It’s that time of year when various actors’ fancies turn to Shakespeare. And the Rude Mechanicals is about to open its 17th season.

Measure for Measure poster

Our first show is very contemporary drama-comedy about power, corruption, and sexual assault, Measure for Measure, late comedy-drama of Shakespeare’s. Set in Vienna the story concerns the ruler of the city going on a vacation and putting the power of the law into the hands of Angelo, her assistant. Under the Duchess the city’s laws, especially concerning sexual activities, have not been enforced and Angelo is determined to right this wrong. However when he condemns a young man to die for impregnating his fiancée, his sister, Isabella, a novitiate at the convent, pleads with Angelo to show mercy to her brother, and Angelo gives her the price for that mercy: to give up her body in sin to Angelo. Very serious issues are brought forth, intermingled with Shakespeare’s comic fools, and his supreme language.

We will present Measure for Measure Wednesday-Saturday, May 29-June 1 down at the Park at Manderson Landing, lower level. Music begins at 7:30 and the play begins at 8pm. I have attached our poster. As before, it is FREE.

Then next month, Wednesday-Saturday June 26-29, we will bring you The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare’s early (possibly earliest) very silly and quite dizzying laugh out loud comedy of two sets of twins on a collision course, based on an earlier comedy by the Roman, Plautus.  Same times and information.

We look forward to seeing all of you in the park (Or the Allen Bales Theatre if bad weather forces us indoors).

Steve Burch
Professor, Playwriting, Theatre History
University of Alabama, Dept. of Theatre and Dance

Last night’s event was wonderfully acted and followed by a compelling discussion of the walls between us (physical and cultural). Here is a list of the scenes that were performed and some photos of the event, courtesy of MK Foster.

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We’re hoping to soon be able to offer IF’s performances in a high quality audio format, and “Early Modern Strangers” will be our first foray into that space. We’ll keep you informed as we know more.

Early Modern Strangers poster final

On April 3, 7:30 pm, at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center (620 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa), Improbable Fictions will stage a selection of readings around the theme of strangers. Pre-show music begins at 7:00 pm. As always, IF events are free and open to the public.

Our inspiration piece for this event is Shakespeare’s monologue about immigration and empathy from the many-authored play Sir Thomas More. The play has gained a lot of attention in recent years, thanks in part to Sir Ian Mckellen, and we wanted to place this powerful passage in its early modern context, staging it alongside excerpts from Antony and Cleopatra, The Merchant of Venice, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, The Tempest, and Titus Andronicus, as well as selections from medieval folklore, Mandeville,  and Brecht. Our hope is to start a conversation about what it means to be treated as a stranger in a strange land both then and now, and UA’s own Dr. Cordelia Ross will kick off a post-show Q&A with some thoughts from her own research on the subject.

We’re still gathering together readers for this event, so if you’re interested in taking part in an IF production, shoot me an email at nrhelms@ua.edu, or reach out to me on Twitter @nrhelms.

As always, IF productions are sponsored by the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies, part of The University of Alabama Dept. of English.

 

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The Strode Program is very excited to be sponsoring the Resurgens Theatre Company’s touring performance of The Changeling on Tuesday, February 26, 7:30PM, in the Allen Bales Theater here on campus.

For those of you unfamiliar with it, The Changeling is a fantastically dark, yet timely revenge tragedy that powerfully explores issues of sexual desire, betrayal, and madness.  This is a wonderful opportunity to see a professional production of a rarely performed masterpiece of the Jacobean stage right here on campus—don’t miss it!

Tickets for this event are *free* but must be reserved online through this link:  https://thechangeling2019.brownpapertickets.com

Please also feel free to spread the word to anyone who might be interested in the show!

A few notes:

  • Tickets are general admission
  • When you come to the performance, you will need to either 1) print out and present your ticket at the door OR 2) show the ticket on your phone at the door
  • Brent Griffin, Artistic Director of the Resurgens Theater Company will also be giving a public lecture prior to the performance on Tuesday, February 26 at 5PM in the Allen Bales Theatre, so please also plan to join us for that (no ticket needed for the lecture).
  • More information about the Resurgens Theatre Company can be found here: http://www.resurgenstheatre.org/About_Resurgens.html
We have an exciting slate of Strode-sponsored programs coming up this spring, compiled by program director and Hudson Strode Professor Michelle Dowd– please take note of these events and mark your calendars accordingly!   Thanks to the abundance of early modern performances and films on offer this semester, Improbable Fictions is temporarily shifting focus away from Shakespeare and toward less bardolized early modern playwrights: Margaret Cavendish, John Lyly, and Margherita Costa.
 
