Staging Shakespeare

I believe one of the staging necessities of Shakespeare is that the action, metaphorically and physically, is thrust into the audience as directly as possible. Shakespeare’s plays require something more from an audience just as much as they do from an actor. We may not be able to recreate an audience of jeering fruit throwers (nor would we want to), but neither can we be content to allow you, our audience, to stay perfectly safe behind your veneer of 19th and 20th century voyeurism.

One of the reasons that I chose the Gene Frankel Theatre for our production is that it allows us to employ a deep floor thrust as well as maintaining the ‘traditional’ tiered seating of a black box theatre. Much of the audience will be on stage with us. Everyone will be able to see audience members everywhere they look, they will be unable to hide from the fact that they are, in fact, watching a performance.

This is a good thing. As Shakespeare himself wrote “think when we speak of horses that you see them.” The purpose of live theatre is not to draw you in to some elaborate show, a spectacle that transports you to another realm, but rather to draw you into a conversation and a collaboration with the playwright, the actors, the director, the production team, other audience members, and even those people unfortunate enough not to see the show.

As we get geared up to move into the space on Monday and finish blocking, it’s really wonderful to see everything coming together. Keep an eye out for more information, promotions, and teasers in the coming weeks.

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