Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Meet Celeste!


First things first. You are probably mispronouncing Celeste's name! She is Italian to the core, and we require an Italian pronunciation! I am no good at I.P.A. so my best attempt at presenting the proper pronunciation of Celeste's name would be:

che - LES - tay

So, now you're in the know. You may remember Celeste from last summer's productions in which she played Jaques in As You Like It and Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, as well as several roles in Macbeth. I particularly loved her portrayal of Fleance. Adorable. In addition to Ce's classical chops, she is also an incredibly talented commedia performer. I had the good fortune to work with Celeste last summer just before heading up to the Adirondacks. We performed with Hyperion Theatre Project's fourth annual Manhattanpotamia show, The Trek Down Columbina's Treasure Trail -- and I believe that Celeste has performed in each and every one of the Manhattanpotamia incarnations over the last several years. She is pretty hilarious!

I know Celeste is excited to be performing one of her dream roles this summer: the Prince of Morocco in The Merchant of Venice. This is not to be missed! I am also really looking forward to her portrayal of Helena. This is a character so often played over-the-top, as a goofball, but I know Celeste is going to bring a sensitive and even tragic touch to this role and truly bring her alive for our lucky Adirondack audiences. We are thrilled to have her back this season! And I know she will be ready to relax by Schroon Lake after a month-long tour of Hyperion's A Midsummer Night's Dream in Italy. Welcome back, Celeste!

Fun fact: Celeste is a certified sommelier.


Celeste Moratti
(MID: Helena; VEN: Morocco, Balthasar, Salerio; KIDS: TBA)

Stage: Celeste in Crazy Sound, Antonio in Days of Antonio, and Roica in Boing Boing Boing Against the Wall (La MaMa Etc, NYC); Elena in The Theory of Color (Medicine Show Theatre, NYC); The Woman in Night Lights (Public Theatre, Cleveland OH), the Woman in Jean Cocteau’s The Human Voice (Inverted Foot Stage, NYC), title role in Euripides’ Medea, and Dario D’ambrosi’s Angelina (Teatro Quirino, Rome IT), Wife in Edmond, Emilia in Othello (Teatro Primostudio, Milan IT), Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hyperion Theatre Project, NY and Italian tour), Jacques in As You Like It, Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet and Lenox/Fleance in Macbeth (Adirondack Shakespeare Company), Ensemble in Red Noir (The Living Theatre, NYC), The Angel in Angels in AmericaPerestrojka, Elmire in Tartuffe, Simonne Evrard in Marat-Sade (Stella Adler Studios, NYC). Film: Ariel in My Mother’s Fairy Tales, Antonio in Il Bambino Gallo, Bianka Yonak in Fight the Panda Syndicate. Member of The Living Theatre, Hyperion Theatre Project, Teatro Patologico and proud member of Adirondack Shakespeare Company!

Some fond memories from Summer 2010, our inaugural season:


Jaques in As You Like it

Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet

Lennox in Macbeth

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Meet Lindsay!

This is Lindsay's first time working with ADK Shakes. Patrick and I have noticed that during the audition process, you sometimes just get a feeling about someone. Even from just their headshot and resume over email or online casting submission. Lindsay was one of those feelings -- for both of us. Of course, her headshot is gorgeous. But whose isn't? So it wasn't just the headshot.

That feeling continued to haunt me after her audition. She came into the audition room and was just enveloped in warmth. I like to scare (scare? weird out? baffle? impress?) our actors by greeting them by name as they come into the room. I wasn't bad either. I think I got about 70% of them! Most casting directors (in my experience anyway) don't do that, and it seemed to take some people aback. But Lindsay just took it all in stride, turned in a stellar audition, was warm and open and friendly to every single person in the room. Months later, she came to volunteer at the Bookend Project, and she was just the same warm and wonderful person. I knew my gut was right, and I just had to work with this person.