Sponsored Performances:
We are sponsoring three fantastic performances this spring in conjunction with EN667, The Shakespeare in Performance Practicum.  All three events are free and open to all members of the UA community.  A poster for the ASC shows is attached.  More details to follow!
  • American Shakespeare Center touring company performance of The Comedy of Errors, Friday, February 15, 7:30PM (pre-show music begins at 7:00PM).  Brock Recital Hall, Samford University, Birmingham. 
  • American Shakespeare Center touring company performance of The Winter’s Tale, Saturday, February 16, 7:30PM (pre-show music begins at 7:00PM).  Brock Recital Hall, Samford University, Birmingham. 
  • Resurgens Theatre Company touring performance of The Changeling, Tuesday, February 26, 7:30PM.  Allen Bales Theater, UA.
asc hand of time tour poster
Guest Speakers: 
We are excited to welcome the following guest speakers this spring.  All events are free and open to the public:
  • Brent Griffin, Artistic Director of the Resurgens Theater Company.  Tuesday, February 26.  Title TBA.  5PM in the Allen Bales Theatre (UA).
  • Wendy Wall (Northwestern University).  Thursday, March 28.  Title TBA.  5PM in 301 Morgan Hall.
Strode Film Series:
Please also check out the Strode Film Series schedule for the spring.  Note that some events will be held at the Bama theater, and others will be held on campus.  All shows are free and open to the public.  For more information, please visit the Film Series’ website: http://shakespearefilmseries.ua.edu/
  • Monday, January 28: Globe Production of The Duchess of Malfi.  Morgan 301, 7:30PM.
  • Monday, February 11. Warm Bodies.  Bama Theatre, 7:30PM.
  • Monday, March 25: Kozintsev’s King Lear.  Morgan 301, 7:30PM.
  • Monday, April 15:  Shakespeare in Love.  Bama Theatre, 7:30PM. 
Improbable Fictions:
Improbable Fictions is hosting several events this spring. The first three are for small groups and thus aren’t appropriate as a broad extra credit opportunity for students, but the last performance will be perfect for 200 level English courses and the like. If you’d like to participate or just come listen to the first three, please RSVP.
  • Wed, Jan 16, 6:30pm in 301 Morgan Hall, a cold reading of Margaret Cavendish’s The Convent of Pleasure, dramaturged by Chris Koester (cwkoester@ua.edu).
  • Wed, Feb 6, 6:30pm in 301 Morgan Hall, a cold reading of John Lyly’s Gallathea, dramaturged by Mark Hulse (mchulse@crimson.ua.edu). 
  • Wed, Mar 6, time TBA at the Strode House, a cold reading of Margherita Costa’s burlesque “ridiculous comedy” entitled The Buffoons (1641), translated by Jessica Goethals. The reading will be dramaturged by Deborah Parker (parkerburch@comcast.net). 
  • Wed, Apr 3, 7:30pm at the Tuscaloosa Cultural Arts Center (http://cac.tuscarts.org/contactus.php), a selection of staged readings we’re calling “Early Modern Strangers,” inspired by Shakespeare’s “The Stranger’s Case” from Sir Thomas More (check out Sir Ian McKellen’s reading). The event will include  respondents and a Q&A about immigration and crossing borders in the early modern period. Dramaturged by Nic Helms and Cordelia Ross (nrhelms@ua.edu, caross4@ua.edu).
We’ve still got room for participants for all shows, so feel free to reach out to Nic Helms (nrhelms@ua.edu) or any of our directors if you’re interested!
 
Please mark your calendars for these events, and stay tuned for additional announcements and updates!!!
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And, if you aren’t doing so already, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter: “Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies” (FB); @hudstrode (Twitter); and @improbfictions (Twitter).

Othello post mortem

Posted: October 23, 2018 by nrhelms in Uncategorized

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Our staged reading of Othello was a smashing success attended by a packed house of over 125 people. You can find pictures here, courtesy of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences. I’d also like to share with you the program from the event (Othello_playbill) and an audio recording of the reading:

[The play begins at about the 6 minute mark. The audio quality is improved this time around, though beware: applause and the guitar are coming through rather loud at the beginning and end of the recording.]

Othello tonight!

Posted: October 17, 2018 by nrhelms in Shakespeare, Staged Reading
Tags: ,

Othello_Poster

Othello_playbill