Othello tonight!

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

Othello_playbill

Medieval Medley

Posted: September 19, 2018 by nrhelms in Audio, Performance, Staged Reading
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Last week’s Medieval Medley was a delight! We packed out Gorgas 205 with an audience of nearly eighty. I can’t decide whether my favorite moment was Steve Burch spouting ‘LATIN!’ or Mark Cobb making out with pots and pans. If you missed the event (or would like to relive it), check out the media below: the program, production photos, and audio from the event. (Listen with care: the audio quality is not the best.)

 

 

IF Fall 2018, Medieval Medley final

Medieval Medley Program

IF Fall 2018

Posted: September 2, 2018 by nrhelms in Announcements, Performance, Staged Reading
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IF Fall 2018

Improbable Fictions is hosting three events this fall:

· Wednesday, Sep 12, 7:30 pm, Medieval Medley, a staged reading of several Medieval plays, including works from Hrotsvitha and the Chester Cycle, at 205 Gorgas Library

· Wednesday, Oct 17, 7:30 pm, a staged reading of Shakespeare’s Othello at the Tuscaloosa Cultural Arts Center (http://cac.tuscarts.org/contactus.php)

· Friday, November 2, 5:00 pm, Improbable Fictions will present an array of American Literature readings as part of First Friday Art Walk in Downtown Tuscaloosa and the Southern Literary Trail’s Exhibit of the Steve Soboroff Typewriter Collection. On display will be George Bernard Shaw’s typewriter along with others used by Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, Gore Vidal, Ray Bradbury, Tom Hanks, Maya Angelou, and John Lennon. The readings and exhibit will be at the Tuscaloosa Cultural Arts Center (http://cac.tuscarts.org/contactus.php).

As always, if you’re interested in getting involved, leave a comment or email me at nrhelms@ua.edu!

BINGO

Posted: April 16, 2018 by nrhelms in Shakespeare, Staged Reading
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This Thursday!

bondsbingofinal

All Things York

Posted: April 9, 2018 by nrhelms in Staged Reading
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Below you’ll find Cordelia Ross’ introduction to Saturday’s reading of two York Corpus Cristi Plays, along with photos from the production courtesy of Michelle Dowd, the director of the Hudson Strode Program. Special thanks go to Dr. Chester N. Scoville and Dr. Kimberley M. Yates, who adapted the texts we performed.

(Also, if you’re wondering why the photos all look a bit purple, it’s the lighting at First Christian Church in Tuscaloosa!)


Good morning.  I’m Cordelia Ross, an instructor at the University of Alabama. Welcome to the Improbable Fictions staged reading of two York Corpus Cristi plays “The Resurrection and Christ’s Appearance to Mary Magdalen.”  Improbable Fictions is a project of the Hudson-Strode Program in Renaissance Studies, Department of English at the University of Alabama. Its mission is to present staged readings of plays to make them more accessible to students and to the community. Although Improbable Fictions principally performs works of Shakespeare, their work has ranged from modern adaptations to ancient Greek tragedies. A staged reading means that the actors have rehearsed a limited number of times and will be performing with scripts in hand. “The Resurrection” and “Christ’s Appearance to Mary Magdalen” are medieval dramas that would have been performed by a local guild on a traveling wagon that went to designated spots in town. Guilds took great pride in their productions and were carefully regulated in when and where they could perform. Each performance had a designated feast day when it should be performed, and the town leaders would choose locations around town for the carts to go for their performance. They even levied rather steep fines when guilds disregarded these regulations. The “Resurrection Play” and “Christ’s Appearance” were the domain of the carpenter’s and winedrawer’s guilds. A winedrawer worked in a vineyard and acted as professional tasters.

Like other medieval dramas, “The Resurrection Play,” and “Christ’s Appearance to Mary Magdalene” dramatizes a particular Christian narrative: in this case, two, Christ’s resurrection and his appearance to Mary Magdalene. Like many medieval dramas, the plays contain a bit of humor that in some ways pokes fun at other guilds. In the first play, we see the soldiers panic when Christ’s body disappears and come up with a rather ridiculous explanation to avoid discipline. Despite the humor we also see a careful reflection of one of the most important holy days of year, Easter. Today’s performers are a combination of members of Tuscaloosa’s Shakespeare troupe, The Rude Mechanicals, and students and faculty from the University of Alabama. We hope you enjoy the plays as much as we do.


Medieval-Mystery-Plays-image

The spring rushes on apace, and Improbable Fictions has two Shakespeare-adjacent offerings for you in April:

First, on Saturday, April 7th at 1:00 pm, Improbable Fictions will present a staged reading of “The Resurrection Play” from the medieval York Cycle of plays. Directed by Nic Helms, dramaturged by Cordelia Ross, and hosted by First Christian Church of Tuscaloosa. This short play will be performed with commentary by Cordelia Ross and Reverend Tim Trussell-Smith.

Second, on Thursday, April 19th at 7:30 pm, at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center, Improbable Fictions will present a staged reading of Edward Bond’s Bingo (Scenes of Money and Death), a 1973 play about Shakespeare’s final years: retired in Stratford, unable to connect with his family and community, burned out by the inhumanity he witnessed daily in London and now back home, Shakespeare ponders his past and present, only to keep asking, “Was anything done?” Written by the acclaimed playwright Edward Bond (Saved, The Sea, Lear), this is a remarkably insightful look at our greatest writer. Directed by Steve Burch.

Both events are free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies.

Today I have audio for you from our two most recent performances: January’s Measure for Measure, directed by Mark Hulse, and February’s Henry IV part 2, directed by Richard LeComte.

Measure for Measure

Henry IV part 2