So here we are! In many ways, personality and integrity are just as important as skill and talent in the casting process. The summer season is not just a weekend-long commitment, as other RAW projects are. We'll be working closely for weeks on end and driving each other up the wall. It's important to have some sunshine in the group. Meet our sunshine, Lindsay!

Lindsay Bartlette Allen
LINDSAY BARTLETTE ALLEN
(MID: Titania, Philostrate; VEN: Nerissa, Salarino; KIDS: TBA)


Lindsay recently moved to NYC after graduating from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Theatre Performance. Favorite university roles include Lydia Languish in The Rivals and Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. As a member of the Theatre UAB Touring Ensemble in Women of Shakespeare, Lindsay performed scenes as Olivia from Twelfth Night, Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing, and Julia from Two Gentlemen of Verona in public and private schools across Alabama and neighboring states. New York credits include Snapshot with Adam Roebuck Productions and Dorothy in Somewhere: An Alternate Ending to the Wizard of Oz, which performed at the Strawberry One-Act Festival in Chelsea. Lindsay was also a member of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Acting Apprentice Company in 2009 where she played Dionyza in Pericles: Prince of Tyre and acted in the theater's mainstage production of The Tempest.

Adopt Lindsay and show your support for her Adirondack debut! Or you can adopt Lindsay and the whole fairy contingent.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meet Bennett!

Ben and I connected in the most bizarre small-world ways this fall. He was guest-blogging for my professor Steve Mentz's blog. For my Introduction to the Profession class, our touchstone text was The Tempest, and Ben was dramaturging for a three-person production of the play in San Francisco with Cutting Ball. We began emailing and discussing my proposal for the Bookend Project, a dual production of Titus Andronicus and The Tempest.

I soon found out that Ben worked as an actor, as well as dramaturg, playwright, director, teacher, and he was interested in submitting a video audition for ADK Shakes's summer season. And despite the fact that Ben lived across the country, we also had quite a few mutual colleagues! It really is a small, theatre world: "But how do you know these people?" Ben's audition video blew us away, and I also had the opportunity to meet him in person on a short NYC visit in the fall. He is just all-around terrific: a brilliant guy, a talented actor, and he has superb comic timing. We are looking forward to working with him this summer, and we can't wait for you to meet him too. I bet you even have some mutual friends.

BENNETT FISHER
Bennett Fisher
(MID: Theseus, Moth; VEN: Antonio, Launcelot Gobbo, Tubal; KIDS: TBA)

Bennett Fisher is a San Francisco-based playwright, director, and actor. He has performed with San Francisco Theater Pub (Henry IV Parts I and II), Marin Shakespeare Company (Antony and Cleopatra), Crowded Fire (The Lysistrata Project), the Pear Ave Theater (Pick Up Ax), Stanford Summer Theater (Elektra), AtmosTheatre (The Frogs), and Brava Women's Theatre (Sincerity Forever), among others. Directing credits include Audience and Ubu Roi for San Francisco Theater Pub and the upcoming world premier of Susan Sobeloff's Merchants for No Nude Men. His first full-length play, Hermes, premiered in San Francisco last fall, where it was hailed as a "daring and extremely intelligent" and "a breathtaking experience in relevant, contemporary theatre" by The Huffington Post. Two more of his full-length plays - Devil of a Time and Don't Be Evil - are slated for full production in 2011-2012. His various short plays have been performed in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, and New London. He is an associate artist with AtmosTheatre and Threshold Theatre, a founding director of the San Francsico Theater Pub, and the artistic director of the Flying Island Theatre Lab, in residence at the Palo Alto Art Center.

Support Ben's cross-country P.R. with ADK Shakes this summer by adopting him! You can also keep up with him by checking out his website.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bottom Mask - Part 1

Yesterday, Patrick (ADK Shakes's Exec. Director) and I began work on the Ass Head Mask (or Bottom Mask) for this summer's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Over the last week, we purchased a whole bunch of materials: a giant block of clay, alginate, plaster of paris, plaster strips, wooden popsicle sticks, straws, raffia. Pretty hot grab-bag. The first step of the process was to take a mold of actor Tom Morin's face, who is playing Bottom this summer. Once the mold is set, we will fill it up with plaster of paris to make a positive plaster cast of Tom's face on which to build a clay version of the mask perfectly fitted for Tom. There are several steps after that as well, but I'll get to those in later posts.

