“To Be! Shakespeare Here and Now” April 2013 E-Broadsheet

April 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm (2013 Shakespeare in the Park, As You Like It, Optimist Theatre Updates, To Be! Shakespeare Here and Now) (, , , , , , , , )

Didst thou survive “the ides of March” (Julius Caesar, Act 1, sc. 2)?  Congratulations.  Spring is here (verily) and in honor of Optimist Theatre’s upcoming Shakespeare in the Park production of AS YOU LIKE IT, may I share…

It was a lover and his lass,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o’er the green corn-field did pass,
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.
               As You Like It, Act 5, sc. 3

“To Be! Shakespeare Here and Now” News
To Be logo
To Be! Shakespeare Here and Now

“To Be!” is going international!

Mid-June to mid-July, Ron Scot Fry, our favorite Bard of Avon, will be teaching Shakespeare in Florence with FESTA Theatre.  In addition to teaching, three performances of “To Be! Shakespeare Here and Now” are on the docket.   Ron’s challenge will be adapting his show for interpreters to share with an Italian speaking audience via huge projector screens.

Two weeks will be spent teaching theatre skills in the mountains at Dynamo Camp.  Located in the midst of a World Wildlife Foundation reserve in Tuscany, Dynamo is the first camp in Italy specifically designed for children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses.

For all of us here in the USA, the bad news is that Ron won’t be available for presentations in June, but the latter half of July is wide open.  Wait a moment – that’s bad news?!  Hah!

Buon Viaggio!

Soldier’s Grove Public Library / North Crawford School
William Shakespeare celebrated the Ides of March with a visit to Soldier’s Grove, WI – pop. 595.

Soldier's Grove Public Library The Village of Soldiers Grove is nestled among the steep hills and narrow valleys of the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin near the Kickapoo River.  The business district is the first in the United States to be powered by solar energy.

Soldier’s Grove Public Library hosted a visit by William Shakespeare to North Crawford School. Over the course of two presentations at the school on Friday, March 15th, he got together with all the students at the school – K through 12.

Ron performed in the school theater, which was decked out for the play “Shakespeare in Hollywood”.  Throughout the day, he had great conversations with many of the cast members about the play they would be doing that evening.  “Shakespeare in Hollywood”, by Ken Ludwig, was originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and won the Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play of the Year.  Of course, having received guidance from Shakespeare himself, the play presented that night in Soldier’s Grove was a smash hit.

Over the years of offering “To Be! Shakespeare Here and Now” it’s been wonderful to see the close relationship that so many of our Wisconsin libraries have with the schools in their communities.  It’s often thanks to the library that Shakespeare is able to also visit the school. Great partnerships.

In Honor of April Fool’s Day
In 2010, the BBC perpetrated a delightful hoax when they ran a piece claiming that Shakespeare was Frenc  h.The story wove a convoluted chain of ‘proof’ that his mother was actually French, ergo as was BBC Will by birthright.  The radio article (link via the BBC logo) is quite a fun listen.

Sharing Resources and Inspiration:
No Fear Shakespeare
In the course of portraying William Shakespeare, Ron Fry fields numerous questions about ‘his’ works.  With Ron’s wealth of knowledge, he usually has much more ready answers than I do.  So, when I find myself needing to research a particular play, the interpretations I often end up reading are from No Fear Shakespeare.
No Fear Shakespeare
No Fear Shakespeare puts Shakespeare’s language side-by-side with a facing-page translation into modern English.

The full, original text is still there, matched with a thorough and credible modern translation.  Of course, the ideal way to understand the works is to see it performed live.  If you that opportunity isn’t available, this handy reference is one of the next best things.

Q:  What are your favorite reference materials for understanding Shakespearean text or context?

Upcoming Presentations for National Poetry Month
April is National Poetry Month so perhaps it’s not a coincNational Poetry Month posteridence that the greatest playwright and poet of all time will be visiting 20 schools and libraries for a total of 44 presentations throughout Wisconsin this month.
From Milwaukee to Cable to Eau Claire, Shakespeare is going to be racking up some major mileage on the Bard-Mobile.

To see a Google map of upcoming travels, follow the link by clicking on the National Poetry Month poster.

Shakespearean Fun
As you know, Shakespeare coined many words and phrases that are still in common use today.  A few favorite “household words” (Henry V) …

  • A laughing stock (The Merry Wives of Windsor)
  • A sorry sight (Macbeth
  • As dead as a doornail (Henry VI)
  • Eaten out of house and home (Henry V, Part 2)
  • Fair play (The Tempest)
  • I will wear my heart upon my sleeve (Othello)
  • In a pickle (The Tempest)
  • In stitches (Twelfth Night)
  • In the twinkling of an eye (The Merchant Of Venice)
  • Mum’s the word (Henry VI, Part 2)
  • Neither here nor there (Othello)
  • Send him packing (Henry IV)
  • Set your teeth on edge (Henry IV)
  • There’s method in my madness (Hamlet)
  • Too much of a good thing (As You Like It)
  • Vanish into thin air (Othello)
Until our next e-meeting, we sign off with this seasonal Shakespearean sentiment …

“O, how this spring of love resembleth
The uncertain glory of an April day;
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,
And by and by a cloud takes all away.”
          Proteus, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 1, sc. 3

Thank you for sharing the joy of the Bard of Avon.  We hope to see you soon.


Susan Scot Fry

Optimist Theatre

SSFry@OptimistTheatre.org / 262-498-5777

org / 262-498-9788

Optimist Theatre is a 501(c)3 non-profit theatre company.

“To Be! Shakespeare Here and Now” is funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin.  Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the NEH.

WHC logo


Permalink Leave a Comment