I’m excited for my S15 Shakespeare class, which starts tomorrow. I threw out my tried-and-true structure for writing analytical papers and am going to try something different: writing in response to contemporary performance. All the writing assignments — three short and one long paper — will be in dialogue with contemporary performances, in most cases things we’ve seen together, but perhaps inevitably some filmed performances also. Here’s the four-pack of shows we’ll see this spring in NYC. So excited!
Titus Andronicus: by the New York Shakespeare Exchange
Tuesday Feb 3, 8:30 pm. At the HERE theater, downtown Manhattan. 145 6th Ave (1 block south of Spring)
The Winter’s Tale: at the Pearl Theater, 555 W. 42nd Street (between 10th and 11th Aves)
Cry, Trojans: by The Wooster Group (an experimental version of Troilus & Cressida). At St. Ann’s Warehouse, DUMBO, Brooklyn
Fri March 27, 8 pm. Cost TBA
Two Gentlemen of Verona: by Fiasco Theater at Theatre for a New Audience
Fri April 24 at the Tfana theatre in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
I’m especially looking forward to seeing what different kinds of writing this course will generate. At the risk of over-sharing, I’m going to send my class (via this blog post) to my 2014 year-in-reviews compilation of the performances I wrote about last year, including an earlier version of Cry, Trojans. Here’s the list with links, and a few notes to help contextualize the shows(for anyone who missed this list in early Jan):
1. Twelfth Night with Mark Rylance (1/17): An all-male cast from the UK brought this production to Broadway from the reconstructed Globe Theater.
2. Cry, Trojans by the Wooster Group (1/31): A workshop building up to the production we’ll see in March.
3. Twelfth Night by Pig Iron (2/21): A brilliant, rowdy, musical version of the play.
4. Antony & Cleopatra at the Public (3/13): An Angl0-American cast, in a show also over from London.
5. Red Velvet at St Ann’s (4/4): Not Shakespeare but about the life and performance history of Ira Aldridge, the first great African-American actor to play Shakespeare in London.
6. Lear at Tfana (4/23): The second production at their new space in Fort Greene.
7. Rumstick Road by the Wooster Group (5/2): This one’s a film, and not Shakespeare at all.
8. Macbeth with Kenneth Branagh (6/6): Staged at the Armory uptown, this was Sir Kenneth’s NYC debut, apparently. The production had been previously staged in an unconsecrated church in the north of England.
9. Antony & Cleopatra at the Globe (6/28): I saw this one in London, standing room at the Globe.
10. Two Gents and The White Devil in Stratford (8/7): The first two of the four plays I saw at the International Shakespeare Conference in Shakespeare’s hometown.
11. 2 Henry IV and Roaring Girl in Stratford (8/9): The next two at Stratford-upon-Avon.
12. Gaia Global Circus (by Bruno Latour) 9/28: Another non-Shakespeare show; interesting for the eco-minded.
13. Tempest 1 at LaMaMa (10/6): First of three productions of The Tempest in the East Village this fall.
14. The Master and Margarita at Yale Drama (10/26): A great production of the modern Russian masterwork.
15. Tempest 2 at LaMaMa (11/22): The second production was in Korean!
16. Pericles at the Public (11/26): A great traveling show, to which I brought last semester’s class.
17. Tamburlaine at Tfana (12/7): John Douglas Thompson, fresh from playing Satchmo on Broadway, conquers world.
19. Tempest 3 at LaMaMa (12/20): An Italian company combines Shakespeare with activism, sci fi, and late 20c history.