Step One: Set up our living room to look like the operating room in Brazil.

Our garbage bag drop-cloths are economical.

Ready for surgery.
We also used garbage bags as smocks, since all we could find at the local A.C. Moore were child-sized smocks. Tom arrived while I was being fitted in my garbage bag. I felt like we may have frightened him.

Patrick measures the alginate while Bob Dylan plays in the background.
Our first batch of alginate hardened way too quickly. The package called for a 1:1 ratio of room temperature water and alginate powder. With 80-degree water, we should have 8 minutes before the alginate set -- but we had not even two minutes before it was completely hardened into rubber. So that batch went into the waste basket. Next time, more water and coooolder. The second batch turned out much better!

Tom being an incredibly good sport.
After we got the alginate on, Patrick began covering Tom's face with plaster strips. These act as a support structure for the alginate mold, which is pretty rubbery and mobile. We need to work pretty quickly to get all the strips on. The weight of the plaster will also help us get a better mold of Tom's face. Also, (having been through this process once myself) I'm sure Tom wants to escape from the alginate-and-plaster-craziness as soon as possible!



 Here's a look at the completed plastering:

Pretty creepy!
Poor Tom lost one of his breathing straws as the alginate dripped down his face! He had another minute or so to set while Patrick and I washed hands, preparing to remove the entire piece from Tom's face. Of course, I had to capture the moment of truth on camera:



After washing up and pulling pieces of alginate out of his hair, Tom graciously stayed to chat with us for awhile. We had a relaxing evening of Chinese food, Peter Pan, and peeking at the mold after Tom left. Next weekend, we will pour the Plaster of Paris into the mold and have a perfect replica of Tom's face to begin the clay model of the Ass Head!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lulla lulla lullaby

This afternoon Collin came by so we could go over the music he has been working on for A Midsummer Night's Dream. He's tackling two fairy songs: the first to sing Titania asleep and the second to bless the house of the newly married Duke Theseus. We wanted to have a fairly upbeat feel to these pieces. A little folky, a little lively, a little Dylan-esque. (That is my oh-so-technical musical skill at describing what I want the songs to feel like. Genius, right? Sure.)

So here is the sneak preview that I got today:



You spotted Snakes with double tongue,
Thorny Hedgehogs be not seen,
Newts and blind worms do no wrong,
Come not near our Fairy Queen.
Philomel with melody,
Sing in our sweet Lullaby.
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby,
Never harm, nor spell, nor charm,
Come our lovely Lady nigh,
So good night with Lullaby.
Weaving Spiders come not here,
Hence you long legg’d Spinners, hence:
Beetles black approach not near;
Worm nor Snail do no offense.
Philomel with melody,
Sing in our sweet Lullaby.
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby,
Never harm, nor spell, nor charm,
Come our lovely Lady nigh,
So good night with Lullaby.


Pippin is helping.

And, of course, when work is done, it's time to play ... WITH PIPPIN!


Meet Collin!

Collin is coming over later today to work on the music for Midsummer and Merchant. He is multi-talented. This summer, Collin is acting in three productions, composing music for two of those, and doing the fight choreography as well! The man is unstoppable. This will be my second time working with Collin. His previous work with ADK Shakes was our most recent Bookend Project, as Lucius in Titus Andronicus and Ferdinand in The Tempest. Not only does he do great work on stage, but he is just plain wonderful to have around. Anything you need, he is right there for you: carrying boxes, holding doors, jumping in on drums, ready with a hug. And he "gets it." The RAW is not a process that every actor embraces. It is fast, overwhelming, and demands every little bit of yourself that you have to give. There's no room for ego. You have to roll with every punch, and there's a lot of punches coming at you from all sides. We're throwing a lot at Collin this season, and he just says, "Sure, absolutely, what else can I do to help?"

