At the heart of our love of Shakespeare is his uncanny ability with language and especially his facile handling of the unruly nature of words. That unruliness is what makes the performance of his plays so new, for the audience as well as for the actor. The desire to probe the intricacies of Shakespeare’s language is why we usually begin rehearsals for our Summer, Fall, and Touring seasons with a tablework period: directors leading the actors through line-by-line paraphrasing of the text, scanning all the verse, and exploring the multiple possibilities and textual variants inside the rich words of these wonderful plays.
In our lecture series, Dr. Ralph Presents, and in our workshop series, Inside Plays, we encourage audience members to come to the Playhouse before shows and to do as our actors do, to deepen their contextual understanding and to recognize the performance choices that the language offers.
“I have gained my experience.” (As You Like It)
Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen, Director of Mission and co-founder of the ASC, has been teaching Shakespeare’s plays for 30+ years. He brings his experience to bear for each of the lectures he presents before the plays in each ASC season. With an eye to the audiences he knows so well, he also selects additional lecturers as guests in this series throughout the year.
“And good plays prove the better by the help...” (As You Like It)
Attendees of our Inside Play series will engage in a deep, narrow analysis of the performance questions which arise in the production of the plays. These sessions rely on the text and context of the plays to demonstrate playing choices actors have in the preparation of the plays.
“These are complements, these are humours...” (Love’s Labours’ Lost)
Our playhouse series are a gift ASC Education takes joy in giving to the public throughout the year. Our mission unites performance and education, and these hour-long pre-show sessions take advantage of the meeting of audience and space to illuminate the plays and to engage the audience in new ways.
“Could ever hear by tale or history...” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
The history of Shakespeare’s company, the way they worked, the clues the plays provide us for recovering their staging conditions, are all tools for understanding the intricacies of the choices Shakespeare and his contemporaries made with language and stagecraft. ASC’s playhouse series studies those choices as a means of enhancing audience appreciation.
“The same tradition takes not away” (As You Like It)
Actors at the American Shakespeare Center are the most recent contributors to a long tradition of performance, a tradition that -- rather than stagnating -- creates new and exciting avenues for discovery in our renaissance space. ASC Education’s playhouse series reveal the effect of tradition on play performance and the impact of building on the practices of the past.
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The Winter's Tale
Friday, July 31, 2015, 7:30 pm
2015 SUMMER/FALL SEASON
2015 HOLIDAY SEASON
2016 ACTORS' RENAISSANCE SEASON
2016 SPRING SEASON