PerformancePerformance ReviewsShakespeare Festivals

The Play’s the Thing | Speak the Speech

By May 8, 2014 No Comments


And salutations! As I recover from a massive nationwide fundraising event yesterday (Big Day of Giving), the happenings in Shakespeareland just keep happening. Summer festivals are getting underway, casts are announced and are gathering for rehearsal, curtains are going up all around. Let’s see just what’s going on!

On Stage

Do you have a favorite Cymbeline production? I do, but I’m biased because it was a staged reading that I was in…playing a boy! Votes are in for the Globe’s 2001 production and the National’s 1998 production. 

The Play's the Thing | Speak the Speech shakespeare news The Shakespeare Standard shakespeare plays list play shakespeare The play's the thing, as is said in Hamlet, and in this week's performance news we share the play happenings around the globe as penned by the Bard.

Shakespeare’s Globe 2001 production of Cymbeline. Visually simplified … Cymbeline at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2011 with, from left, Jane Arnfield, Fergus O’Donnell, Abigail Thaw, Richard Hope and Mark Rylance. Photograph: Tristram Kenton


Review: Shakespeare…at sea? Retelling the Bard’s tales with a twist can be touchy because some insist it stay true to the original, others believe it is more of a template. Griffin Theatre Arts production of What You Will…A Sea Dog’s Tale puts the Bard aboard a ship…and retells Twelfth Night with a ships crew. Aimed at young audiences, this performance was sadly underattended for such a well-done production.

Bainbridge Performing Arts has announced a partnership with the Bloedel Reserve to present an outdoor summertime performance. The BPA Shakespeare Society will perform Twelfe Night, or What You Will July 11 – 26 in the meadow at Bloedel Reserve.

Martin Freeman and Gina McKee to star in The Trafalgar Transformed season’s production of Richard III…in a distilled version (it is his second longest play after Hamlet.) To goal of the Trafalgar Transformed is to get new audiences in that wouldn’t normally go see theatre. Dr. Watson might just be the draw they need!

Casts announced for the 2014 season of the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival. This year marks the 29th anniversary of this presentation of Shakespeare in the Park. Opening on July 5 with Much Ado About Nothing and rounding it out on July 11 with Ken Ludwig’s The Three Musketeers, they will run in repertory through Aug. 3 at the William A Carroll Amphitheatre in William Land Park. Look for Bard sightings…rumor is he showed up to their big Day of Giving and was seen taking Shakespeare Selfies!

Artistic Director for Shakespeare and Company’s Tony Simotes kicks off a celebratory season in honor of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth with Shakespeare’s Will, directed by Daniela Varon and featuring Kristin Wold. This provocative one-woman play by Canadian Playwright Vern Thiessen imagines the bold and unapologetic journey of Shakespeare’s enigmatic wife, Anne Hathaway, and the couple’s unconventional courtship and marriage. Performances run in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre May 23 – August 24.

The artistic director of British physical theatre company Frantic Assembly will work his magic on a staging of Shakespeare’s The Merchant Of Venice in Singapore. Scott Graham will provide movement direction for Singapore Repertory Theatre’s Shakespeare In The Park — The Merchant Of Venicewhich is now playing at Fort Canning Park in Singapore until May 25. 

A pound of flesh? No problem: Singapore Repertory Theatre’s Shakespeare In The Park – The Merchant Of Venice, which is now playing at Fort Canning Park in Singapore stars Daniel Jenkins as Antonio and Julie Wee as Portia.

Shakespeare comes to Govanhill Baths this week as part of the Southside Fringe programme, as Hamlet is given a female touch. The Govanhill Theatre Group have broken away from the Strathclyde Theatre Group (the company behind last year’s Steaming), and first production Hamlet features an all-female cast — as well as a seal of approval from the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Titus Andronicus has long been the source of nightmares, I imagine, because of the brutality of many of it’s scenes. Scenes of rape, mutilation and murder have earned it a reputation as the Bard’s bloodiest play. And at Tuesday night’s performance at Shakepseare’s Globe of Titus Andronicus, one gruesome moment brought audience members to their knees. As Lavinia – whose tongue and hands are cut off after she is raped – appeared on stage at Shakespeare’s Globe, five people fainted, while others complained of feeling sick and fearing sleepless nights. Maybe it must be seen to be believed, but it is not for the weak of stomach.

Not Shakespeare, but certainly related – On Friday night, all three elements coincided magnificently, as the Canadian Opera Company presented an absolutely thrilling production of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux. You’ve never heard of it? Don’t feel bad. Despite being a huge success in the decade following its 1837 premiere, this glorious romantic melodrama — inspired by the relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and the Earl of Essex — largely slipped out of the popular repertoire until the 1970s, when the likes of Beverly Sills, Joan Sutherland and Renata Scotto would perform it, along with the other two “Tudor Queen” operas that Donizetti wrote during this period, Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda.

That’s it for this week. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Google +. Let us know if you are planning on seeing any of these performances. We would love to hear from you. Also, please consider making a donation to The Shakespeare Standard because without you guys we would not be able to do what we do to bring you all these awesome articles. See you all next week!

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