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Shakespeare takes the Stage | Speak the Speech

By September 18, 2014 No Comments

Welcome to Speak the Speech!! Summer Shakespeare is winding down in the northern hemisphere which means we should soon be seeing some bardic activity from our friends south of the equator! Let’s see what happening.

Shakespeare News

The theatre world is in mourning today following the passing of Paul Barry, co-founder of New Jersey Shakespeare Festival. He was an influential man in the world of Shakespeare theatre, completing the canon at New Jersey before stepping down in 1990. He will be missed.

Paul Barry, co-founder of New Jersey Shakespeare Festival

Vashon Theatre wins the rights to rebroadcast Royal Shakespeare Company productions on the big screen. Imagine seeing The Two Gentlemen of Verona straight from Stratford-on-Avon without leaving your home?


Turning Glass Shakespeare, the 2014–15 Master of Fine Arts (MFA) company of Mary Baldwin College’s Shakespeare and Performance graduate program, in association with the American Shakespeare Center, announces its upcoming season: William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy Twelfth Night, tragedy Romeo and Juliet and romance The Winter’s Tale and Thomas Middleton’s city comedy A Chaste Maid in Cheapside. Turning Glass Shakespeare is the third iteration of Mary Baldwin College’s MFA company model, where degree candidates come together to fill all the roles onstage and backstage of a company that they create themselves, preparing them for life in the professional world.

Looking for something to do? See Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park’s production of Macbeth at 8 tonight at the Myriad Gardens Water Stage, Reno and Robison avenues. Performances continue Sept. 18-20 and 25-27. Machbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most tightly written plays, filled with ambition, pride and greed.

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Mandee Chapman-Roach plays Lady Macbeth and David Chrzanowski plays the title role in Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park’s new production of “Macbeth.” Photo provided

Flathead Valley Community College Theatre will continue its fall season with the production of an original show by two Columbia Falls artists. Shakespeare Makes a Scene is the creation of Jeremias Johnson and Sally McBride, based on the works of William Shakespeare. The two-person show starring Johnson and McBride will take the audience on an entertaining journey of “he said-she said,” exploring several of the sometimes witty, sometimes tumultuous and very often tragic relationships of some of Shakespeare’s male and female subjects.


The English National Opera presents a gripping version of Verdi’s Otello, based on Shakespeare’s Othello. The ENO have got their autumn season off to a wonderful start with this production of one of Verdi’s most powerful operas. Turning the literary brilliance of Shakespeare into an opera is a challenging task, but Verdi’s librettist Arrigo Boito was never shy at restructuring the bard’s works.

There are no less than five productions of The Tempest this late summer in Southern California, a testament perhaps to the durable appeal of the play’s autumnal vision, all promising fresh variations — including no less than two female Prosperos. So perhaps tricking out the play’s fantastical manipulations of the elements and minds of men with stage prestidigitation (masterminded by celebrity co-director and adapter Teller) may not be such an outre innovation. Indeed, the signal honor of this potentially pandering production, for all its flashy bells and whistles, is that every inserted illusion illuminates the meaning of the play, perhaps not subtly but honestly. It provides a thoughtful reading that makes innate sense, even if it skimps on some of the complexity and depth that Shakespeare plumbs.

Nate Dendy in

Nate Dendy in “The Tempest”

Anthony and Cleopatra: UNDONE. Adapting and condensing a historical theater epic down to fit into a tiny storefront theater space sounds like a fool’s errand. But as regular Chicago theatergoers know, the Windy City’s industrious theater artists can often surprise and delight in re-imagining great works on a drastically smaller scale.Unfortunately, Skyline StageWorks’ reduction of the Bard’s work titled Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra: UNDONE at The Side Project is not one of those happy occasions. UNDONE offers some interesting staging ideas now and then, but doesn’t stand alone dramatically on its own merits.

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