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One of the best decisions I have ever made was to take two Shakespeare classes in college. These classes taught me so much about history, theater, writing. Plus, I read about 15 Shakespeare plays (not to mention Marlowe, Kyd, and Jonson), and developed a great love for this type of art.
Today I had the chance to see a Shakespeare performance for the first time since taking those two classes... and it was mesmerizing.
As my Professor always told us, these are plays meant to be preformed, not read in a classroom. Now I understand why. So much power resides with the actors. Tone and inflection and completely change the meaning of these witty sentences.
I always scratched my head at Shakespeare's "comedies" before, finding the plots creative, but bizarre... and not "funny," per say. Today I was laughing out loud throughout the show.
SO. Who is putting on these performances and where can you see them?
Pittsburgh's very own Unrehearsed Shakespeare Project is putting on The Taming of the Shrew, and The Tragedy of Macbeth in different parks around the city until July 22nd.
As the name would suggest, this company does not rehearse. I would call this "unique," but that is not the case. This is the way plays were originally performed, as there was never enough time for the actors to practice, and not enough full copies of the script floating around. Vocal cues were built into the writing, and each actor was given a "scroll" with only their lines and some cues.
If you want to hear more about this, I suggest reading the Unrehearsed Shakespeare Project's explanation on their site.
To help the actors, there was also a "prompter." This woman was great, helping the actors if they forgot their lines, were going too slow, or lost their place. She had a whistle she would blow it if they were in the wrong place, or if there was an outside interruption. I laughed out loud when a group of dogs started barking, and she commanded all the actors to start singing who let the dogs out.
The actors were all very talented, and truly brought they play to life (they way Shakespeare should be!)
We are very lucky to have this technique being practiced in Pittsburgh, as there are only a handful of these groups exist in the country (see: very few).
So what am I saying? DON'T MISS THESE PLAYS. THE SCHEDULE IS HERE.
AND AGAIN. You know what? I am also going to post it:
Friday 07 July: 6pm The Taming of the Shrew @ North Park, Boathouse Lawn
Saturday 08 July: 4pm The Tragedie of Macbeth @ Settlers Cabin, Tomahawk Pavilion
Sunday 09 July: 4pm The Taming of the Shrew @ Hartwood Acres, The Mansion
Monday 10 July: 6pm The Tragedie of Macbeth @ Boyce Park, Nature Center
Thursday 13 July: 6pm The Taming of the Shrew @ Schenley Plaza
Friday 14 July: 6pm The Tragedie of Macbeth @ White Oak Park, Dogwood Pavilion
Saturday 15 July: 4pm The Taming of the Shrew @ Brady's Run Park, Ice Rink Lawn
Sunday 16 July: 4pm The Tragedie of Macbeth @ Hartwood Acres, The Mansion
Monday 17 July: 6pm The Taming of the Shrew @ Harrison Hills, Ox Roast Pavilion
Thursday 20 July: 6pm The Tragedie of Macbeth @ Schenley Plaza
Friday 21 July: 6pm The Tragedie of Macbeth @ North Park, Boathouse Lawn
Saturday 22 July: 6:30 The Taming of the Shrew @ Artscape, Baltimore, MD - Theatre Project
Even if you aren't a Shakespeare fan, I bet you will enjoy the experience (and leave more interested in Shakespeare).
Guys - didn't even use my phone or take pictures. Now that says something.