Thursday, December 22, 2005

Employees Say "Hamlet" Castle Is Haunted

Copenhagen, Denmark (AHN) - Employees at the 431-year-old castle that inspired William Shakespeare's Hamlet say it is haunted.

They say that when a new restaurant opened in Kronborg castle in June, strange things began happening, said staff member Jeannett Pedersen on Wednesday.

"Windows and doors fly open, stacks of paper disappear and reappear elsewhere, and tables set themselves," she said.

Other strange happenings include gray shadows floating by, and a ghost of an old man in the kitchen. Pedersen said most of the employees have reported strange occurrences.

Even they though may be spooky, the strange entities seem to be good-natured, reports The Associated Press.

Pedersen said they have hired a spiritualist to get rid of the ghosts.

Although Shakespeare never visited the castle in Helsingoer, he used it as the setting for Hamlet after it was described to him.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

All's well for Shakespeare in Saskatoon

Saskatoon's Shakespearean festival will go ahead with a four-week season in 2006 now that organizers have conquered a debt that had threatened to end the festival.

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, the second-oldest Shakespearean festival in Canada, after the Stratford Festival, has run for 21 seasons.

Last year festival organizers faced a debt of more than $100,000, with a major sponsor pulling out and little success in fundraising. There were fears the 2005 event, which takes place in tents on a riverbank in Saskatoon, would be cancelled.

Instead, it went ahead with a shortened season and deep cuts to operating costs.

Marc von Eschen, the artistic and executive director of the festival, said the total debt is now a manageable $37,000 with the majority of that not due until 2007. He's planning a four-week season in 2006 with the possibility of a one-week extension.

Mainstage plays in 2006 include The Taming of the Shrew and Two Gentlemen of Verona, which are scheduled to run July 5 to Aug. 13.

Von Eschen said it will help encourage arts funding agencies to see the festival as a well-run operation again.

However, finances haven't improved to the point where fundraisers can be complacent, he said. Von Eschen said he's spending the winter looking for corporate donations.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Shakespeare's classic turned into dance musical in Korea

Choi Chong-ja Dance Company will present 'Winter's Tale,' a piece that combines Shakespeare with Korean sentiments and taste, from Dec. 23 to 25 at Arko Arts Theater in Seoul.

Based on Shakespeare's world-renowned 1610 classic drama of the same title, the dance musical has incorporated Korean modern dancer's own style and creativity, making it easy for the audience to plunge into the piece.

'With our own style, we have reinterpreted the original story's main theme of 'love and reconciliation' which comes as meaningful in this 'end-of-the-year' season,' said Choi, the director of the dance company.

'By transforming Korean traditional dance forms and integrating theatrical as well as musical elements, we have tried to highlight the most entertaining aspects of the original story.'

Among the cast are professional singers and the piece features various genres of music such as Korean traditional music, western music, pop songs and classical music. "

Friday, December 16, 2005

No clowning around with Shakespeare

Kenny Raskin has performed with Cirque du Soleil, originated the role of Le Fou in ”Beauty and the Beast” on Broadway, taught at Ringling Brothers Clown College and performed around the world with his own solo act. But even though he’s lived in the Boston area for the past six years, his performance in Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s ”Twelfth Night,” which opens tonight at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, will mark his legitimate stage debut here.
'Star Trek' actor to join Shakespeare troupe in fall

Patrick Stewart will take a leading role in the Royal Shakespeare Company's three-week visit to the University of Michigan next fall.

The theater troupe will perform "Antony and Cleopatra," "Julius Caesar" and "The Tempest" during its stay from Oct. 24 through Nov. 12.

New light shed on Macbeth

Contemporary optical science could have inspired a famous supernatural event in one of Shakespeare's darkest works, new research suggests.

And the bard may have used the emerging tricks with mirrors as special effects when the play hit the stage.

The research, by Australian National University Shakespeare specialist Professor Iain Wright, sheds new light on an eerie scene from Macbeth.

The scene sees Scottish general Macbeth led to his victim, King Duncan, by a floating blood-soaked dagger which points to the monarch's room, beginning Macbeth's murderous rampage in pursuit of the crown.

It is part of a host of supernatural events in a play which is heavy on apparitions as Macbeth tries to fulfil the prophecy of three witches that he will become king.

But Professor Wright's investigation points to an inspiration for the dagger that has a firmer base in reality than a predictable medieval nod to demons and the dark arts.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

North Carolina Shakespeare Festival Begins "New Era" With New Home

Greensboro, NC -- It's no Globe Theatre, but the new home of the North Carolina Shake Shakespeare Festival would be considered impressive by 16th century standards.

The company has purchased a 51,000 square foot warehouse and office complex in the western part of High Point. The former Aerochem facilities on Ward Avenue will serve as NCSF's new base of operations.

In a news release, Chairman of the Theatre's Board of Trustees Jim Morgan says their new home will be good for both the city of High Point, as well as the festival.

"Centralizing shops, offices, rehearsal halls and storage in one location will increase efficiencies greatly, further enhance the company's already high quality productions, strengthen current and help new educational programs."

Plans for the complex include renovating the warehouse portion into rehearsal halls, classrooms, shops and storage areas. The street floor of the office building will be turned into administrative office and work areas for staff and other personnel involved in the company's Outreach Education programs and productions.

The festival expects fundraising will pay the $1.5 to $1.7 million in costs associated with the project.

Festival leaders hope the facility will be operational by June so that it can begin production activity for its 30th anniversary season that opens in early September.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Royals of England: A Guide for Readers, Travelers, and Genealogists will be available through iUniverse.

Royals of England offers lively biographies of royal personages that accompany detailed accounts of geographic sites and websites. Placed in chronological order, each profile can easily be read as a self-contained narrative. With the information provided by authors Kathleen Spaltro and Noeline Bridge, you’ll be able to design a tour around a royal person of interest or search out all the royal persons associated with a certain locale. Fifty family trees, one or more for most chapters, help you identify members of different royal houses. You’ll be able to determine how the Jacobite Pretenders passed their claim to the Kings of Sardinia, or how Lettice Knollys, wife to Leicester and mother to Essex, was related to Elizabeth I. Royals of England provides a useful resource for history enthusiasts, travelers, and genealogists alike.

As a former instructor of undergraduate and graduate students who has taught Shakespeare, Kathleen Spaltro would like to point out that the book's Lancastrians and Yorkists section, following its discussions of Edward III and Richard II and preceding its chapters on Henry VII and Henry VIII, would provide the background needed for students to understand Shakespeare's English history plays. Of course, the chapters on Elizabeth I and James I also would enhance students' understanding of Shakespeare's own times.