Collin McConnell
COLLIN MCCONNELL
(MID: Demetrius; VEN: Lorenzo, Old Gobbo, Servant; KIDS: TBA; Fight Choreographer and Composer)

Collin is very excited to have had the continued opportunity to work with this wonderful company. He is also a company member of Gorilla Rep, the Educational Associate with Adaptive Arts, and an aspiring musician. Notable projects include: Macbeth (Redd Tale), Good Woman of Setzuan (Adaptive Arts), Joan of Arc and Julius Caesar (Gorilla Rep), A Scheme for Two (Theatre for the New City), The Somnambulist (Dixon Place), Gone in 60 Seconds, the International One-Minute Play Festival '07, '08, & '11 (The New Workshop Theatre at Brooklyn College), and The Magic of Mrs. Crowling (Horse Trade) - soon to be published by Original Words Publishing! Collin holds his BFA in Acting from Brooklyn College with Honors for his exploration of how to build a stronger ARtist/Audience dialog so as to encourage stronger and more immediate art. Much love and thanks to his ever-supportive family, his incredible friends, Rose, Francine, Cristina, and, of course, his amazing ADK Shakes family!

Help to support Collin in his many different roles with ADK Shakes by adopting him! If you like his acting above all else, you may adopt Demetrius as one of the Lovers in Midsummer!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Meet Lee Ann!

I have known Lee Ann for four years now. We first did a show together at Harrisburg Shakespeare Festival in 2007, their Shakespeare in the Park production of The Comedy of Errors. I remember her as a precocious high school student, great with a camera and giving her professional debut her all. We worked together the next summer too in Love's Labour's Lost, and I got to know her even better when I worked full-time at Gamut in 2008-2009. This is a very serious-minded young lady, who knows what she wants and goes for it. That's not to say that is not also a complete goof-ball, because she's that too! But what strikes me most about Lee Ann is her determination. She has grown so much over the last four years, and I am very excited about what she is bringing to our Adirondack table this summer. We are very lucky to have her interning as ASM for The Complete Works tour as well as acting in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Lee Ann will also be appearing in our original children's production, Theseus and the Minotaur, but even she doesn't know as what yet! As you can see, she will be running around doing pretty much everything this summer.

Lee Ann Hoover
LEE ANN HOOVER
(WKS: Assistant Stage Manager; MID: Peaseblossom, Starveling; KIDS: TBA)


Lee Ann is tickled pink to be interning with the Adirondack Shakespeare Company for the upcoming season. Previous credits include: Love’s Labour’s Lost (Moth) and The Comedy of Errors (Servant) at the Harrisburg Shakespeare Festival; Twelfth Night (Malvolio) and As You Like It (Audrey) at Drew University; and A Christmas Story (Ms. Shields) at Camp Hill High School, for which she won an Apollo Award for Best Supporting Actress. Lee Ann is also the Artistic Director and co-founder of Stratford-upon-Awesome, a Shakespeare summer camp for youth in the Harrisburg area. She is halfway through her undergraduate education at Drew University, where she is a Theater and Spanish double major and an Art History minor. Lee Ann will be spending this upcoming fall studying in London, spending some of her time taking Shakespeare acting classes at the London Dramatic Academy.


To keep Lee Ann sane this year, adopt her! Or you can support Lee Ann's ADK Shakes acting debut as Peaseblossom and Starveling by adopting either the Fairies or the Mechanicals. Welcome aboard, Lee Ann!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Meet Tom!

I am really looking forward to working with Tom. From moment one when he walked into the audition room, this guy was smiling, relaxed, and absolutely hilarious. One of my favorite things about doing a season full of comedies is that the auditions were so. much. fun. We had group after group reading terrific, funny scenes -- and Tom's group in particular had us nearly falling over with laughter. So get ready to laugh your faces off this summer: Tom is playing Bottom (one of the roles to have) in A Midsummer Night's Dream and the "Daniel" track of roles in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). I just know we're gonna love having him around this summer.

