Tour Workshop Menu

Here is the workshop menu for the 2017/18 Wicked Folly Tour. Most of these will be offered again in 2018/19, including show-specific workshops.

“Curing the ShakesFear” SERIES

SHAKESPEARE’S STAGING CONDITIONS (Introduction to Shakespeare’s Stage)
Step into Shakespeare’s world and explore how the staging conditions he wrote for and worked in reveal insights about the plays and playing. Experience the plays in the rooms Shakespeare wrote them for and see how it changes your perspective. Topics covered include: audience contact, playing darkness and the supernatural, hiding on the early modern stage, and asides. This workshop is excellent for all class types, especially those new to the ASC’s performance practices.

SIGNALS IN SHAKESPEARE’S TEXT (Exploring Shakespeare’s Verse through Scansion)
Tear down the monolith of Shakespeare’s text and unlock the choices available for character development in verse and prose. Shakespeare’s verbal patterns make the plays more energetic, more realistic, and more emotional, both on-stage and in the classroom. You will mine the text for these clues just like Shakespeare’s actors — and ours at the American Shakespeare Center. This workshop is excellent for both Literature and Theatre students.

RHETORIC (Exploring Shakespeare’s Word Play)
If we still use 98% of the words Shakespeare’s used, then why is he sometimes hard to understand?  This workshop cracks the code by breaking down figures of speech and illuminating them as clues for character. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it — and you might start using the techniques in your own communication. This workshop is excellent for Literature and Theatre Students.

QUIPS AND WIT (Shakespeare’s connections to Rap)
What does rap have to do with Shakespeare? Most people wouldn’t say that rap is outdated or foreign, but many do make that claim when it comes to Shakespeare. Shakespeare's and rap’s playful take on wordplay introduce both fun and the opportunity to gain skill with creative and expansive language. Students in this workshop will dissect Shakespeare’s words and compare them with contemporary examples from hip-hop/rap music, in order to show that to show that Shakespeare’s rhetorical strategies have been highly valued for centuries, and still are today, as evidenced by the popularity of hip-hop and rap music today. And, this workshop will help students to see that a big part of the fun of the wordplay like Shakespeare’s and rap’s is in trying to keep up — and eventually build your own. Because we include both Renaissance and modern examples, and the effect language has one playing, this workshop is applicable in both literature and theatre classes and is suited for all ages.

EMBEDDED STAGE DIRECTIONS (Shakespeare’s Uses the Text to Direct)
Little to no rehearsal time in Shakespeare’s theatre meant he had to give actors as much information as possible in the text. This workshop invigorates words and gives them life through clues for stage movement, emotional choices, and given circumstances. See how simple choices can change the scene and create a different story. The combination of textual analysis and performance is excellent for Literature and Theatre classes.

What’s the difference between shared light and theatrical light design? Long speeches become active dialogues when an actor can talk to the audience, and in this workshop, you’ll experience the world Shakespeare and his actor created plays in as well as the techniques ASC actors engage with to make choices about when to bring the audience into the play. Using methods developed by ASC actors, you will find out how audience becomes character and character becomes intense. The combination of textual analysis and performance is excellent for Literature and Theatre classes.

Applying the principles used in the rehearsal rooms and performances spaces of the ASC, including embedded stage directions, pronoun choices, character address, and audience contact, participants will make artistic choices based on their new knowledge and direct the ASC actors in a scene from our repertory. This workshop is excellent for both English and Drama classes, best when students have taken one or more of the following: Signals in Shakespeare’s Text, Audience Address, and Embedded Stage Directions.

Play Specific SERIES

ADAPTING TEXT (Sense and Sensibility for the Stage)
The American Shakespeare Center had the privilege of working on the world premiere of Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility written by Emma Whipday. One of the most wondrous things about the process of working on this piece was getting the opportunity to work with Ms. Whipday in the rehearsal hall. In celebration of this collaborative effort, the participants will get the opportunity to concoct their own adaptation. This workshop enables participants to become playwrights as they take a brief selection from the novel and form it into their own dialogue. After performing their creations, the actors will perform Emma Whipday’s dialogue, so that the participants are able to compare their dialogue to that of the professional playwright, who took the same selection and adapted it for the ASC. With the writing and performance skills utilized throughout this workshop, the adapting text workshop is perfect for both English and Drama classes.

The workshop introduces students to the creation of special effects for the Early Modern stage using basic tools with limited technology. It also introduces the ideas behind why these special effects were used and what makes them effective both for an Early Modern audience and for theatregoers today. Looking specifically at Macbeth, the participants will watch scenes that explain the six elements utilized to create the early modern special effects. These six things include text, actors, stage, props, sound, and imagination. This is an interdisciplinary workshop suitable for all ages.

CUE SCRIPTS (The Taming of the Shrew)
When it came to memorizing dialogue, early modern actors did not receive complete copies of the play in which they were performing. Instead, players were presented only with their individual parts in the shape of cue scripts. These personalized scripts contained only one character’s complete lines, along with each line’s “cue,” a mere two or three words of the preceding speech. It was based on these last few words that an actor had to learn when to deliver his lines, a challenging exercise which required a good amount of mental dexterity. This workshop explores the fun and confusion involved with utilizing cue scripts, just as the ASC actors use in the Renaissance season. Participants will get to use a cue script from a scene from The Taming of the Shrew. This workshop also provides a taste of hand-to-hand combat as the participants learn to safely pull on another participant’s hair. This is an interdisciplinary workshop suitable for all ages and classrooms.

“Playing the Stage” SERIES

SWEET MUSIC IS SUCH ART (Music in Shakespeare)
The participants in this workshop will explore the songwriting and song placement involved in the production of plays at the American Shakespeare Center. This workshop explores the development and rehearsal process of written music in our musical pre-show and interludes, and underscoring that goes into staging. The workshop culminates with participants helping to “score” a scene or monologue using our talented musicians, to demonstrate how the right piece of music can “make or break” a scene. An interdisciplinary workshop suitable for a range of audience, no previous musical experience required.

BASIC STAGE COMBAT [Best with 16 Participants or fewer]
In this workshop, participants will examine the text and context surrounding the fights in Shakespeare’s and his contemporaries’ plays for clues regarding movement and style. Then, participants will observe our trained actor combatants perform choreographed fights and hear, from fight captains, or choreographers, the motivation behind each choice and its connection to the text of the play and the style of fighting called for in the period. Participants will practice hand-to-hand stage combat techniques, and apply the skills in a safe environment. All participants should be of high-school age or older.

Participants in this workshop will explore the research, development, and construction that goes into costuming Shakespeare’s plays during the Elizabethan period. Students will explore the use of status through costumes; how the text influences a designer; and discuss modern ‘interpretations’, color theory, and wardrobe history. The workshop culminates in students “designing” their own characters for a production. An interdisciplinary workshop suitable for a range of audiences.

If you are not able to attend one of our regularly scheduled Talk Back sessions, you can book one just for your group. Five minutes after the end of the show, several actors return to the stage to take your questions. Learn from the actors the secrets of bringing Shakespeare from the page to the stage of the Blackfriars Playhouse. Talk backs are great for all audiences.