April 30, 2015
ISSUE | ENGLISH STUDIES Be the Bard I couldn't disagree more with my good friend professor Nora Johnson at Swarthmore about not requiring college English majors to take a course devoted to Shakespeare and his works ("A lack of Will: Bard rarely required on campus," April 24). As chair of La Salle University's English department, and as someone trained as a medievalist but who writes on television and film, I am hardly a hidebound defender of the canon. Begrudgingly, at La Salle, we do not require courses in Chaucer, Milton, and others, but we do in Shakespeare - because there is no match in terms of historical and global importance and influence.
August 2, 2014 |
Go big or go home. This line of thinking dominates Henry IV: Your Prince and Mine , this summer's free outdoor production by Shakespeare in Clark Park and Team Sunshine Performance Corporation. For starters, Henry IV: YPM boasts several of Philly's top professionals in a standout cast of 12, with little doubling of roles. Local musical virtuoso Alex Bechtel leads a choir of eight and composed sterling thematic music that emotionally underscores many of the intrigue- and familial-driven scenes.
February 21, 2014
WE'RE pretty sure your local pharmacy doesn't carry a card for a 450th birthday, but that doesn't mean you can't help William Shakespeare celebrate that milestone this year. Last month, the Free Library of Philadelphia began a major, yearlong observance of the Bard of Avon that will feature a multidimensional series of programs. Not surprisingly, at the center of the celebration is Ol' Will's theatrical legacy. "Ninety percent of the programs are related to his plays," said Sandy Horrocks, the library's vice president of external affairs.
February 17, 2014 |
EDISON HIGH SCHOOL senior Kiara Gil-Jimenez had no problem performing a scene from "Romeo and Juliet" in English class - despite the tricky dialogue spoken by Lord Capulet when he learns that his daughter doesn't want to marry Paris. "Thank me no thankings nor proud me no prouds, "But fettle your fine joints 'gainst Thursday next," Gil-Jimenez recited from the play during a recent class. Gil-Jimenez and her senior classmates are taking part in the "Romeo and Juliet Project," a 12-day residency hosted by Philadelphia Young Playwrights and the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre.
January 10, 2014 |
Yes, all the world's a stage, as Shakespeare noted in As You Like It, so it should be no surprise that all the men and women gathered Wednesday at the Free Library on Logan Circle were merely players. There was Will himself (also known as Brian McCann), acting no improbable fiction, but rather introducing an ambitious, year-long schedule of programs and events planned in honor of the bard's 450th birthday. "The Year of the Bard: Shakespeare at 450" has been put together by the library, the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, and other cultural organizations around the region.
August 16, 2013 |
NEAL McLAURIN remembers taking the 33 bus to the movies as a kid with his parents and seeing a man living on the street, thick with layers of clothing. He couldn't understand it. Less than two decades later, he understood all too well. McLaurin was in his 20s and homeless, sleeping at Broad and Arch streets in 2007, when a mother and her child walked by. The way the little boy looked at McLaurin is the way he had looked at the homeless man as a kid. The way the mother grabbed her son is the way his mother had grabbed him. "So, I was that man that I'd seen all those years ago and it hit me," McLaurin said.
July 26, 2013 |
If ever there was a production that illustrated just how problematic Shakespeare's "problem plays" can be, it's the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival's Measure for Measure , directed by Fontaine Syer. Syer sets the action in the Vienna of 1900, a city at the top of its cultural game, blossoming as a center of art and design, particularly art nouveau, but also in the year seeing the publication of Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams . Marla Jurglanis' costumes don't reflect art nouveau's flowing, sensuous curves, but that's not what the play's about anyway.
June 15, 2013 |
How do you go from Buffy the Vampire Slayer , Firefly , and the 2012 blockbuster The Avengers to Shakespeare ? Enthusiastically, says Joss Whedon , god of all sci-fi geeks. The Bard is the greatest teacher one could have, Whedon tells USA Today. "He speaks to you very personally," says the director of the critical hit Much Ado About Nothing , which stars Amy Acker , Alexis Denisof , and Nathan Fillion . "He says take the things you understand - the stories, the tropes, the characters - and look further.
April 2, 2013 |
IT'S TAKEN a little more than 500 years to get to the root of William Shakespeare 's personality, but it turns out he was a bastard. According to a group of academics, the Bard was more Shylock than Puck, a ruthless businessman - hoarder, moneylender, tax dodger - who grew wealthy dealing in grain during a time of famine. You thought he just wrote plays, but researchers from Aberystwyth University, in Wales, argue that we can't fully understand Shakespeare unless we study his often-overlooked business savvy.
July 28, 2012 |
The television show Game of Thrones has nothing on William Shakespeare's own game of thrones, King John . As if there weren't excitement enough in watching Europe's monarchs and royal mothers jockey for power while the Vatican pulls their strings, the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival ups the ante with a production based on the play's "original practice. " This means the company went about the show the way it's presumed its original performers would have. PSF handed its performers a script crisply edited by Patrick Mulcahy and Erin Hurley, gave them four days of rehearsal, told them to find their own costumes, figure out the lighting, make do with whatever set happened to be available (its craggy cliffs belong to The Tempest )