Archive for October, 2013

Photo Courtesy of No Sweat Shakespeare

We all know about “Double, double toil and trouble” and “Something wicked this way comes.” Here’s some other quotes to get you in a spooktacular mood:

  • ‘Tis now the very witching time of night… (Hamlet)
  • Bloody thou art; bloody will be thy end (Richard III)
  • [Oh] soul-killing witches that deform the body… (The Comedy of Errors)
  • The pale-faced moon looks bloody on the earth (Richard II)
  • Our house is hell and thou, a merry devil… (The Merchant of Venice)
  • I can call spirits from the vasty deep (Henry IV, Part I)
  • I’ll never care what wickedness I do (King Lear)
  • And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets (Julius Caesar)
  • Hell is empty/And all the devils are here (The Tempest)
  • Ghosts, wandering here and there/Troop home to churchyards (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Tip:  Want to talk about the supernatural in Shakespeare in your classroom? Here’s a lesson plan on Macbeth you can use from PBS’s Shakespeare Uncovered.


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Still deciding what to be for Halloween this year?  Any of these supernatural characters would be the perfect fit…

  • Ghost (from Hamlet of course)
  • Magician (Prospero in The Tempest)
  • Witches (The Weird Sisters in Macbeth)
  • Fairies (Oberon, Titania, etc. in A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
  • Spirit (Ariel in The Tempest)
  • Hobgoblin (Puck/Robin Goodfellow in A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

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Want a low-cost alternative to all the Shakespeare on Broadway right now? Here are some unconventional takes on the Bard’s classic plays outside of Times Square:

The New York Shakespeare Exchange tackles a play that’s as good as any Breaking Bad episode.
October 15 – November 2
Hudson Guild Theater (Chelsea)

As We Like It
Messenger Theatre Company’s playful two woman adaptation of As You Like It.
October 17 – 27
IATI Theater (East Village)

DISCOUNT CODE: this is the forest of arden

Frog & Peach Theatre’s production is staged as a Scandinavian detective thriller.
October 17 – November 10
The West End Theatre (Upper West Side)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Titan Theatre Company with a twist:  the actors’ roles are selected during a random drawing at the start of every show.
October 18 – November 3
The Secret Theatre (Long Island City)

P.S.  Roundtable Member, Classical Stage Company, has extended its run of Romeo and Juliet; it’s now running until November 10th at their theater near Union Square.

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Gender Bending

“Twelfth Night” (Shakespeare’s Globe Production)      Photo credit: Geraint Lewis

Gender bending is no stranger to Shakespeare (men played both male and female parts in Elizabethan England).  The surprising thing, though, is that this trend is still contemporary:  two local productions are currently starring all male and female casts.

What do you think of single-sex stagings:  outdated practice or illuminating director’s choice?  Check out the all-male Richard III or Twelfth Night from Shakespeare’s Globe or the all-female Julius Caesar from the Donmar Warehourse and be the judge!

Learn about original stage practices used by the Globe

Read more about the single-sex Julius Caesar

Discover women as Shakespeare’s men

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Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn
Courtesy of Theater for a New Audience

Theater for a New Audience‘s Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Downtown Brooklyn is having its inaugural performance this weekend. The theater is the first major house for classical work built in New York since 1965.  Don’t miss its first Shakespeare offering:  A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Julie Taymor with original music by Elliot Goldenthal.

Theater for a New Audience is a member of this Roundtable.  To find out more about their education offerings, visit their website or contact Roundtable member, Katie Miller (TFANA’s Education Director), at kmiller@tfana.org.  

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It’s Columbus Day (aka NYC’s salute to Italian-Americans)! In celebration of the holiday, today we’re focusing on plays set all or part in Italy.  And there are a lot to choose from…

  • All’s Well that Ends Well (Florence)
  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • Coriolanus (Rome and Antium)
  • Cymbeline
  • Julius Caesar (Rome)
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • Much Ado About Nothing (Messina)
  • Othello (Venice)
  • Romeo and Juliet (Verona and Mantua)
  • The Taming of the Shrew (Padua)
  • Titus Andronicus (Rome)
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Verona, Milan and Mantua)
  • The Winter’s Tale (Sicily)

How does Shakespeare portray Italy and its inhabitants?  Does this depiction change from play to play?  Why do you think an English playwright chose to set many of his plays (a 1/3 of the canon) in Italy?

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Photo of Library (eastroom)

Mr. Morgan’s Library
(Courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum)

Local teachers at the English-Speaking Union’s Shakespeare Competition Orientation and Workshop…

  • Discovered new teaching materials with Common Core connections;
  • Got up-close-and-personal with the Morgan Library’s First Folio;
  • Brought text to life with a “punctuation walk” of Hamlet’s soliloquy;
  • Learned about the hidden treasures in Mr. Morgan’s collection;
  • Found time to rhyme by physicalizing a sonnet’s rhyme scheme.

– Learn more about the Competition in New York City.
– Read how the Competition satisfies Common Core.
– Register Your School Today.

Trivia:  These teachers now know which of Shakespeare’s plays is included in the First Folio but not listed in its table of contents?  Do you?

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