Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Meet Tara and Patrick!

So I am the last actor in the company to be introduced, but I feel strange introducing myself. I have therefore decided to introduce Patrick and myself as a team. Behold: your Executive and Artistic Directors!

Patrick and I first met in 2005 acting in back to back productions in Delaware and in Harrisburg, PA. We continued to act in the occasional show together, but by 2008, we knew it was time to begin a new venture. One of the things I found most frustrating about being an actor was being subject to someone else's ideas. (I have had the most interesting time reading about this dilemma in Simon Callow's book Being an Actor.) I fully appreciate a director's vision of a production, but no one was quite producing Shakespeare the way I wanted to perform it. So Patrick and I began our Shakespeare IN THE RAW experiment.

No more props. We used dowels -- you know those thick wooden sticks you buy at the hardware store. Those were our swords. We've progressed to daggers -- blocks of wood you'd use to stop a door, wrapped in duct tape. No more costumes. We used basic blacks as a base costume and augmented with jackets, sashes, hats, skirts, etc. No more rehearsal time. We've whittled it down to approximately 12 hours per production. Yes, that is correct. We don't have anyone holding book during the show. No one carries a script. These are all-out, uncut, full-on productions of Shakespeare by some of the finest classical actors I have ever met or seen perform. The focus is almost entirely on the text and on the verse and musicality therein. And these productions are exciting! This is the way I love to perform Shakespeare and to see Shakespeare performed.

To date, Shakespeare IN THE RAW has encompassed ten productions:

1 Henry VI
2 Henry VI
3 Henry VI
Richard III
As You Like It
Romeo and Juliet
Macbeth
Titus Andronicus
The Tempest
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)

And in just a few weeks we will open the rest of our second annual summer festival:
A Midsummer Night's Dream
The Merchant of Venice

and our very first children's show: Theseus and the Minotaur


In our non-ADK Shakes world, Patrick attends the St. John's University School of Law as a St. Thomas More Scholar. He will be entering his third and final year this fall. I also attend St. John's University and am enrolled in their Doctor of Arts (think PhD) program in the English Department. I will be entering my second year of coursework this fall. I also tutor in the Institute of Writing Studies and this year I am looking forward to working more closely with the Writing Fellows program, which involves placing undergraduate writing tutors into first year writing courses. This year at St. John's I will also be producing The Gender Project. I will leave you hanging on that one. It deserves its own post. I will tease you with the fact that it involves three productions throughout the course of the academic year.

I'm not sure when Patrick and I will get to be together on stage again, but here's a walk down memory lane of some shows we have done together over the last six years.

as Celia and Oliver in As You Like It, 2010
My back as Nurse and Patrick as Friar Lawrence
 beating up on Aaron White as Romeo.
There's not a picture of us together in this scene, but Patrick played Hecate (with Becca Stevens) and I played Witch 1 in Macbeth.


Fuzzy pic from Richard III
3 Henry VI rehearsal
The rabble about to take down Lord Say in 2 Henry VI
Patrick accompanies my beat-down of Lord Talbot
(The shot is a little stretched and grainy - sorry!)
There's a few others mixed in there too but I'm having trouble digging up some pictures. So last but certainly not least, our very first Shakespeare production together, Henry V at Harrisburg Shakespeare Festival in 2005.
Ahhh... memories.

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