Expect a follow-up post this weekend, as we embark on the construction of the Ass Head. Tom will be joining me and Patrick, putting himself in our hands to let us take a crazy cast of his face. We'll then construct the mask to fit him perfectly for his fairy transformation in the forest. I will post next week with the beginning of this process in a series of posts on Creating the Ass Head. For supporters of ADK Shakes, we are planning a Queen's Tea Season Benefit in early July, and we will be silent-auctioning off a replica of the Bottom Mask. Cool, right?

Tom Morin
TOM MORIN
(MID: Bottom; WKS: Tom, or the "Daniel" track)

Tom is excited to be a part of ADK Shakes's 2011 Summer Season! New York Credits: Isle of Shoals; Lucky in Bryan Williams's Lighthouse; MadCAP CollecTIVE (Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night). Other professional credits: Victory Gardens Theater (workshop reading of Dana Lynn Formby's The Small of Her Back); Monomoy Theatre (Master Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Ottavio in Scapino!, and Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls), and Hackmatack Playhouse (Simon Stimson in Our Town, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh in Anything Goes! and Neville in The Mystery of Edwin Drood). Film: Wiggah (Best Comedy, American National Film Festival).  Selected M.F.A. Credits: King Ferdinand in Love's Labour's Lost, Lenny in Marisol, Old Man in The Chairs. Training: B.A. in Theatre and Political Science, College of the Holy Cross; M.F.A. in Acting, Ohio University. For more information, please visit http://trmorin.weebly.com.

If you would like to support Tom's work with ADK Shakes this summer, please consider adopting him or his sure-to-be brilliant Bottom in Midsummer!

Share this blog post with your friends! Or follow via email, Google Reader, or Networked Blogs. I am a total nerd and *love* seeing the Followers numbers go up. Thank you for your virtual support, and feel free to send comments of what you'd like to know more about as we progress through our summer preparation.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Meet Ross!

Ross Hamman
We loved working with Ross during the Bookend Project this past spring. He is always willing to jump in and lend a hand with whatever needs doing -- which is pretty much the best attitude you can get in the RAW process. In addition to his wonderful acting abilities, he also plays the didgeridoo (which we think is so cool) and has just about the sweetest mom in the world (several moms compete for this title at ADK Shakes).


ROSS HAMMAN
(MID: Snug, Cobweb; WKS: Ross, or the "Adam" track)

Ross moved to NYC four years ago and has been performing onstage for ten years. He studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and The Michael Howard Studios, as well as workshops at LAMDA with John Barton and Brian Stirner. He is incredibly excited to be performing again with the Adirondack Shakespeare Company in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and A Midsummer Night's Dream!!! Selected NY Theatre: Antonio in The Tempest (ADK Shakes), Marcus in Titus Andronicus (ADK Shakes), Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors (Michael Howard Studios), Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing (Oxford Shakespeare Co.), Oliver in As You Like It (Sink or Swim Rep), Thanks for Traveling (CMT Productions), Etch-a-Sketch Comedy Group (Comix Comedy Club).

If Ross is your season favorite, you can adopt him here. Or support his bashful lion by adopting all the mechanicals in A Midsummer Night's Dream!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Meet Lesley!

Meet the 2011 Summer Festival Company! I am excited to begin this series of posts to introduce you to our company. This is an extraordinary group of actors, and I just know you're going to love them. There will be thirteen actors involved this summer, one stage manager, and one fabulous intern working on a total of four productions, which run over a period of five weeks.

