taken from the line 'Where all the treasure of thy lusty days' in Sonnet II). The translation is the work of author and scholar Kirsti Simonsuuri, and the volume has been published by Yliopistopaino.

The process of translation took a total of around five years, but Simonsuuri had other research work and some fictional writing going on at the same time, as well as teaching duties at Helsinki University, in England, and in Holland."