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    All's Well That Ends Well performances are free

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CSC In The Classroom

”The play’s the thing.” (Hamlet, II.2)

With every decade more and more complications are heaped onto our modern conception of Shakespeare’s works.  But it is the status of Shakespeare’s plays as plays that trumps all else.  “The play’s the thing,” says Hamlet. It is a tool: a means to an end, and that end is performance.  Performance is at the heart of every play in the Complete Works.  To pick up Hamlet without regard for its implied performative ends, is to greatly misunderstand and misuse the text.

Educational programs at Commonwealth Shakespeare Company are designed with this perspective in mind as we bring the best artists and teachers that Boston can offer to share these unique insights.

The Shake-shop

CSC’s Shake-shops are part demo, part workshop.  Students watch as a scripted rehearsal, of a Shakespeare play relevant to the classes’ course of study, unfolds onstage between two actors and a director.  As the artistic team works to bring the text into three dimensions, they are met with specific challenges that make Shakespeare…well, Shakespeare.  From text to character to visual conception, the actors struggle to find the blessing in the curse of the problem, and they rely on audience participation to help them get through the script.  

Each Shake-shop runs about 75 minutes and focuses strongly on one aspect of the text:

Shakespeare’s Verse – Meter, punctuation/phrasing & rhetorical devices in the verse.

Character in Text – How choices in motivation and relationship are inspired by the text. 

Staging Shakespeare – Thinking visually about storytelling through the concept of “blocking.” 

Ideally the student is introduced to each topic sequentially.  The progression follows a logic that might be employed in a professional theatrical rehearsal process.   The Shake-shops are designed under the premise that the most rewarding investigation of Shakespeare is one that treats the script as a tool for performance. 

Masterclasses

CSC brings renowned Boston artists to offer two-hour masterclasses on a topic directly related to Shakespeare in text and performance.  Topics include:

  • The Classical Audition

  • Classical Voice Technique

  • Stage Combat

  • Status and Comedy

  • Movement and Commedia

Residency

This year CSC is pleased to offer it’s 6-day residency: The Public Poet.  Students explore language as a means to a desired end.  They learn valuable lessons in public speaking and professional presentation while simultaneously celebrating personal and private forms of speech.

Days 1 & 2 –Look at public and personal language as distinct tools for distinct jobs.  Explore rhythm, phrasing and rhetoric.

Days 3 & 4 – Learn about the body as a tool for speech.  Lessons draw extensively from Linklater and Alexander technique. 

Days 5 & 6 – Learn active listening techniques and non value-based criticism techniques as students present speeches in front of class.

For more information, please contact Adam Sanders at asanders@commshakes.org.