Our key for the summer production titles is:
A Midsummer Night's Dream = MID
The Merchant of Venice = VEN
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) = WKS
Theseus and the Minotaur = KIDS


Lesley Berkowitz (MID: Puck, Hippolyta; WKS: "Jess")
LESLEY BERKOWITZ
(MID: Puck, Hippolyta; WKS: Lesley, or the "Jess" track)
Lesley is pleased as punch to be returning to Schroon Lake this season. With ADK Shakes, Lesley has performed in 3 Henry VI (Warwick), As You Like It (Touchstone), Romeo and Juliet (Tybalt), and Macbeth (Malcolm). She received her BA from Muhlenberg College and has a certificate in Physical Theatre from Dell'Arte International. This past year, Lesley has created pieces in Cedar Falls, Iowa; Portland, Oregon; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Denver, Colorado ranging from puppet plays, performance art, and traditional staged works. Favorites include the Narrator in Robin Hood at Northwest Children's Theatre Company, Adolf in an all-female production of Strindberg's Creditors, Bob Acres in a drag production of The Rivals with To The Wall Productions, the Boy in Grotowski inspired by Grimm with Vagabond Acting Troupe, and Chicklet in Psycho Beach Party.

If you love Lesley as much as we do, you can adopt her this season! Or you can also adopt her mischievous character, Puck and all the fairies of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Lesley Berkowitz as Tybalt, Romeo and Juliet (2010)
Lesley Berkowitz as Simon Catling, Romeo and Juliet (2010

Lesley Berkowitz as Touchstone, As You Like It (2010)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Semester Reflections

Semester Spring 2011 has come to an eventful close. Yesterday felt like one big sigh of relief. I turned in the last of three final papers. In the last week, I wrote over 50 pages on "Sybil Vane and Aesthetic Self-Destruction in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray," "The Fluidity of Associations Within and Across Joyce's Ulysses and the Fellow who Writes Like Synge's Hamlet," and "Kingship, Kinship, and Otherness in the Alliterative Morte Arthure." Up next, I have a few weeks to finalize my article for publication (AAAHHH!!!) and then I can focus full-time on ADK Shakes stuff for this summer and for our 2012 season. Yep, already.

Before moving on to projects which have been sitting on the back burner, I want to take a little time to reflect on this year. My first academic year since 2003-2004. The intervening years went so quickly, and it felt surprisingly comfortable to get back into the swing of homework, reading, response papers, seminar papers. Of course, it was just a lot more of everything than in undergrad. But I flatter myself that I handled everything pretty gracefully. (I'm pretty sure that my karmic lesson this time around is grace.) Here's a recap of some of the things I've done in my first year as a Doctoral Fellow in English:

  • started this blog
  • researched the nature of Authenticity
  • wrote a 28-page seminar paper on "The Economics of Language in Titus Andronicus and The Tempest"
  • compiled this website outlining my work on The Bookend Project
  • read five of George Eliot's novels
  • opened my mind about hegemony
  • presented with an amazing panel on Digital Literacy at the NEWCA conference at Southern New Hampshire University
  • compiled scripts for Titus Andronicus and The Tempest
  • directed a dual RAW production of Titus Andronicus and The Tempest, my very first experience as director.
  • logged many hours at a terrific Writing Center as a one-on-one Writing Consultant
  • had an article accepted for publication
  • presented one of my George Eliot papers on "Speaking with Dorothea's Voice: Languages of Art, Architecture, and Textuality in George Eliot's Middlemarch" at the St. John's Graduate Conference
  • had my ass kicked reading James Joyce's Ulysses, an incredibly humbling experience
  • solidified my love for the nineteenth-century British novel
  • got sick of the weight I'd gained over the last few years and lost 14.5 pounds in the spring semester
Some totals which blow my mind:
  • Number of books read: 31
  • Number of pages read: I can't bring myself to actually figure this out, but I will estimate this figure at over 8,000 -- between novels, books on theory, secondary readings for class, and additional research for papers. Maybe I'll actually figure this out at some point and update.
  • Number of pages written: 182 
  • Estimated ounces of coffee consumed: 1,450
Many thanks to my fellow students, inspiring professors, and colleagues at the Writing Center for welcoming me into the St. John's community this year. I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to work with you. Although I am really ready for a break right now, I know by the time the fall semester begins, it will feel too long to have been away.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Oh Rose of May

On the ADK Shakes Facebook page, I recently posed two questions to our friends. What are your top five favorite plays by Shakespeare? and What would your top five greatest Shakespeare roles be? Perhaps it is not too surprising that the winner of both of these polls was Hamlet. I won't lie; he was in both of my top fives, too.


