The staged reading of Richard III was a great success, and I’ll have some audio posted from it later this week. First I have an announcement about two Shakepseare events happening next week.
Hudson Strode’s next Shakespeare On Film offering will be Shakespeare Behind Bars, next Monday, October 13th, at 7:30pm at the Bama Theatre. Here’s what Ben Moran has to say about the film:
Shakespeare Behind Bars, directed by Hank Rogerson and Jilann Spitzmiller (2005)
The Luther Luckett Correctional Complex might be the last place one would expect to find Shakespeare. A medium-security Kentucky prison surrounded by guard towers and razor-wire, it houses 1100 convicts, including murderers, rapists, and child molesters. Yet once a week, Curt Tofteland, program director of Shakespeare Behind Bars, visits this island of concrete and steel to help a group of inmates prepare a Shakespearean play. As part of their rehabilitative efforts, the members of this troupe spend a year with one text, rehearsing for a springtime production to be staged before their families and fellow inmates. For the year depicted in Shakespeare Behind Bars, the cast selects The Tempest as its play. Almost instantly, the prisoners begin unwittingly merging with the characters they perform. Between rehearsals, they play out their own anger and guilt, relaying, as Prospero does, their histories and the causes of their present conditions. Hal (Prospero) grapples with his troubled family history, sexuality, and role as a father, all while playing a different father on stage. Red (Miranda) initially rebels against his role; he bickers with his stage father during practice before recounting his own difficult upbringing. A beast of a man, Big G (Caliban) also must come to terms with his crime and the fact that he, like Caliban, has grown up in bondage. Each man has reason enough to remain angry at the world around him. Yet each holds onto the hope that somehow he can atone for his sins. Realizing they too are “such stuff / As dreams are made on,” bound to fade “like this insubstantial pageant,” the cast members desire the smallest of salvations. As Leonard (Antonio) articulates, they can only aspire to be remembered for something other than the worst things they have done. Staging Shakespeare does not resolve their problems, but by the time of their spring performance, the prison troupe gives us reason to believe that doing so has set their sole aspiration within reach.
On Thursday, October 16th at 7:30pm at the Paul R. Jones art gallery, IF will hold its third Shakespeare in Performance workshop, Shakespeare’s First Folio: An Actor’s Tool, led by Nic Barilar. This hour-long workshop explores the creative and interpretative hints “hidden” in Shakespeare’s First Folio and how actors use these cues in performance. The workshop will include an introductory history of the Folio (the first collection of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623), a demonstration of some of the major differences between the Folio and modern editions of the plays, and, of course, explanations regarding how to use the text in performance. The evening will conclude with a brief exercise practicing the technique.