Fall Shakes Events, 2014

There’s an abundance of Shakespeare in Tuscaloosa this fall! Here are some of the offerings.



This fall, Improbable Fictions will be hosting a series of one-hour workshops on Shakespeare in performance. Our first event will be this coming Thursday, September 11th at 7:30, when Mark Hughes Cobb will lead a workshop entitled “Rude Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing and Outdoor Performance.” Mark will discuss the history of the Rude Mechanicals, a Tuscaloosa Shakespeare troupe, and will break down key skills actors and directors use when preparing Shakespeare’s plays for a contemporary outdoor setting. Audience participation will be encouraged.

Later workshops include: September 25th: An Introduction to Shakespearean Acting, led by Prof. Seth Panitch; October 16th: First Folio Techniques, led by Nic Barilar; and October 23rd: Speak the Speech, led by Prof. Steve Burch.

All workshops will be held downtown at the Paul R. Jones Art Gallery, 2308 6th Street, Tuscaloosa at 7:30pm each evening. These events are free and open to the public, and are sponsored by the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama.


Shakespeare Film Posters jpg

This year the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies begins a Shakespeare on Film series at the Bama Theatre in downtown Tuscaloosa. All films are free and open to the public. We’ve scheduled a range of films, some you’ve no doubt seen and loved, others you’ve not. We offer a teen Taming in Ten Things About You, which stars Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt and we offer an African American Taming in Deliver Us From Eva! We offer the unnerving noir of The Bad Sleep Well, in which a young Japanese executive tracks down his father’s killer; we balance that Hamlet with To Be or Not to Be, a serious comedy starring Jack Benny and Carole Lombard, shot during World War II. We offer song and dance in West Side Story and Love’s Labor’s Lost. We offer Robby the Robot and film’s first $1,000,000 budget in Forbidden Planet. Inspiration is offered for a lot less; in Shakespeare Behind Bars, one can appreciate the efforts of theater professionals working with inmates as they try to change their lives. Please enjoy for the first time or again! 

Here is the line-up:

* September 15, 2014: Strode Film SeriesTen Things I Hate About You
* October 13, 2014: Strode Film Series – Shakespeare Behind Bars
* November 4, 2014: Strode Film Series – The Bad Sleep Well
* December 16, 2014: Strode Film Series – To Be Or Not to Be
* January 19, 2015: Strode Film Series – West Side Story
* February 16, 2015: Strode Film Series – Deliver Us From Eva
* March 11, 2015: Strode Film Series – Forbidden Planet
* April 27, 2015: Strode Film Series – Love’s Labour’s Lost

All films start at 7:30pm, and are free and open to the public.

Staged Readings:

Improbable Fictions will present two staged readings this semester: Richard III on Wed, Oct 1st, directed by Nic Helms, and As You Like It on Thurs. Dec 4th, directed by Deborah Parker.  Both staged readings will be held in the Dinah Washington black box theatre at the Tuscaloosa Cultural Arts Center. Shows start at 7:30pm, with pre-show music at 7:00pm. Free and open to the public.

On Stage:

The University of Alabama’s Department of Theatre and Dance presents Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, adapted and directed by Seth Panitch, from November 18-23. The play is set in 1920s New Orleans, and will involve elements of jazz and voodoo. Tickets can be purchased online or at UATD’s box office on campus.

A Mid-October Night’s Dream

Demi-gods, fairies, kings and lovers from all those categories and more mingle, dance, fight, enchant and fall witlessly love in the Improbable Fictions’ staged reading of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Two performances will be given, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20 in the Bama Theatre’s Greensboro Room, and at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21 in the courtyard at Kentuck, 503 Main Avenue. The Friday performance will move indoors to the Kentuck Annex in case of inclement weather. Both are free and open to the public, though seating is limited. Pre-show music will begin at 7 p.m. each night. Call 205-310-5287, or visit the Facebook site Improbable Fictions: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — Staged Reading, for more.  $1 donations to the Bama Theatre Restoration Fund are appreciated.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream remains one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies for numerous reasons. The thunderous relationship between jealous fairy king Oberon and his lover-queen Titania intensifies underlying tensions in the upcoming marriage of Duke Theseus, son of Poseidon and founder of Athens, to Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, a marriage forged in political necessity but seeking grounds in love. Four younger lovers interchange, magically and comically, the rude mechanicals entertain with their good hearts and somewhat weak minds, and Puck, well, Puck becomes an adjectival form.

Theseus seeks to make peace between his friend Egeus and Egeus’ daughter Hermia, who doesn’t want to marry her father’s chosen heir, Demetrius. Hermia loves Lysander; they plan to marry. Demetrius wants Hermia, very likely for the dowry, and Egeus wants his daughter to either follow his wishes, or by Athenian law, hie her to a nunnery…or to death. Knowing that his future wife Hippolyta is watching, Theseus treads softly, but sticks to the law.

In frustration and fear, Hermia and Lysander bolt into the woods, followed closely by Demetrius and Helena, Hermia’s friend who is in love with — and has been loved by — Demetrius.

The Athenian forest is the domain of wild, magical beings. Oberon and Titania, their king and queen, feud over each others’ affairs, and a child that may have resulted. Oberon enchants his sleeping beloved to fall in love with the very next thing she sees, with the help of his wild child helper Puck.

The next thing she sees is an ass, in dual meanings of the word. Bottom is the loudest of a band of bad players, rough tradesmen (or rude mechanicals) rehearsing a play for the Duke’s upcoming nuptials. Puck transforms his braying by giving him the head of a jackass. Titania, following the compulsion from the flower’s juice dropped in her eyes, falls for the ass.

Puck, as instructed by Oberon, also enchants the Athenian to fall in love with Helena — but gets the wrong young man. The two who had pursued Hermia now want nothing to do with her, and Helena finds herself with more attention than she can bear.

Eventually, all’s well — as another play said — through love and magic and best intentions, which sometimes overrule logic and the letter of the law.


Sponsored by the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies, the UA English Dept., and the UA College of Arts and Sciences