I've been thinking about Hamlet a bunch lately, and I suspect I'll be thinking about it all today. I am writing a paper for my Epic & Allegory class on Stephen Dedalus's "Hamlet Theory." Today is going to be my big Ulysses day, but let's face it, I will be thinking more about Hamlet. I just like it better. But with Hamlet so much on the brain and it being the first of May (how did that happen?), I wanted to share one of my favorite moments in the play. And I want to share both the modern type setting and then the First Folio setting:


O heat, dry up my brains! tears seven times salt,
Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!
By heaven, thy madness shall be paid by weight,
Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May!
Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!
O heavens! is't possible, a young maid's wits
Should be as mortal as an old man's life?
Nature is fine in love, and where 'tis fine,
It sends some precious instance of itself
After the thing it loves.

Oh heate drie vp my Braines, teares seuen times salt,
Burne out the Sence and Vertue of mine eye.
 By Heauen, thy madnesse shall be payed by waight, 
Till our Scale turnes the beame. Oh Rose of May, 
Deere Maid, kinde Sister, sweet Ophelia: 
Oh Heauens, is't possible, a yong Maids wits, 
Should be as mortall as an old mans life? 
Nature is fine in Loue, and where 'tis fine, 
It sends some precious instance of it selfe 
After the thing it loues. 
When we compile scripts for ADK Shakes production, we work primarily from the First Folio and not from modern editions. For one thing, I hate exclamation points. They bug me. When you use five of them in six lines, they seem to lose their punch. Exclamation points do appear in the First Folio, but not nearly so often as they do in modern texts. When I do see one, boy is it gutting. As an actor, I love using the punctuation as a guide, and the FF gives me more food for thought. We also preserve the capitalizations in our scripts. Sometimes the word "Love" is capitalized, sometimes not. I find it helpful to think about those choices and emphases. We do update the spelling (u vs. v, for example) to make it easier on our actors. And we will often make choices between Quarto and Folio settings where variations occur. Our scripts basically take an awfully long time to put together ... So: one more time with this passage. Here is what it would look like in an ADK Shakes format:
Oh heat dry up my Brains, tears seven times salt, 
Burn out the Sense and Virtue of mine eye. 
By Heaven, thy madness shall be paid by weight, 
Till our Scale turns the beam. Oh Rose of May, 
Dear Maid, kind Sister, sweet Ophelia:  
Oh Heavens, is't possible, a young Maid's wits, 
Should be as mortal as an old man's life? 
Nature is fine in Love, and where 'tis fine, 
It sends some precious instance of it self 
After the thing it loves.


I want to end with a shameless plug for two of our wonderful company members, Aaron White and Christine Demuth. Last summer, Aaron headlined as Romeo with us and Christine played Lady Macbeth. I wish I had some video to post of these performances, but I do have these photos, which absolutely do not do them justice:

Aaron White as Romeo, Laura Montes as Juliet
Christine Demuth as Lady Macbeth 
I am not a gusher. I have the most exacting, obnoxiously high standards when it comes to theatre, so it's a big deal when I tell you: These two actors are phenomenal, and have performed some of the most moving, genuine, incredible moments of theatre I have seen. Ever. And I have seen a lot of theatre. If you are anywhere in the vicinity of Williamsburg, VA this summer, you will not want to miss Aaron White as Hamlet and Christine Demuth as Ophelia at the Virginia Shakespeare Festival. They will be incredible. If you're not in the vicinity of Williamsburg, I promise you they will be worth the trip.
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