with readings, explorations and productions of Hamlet, Macbeth, Richard III, The Winter's Tale, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and the 2017 Tour: Julius Caesar
For in this sleep of death what dreams may come...
My horse, my horse, my kingdom for a horse!
Richard III lived a sort of nightmare and caused nightmares for all who dared cross him. His rise to power was predicated on one death after another...most of which Shakespeare points to Richard orchestrating. Whether you find sympathy in the hand life dealt him, admiration in his steadfast climb or sheer horror in his actions, this history is far from a lesson filled with dates and is much more a lesson in how not to be a king.
Perhaps the most iconic Shakespeare play the brooding Dane meets his audience in the midst of the greatest nightmare one can imagine: his mother remarried to his uncle and a ghost of his father seeking revenge. Audience struggles with Hamlet throughout the play as he wrestles with how to act and react to the events, contemplating how to be a good son to both father and mother and how to wrestle with all the demons that he cannot escape.
Another historical tale that looks at the assassination of Julius Caesar is colored by soothsayers and ghosts. The ominous Ides of March, a nightmare for Caesar, is really only the beginning of this story. Following his death the fight to power is fought first with words and then with blood, until all the conspirators against Caesar have fallen and a triumvirate, far more corrupt than Caesar's reign would seem to have been, takes its place.
A Midsummer Night's Dream
What is more of a daydream than A Midsummer Night's Dream. Fairy folk mingling with runaway lovers, royal fighting and men turning into donkeys seem to be the rule rather than the acceptions.
The Scottish general Macbeth receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will be King. His ambitious wife spurs him to action and into a world racked with nightmares. Macbeth murders King Duncan, accuses the King's sons of the action and then takes the throne for himself. The guilt and paranoia that follow are met by his wife with anger, then guilt, then madness.
The Winter's Tale
Leontes had a wife and a child and a friendship in his kingdom of Sicilia. Due to the green eye of jealousy he manages to destroy them all. As his life crashes around him Shakespeare jumps 15 years into the future to a pastural kingdom miles away. Life is a bit day-dreamy in Bohemia's country until the rigors and court and the past catches up to characters that were all but in the dark to the nightmare Leontes created. When Leontes friends realize they must return to Sicilia to clear up confusion they are able to clear Leontes nightmares as well with the most daydream inspired endings as statues come to life and royalty are allowed to live happily ever after.
A Season of What if...
a note from the Artistic Director