Shakespeare’s American Home


>>425 YEARS AND THE AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE CENTER HAS THRILLED AUDIENCES WITH THE UNIQUE BRAND OF THEATER. BY FOLLOWING THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF RENAISSANCE THEATRICAL PRODUCTION, THE AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE CENTER HAS TAKEN THE ART OF THE LETTER BACK TO ITS ROOTS. IT HAS TAKEN THE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE AND ALLOWED AUDIENCES TO VIEW AND EXPERIENCE THE MASTERPIECES IN THEIR TRUEST AND PUREST FORM. GONE ARE THE GLITZ AND GLAMOUR OF TODAY’S MODERN THEATER. IN THEIR PLACE, ONLY THE ACTORS AND AUDIENCE AND WRITTEN WORDS OF A MASTER. FROM THEIR HUMBLE BEGINNINGS AT JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY TO THEIR DAYS AS A RAGTAG TOURING — TOURING GROUP, THE CENTER HAS CONTINUED TO GROW AND EVOLVE. TODAY THE AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE CENTER IS WIDELY REGARDED AS A MECCA FOR ALL THINGS SHAKESPEARE. THE STATELY THEATER THAT OPENED IN 2001 IS ITSELF A RE-CREATED OF SHAKESPEARE’S OWN BLACK BUYERS PLAYHOUSE. TODAY IT ATTRACTS SCHOLARS AND STUDENTS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD TO STUDY AND EXAMINE SHAKESPEARE’S WORK, HIS LIFE, AND LEGACY.>>GOOD. SWEET NURSE. WHY LOOK SO SAD?>>Q HER UP AGAIN. THAT IS ALL RIGHT. WHEN YOU KNOW SHE IS THERE, TAKE IT TO AN AUDIENCE MEMBER, BUT DON’T FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO BE EXCLUSIVE WITH THE AUDIENCE MEMBER. THEY REALLY SEE HER COME IN AND THEN TELL YOUR FRIENDS, SHE IS HERE. LEX SO I SHOULD ACTUALLY SEE HER?>>YES. HE OR SHE CAN MAKE A NOISE, BUT DON’T LET THAT BE YOU JUST HEARING AND NOT SEEING.>>WHAT COULD WE LEARN IF WE DID THIS ONE LITTLE THING? INSTEAD OF THINKING SHAKESPEARE TOTALLY AS THE GREAT POET OF ALL TIME, WHAT IF WE TOOK HIM SERIOUSLY AS A MAN OF THE THEATER? WHAT IS INSTEAD OF LOOKING DOWN ON THE THEATER BECAUSE IT DID NOT HAVE A LIGHT BOARD, A RODEWALD AND DID NOT HAVE SOME OF THOSE FANCY THINGS, WHAT IF WE THOUGHT INSTEAD THAT HE ABSOLUTELY KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING WITH THE SPACE HE HAD? WHAT IF WE DID NOT ASSUME HE WOULD PREFER TO HAVE AN AUDIENCE. WHAT IF WE ASSUMED INSTEAD HE HAD A THEATER HUE LOVED AND WANTED TO WORK WITH, AND WHAT IF WE DIRECTED HIS PLAYS WITH RESPECT FOR HIS STAGECRAFT, NOT JUST HIS WORD CRAFT?>>IN A PRODUCTION YOU USUALLY HAVE 4-5 WEEKS REHEARSAL BEFORE YOU PERFORM. IN SHAKESPEARE’S TIME, EVERYTHING WAS RATHER DIFFERENT. FOR ONE THING, THE SCHEDULE WAS VERY DIFFERENT. YOU HAD TO PUT ON A DIFFERENT PLAY EVERY DAY. IN A SEASON YOU MIGHT HAVE ABOUT 40 PLACE YOU ARE PUTTING ON, AND YOU HAVE TO ADD A NEW PLAY INTO THE REPERTOIRE EVERY 10 DAYS TO TWO WEEK.>>ROLPH: WAS A GRADUATE OF DUKE UNIVERSITY AND CAME TO THE VALLEY IN 19 73 TO TEACH ENGLISH LITERATURE AT JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY.>>I HAD THIS IDEA I WOULD DO A SEMESTER WITH AN ENGLISH COURSE BUT A REAL SEMINAR AND WHAT WOULD HENRY THE FIFTH THE PLAY THOUGH — WOULD HAVE LOOKED LIKE WITH THE LIGHTS ON, AUDIENCE IN THE THRUST, WITH THE DIRECTOR BEING AN ACTOR IN THE COMPANY?>>IS SHAKESPEARE IS THE GENIUS WE HAVE BEEN TOLD HE IS FROM DAY ONE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION, THEN THIS GENIUS WAS WRITING FOR A PARTICULAR KIND OF THEATRICAL ENVIRONMENT, AND THE WAY WE DO THEATER TODAY IS JUST DIFFERENT, AND WE THOUGHT IF WE COULD RE-CREATE THE STAGING CONDITIONS THAT GENIUS BOY WROTE FOR, WE COULD RECOVER SOME OF THE JOY, SOME OF THE MAGIC THAT HE WROTE INTO THE PLACE THAT SOMETIMES GETS LOST AND YOU PLAY WITH ALL THE COOL TRICKS WE HAVE INVENTED OVER THE YEARS.>>I SAW THE FIRST PRODUCTION THIS COMPANY DID. I WAS NOT IN IT. I WENT AND SAW IT ON CAMPUS. IT WAS LIKE AN ON CAMPUS CONVENTION, SORT OF THE RENTAL. I REMEMBERED TALKING TO MY FRIEND WHO WAS IN IT AND THEY SAID THEY WOULD NOT BE PLAYING AND FOR PLAYING IN CHURCHES AND THESE RENTAL ROOMS. I REMEMBER THINKING IT SEEMS SO STRANGE TO DO PLAYS NOT IN THE THEATER WHEN YOU HAVE THE THEATER.>>IT WAS THAT PRODUCTION OF HENRY THE FIFTH WHERE WE LEFT THE LIGHTS ON AND AUDIENCE. WE TRIED TO DO THINGS AS MUCH AS WE POSSIBLY COULD. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN THAT I SAID WE SHOULD START A NEW COMPANY USING THESE IDEAS.>>WHEN A TEACHER HAS A STUDENT AND THAT STUDENT HAS GOTTEN EXCITED ABOUT SOMETHING AND THAT STUDENT SAYS TO YOU, LET’S DO THIS THING BECAUSE YOU SAY IT IS SO GREAT IT WILL WORK, YOU DO NOT SAY THAT IS A DUMB IDEA. SO I DID NOT SAY THAT WAS A DUMB IDEA AND LEAST GUARDED THE SHENANDOAH SHAKESPEARE EXPRESS, BASICALLY A TOURING GROUP THAT WOULD SET UP WHOEVER WOULD HIRE US. WE WOULD DO THE SHOW. WE WOULD NOT TAKE A LONG TIME TO DO THE SHOW AND WE STARTED DOING THAT IN 1988.>>THERE WAS A SENSE, AND THIS IS A VERY NICE SENSE TO HAVE, BUT THERE WAS A SENSE OF BEING ON THE ROAD IN THOSE DAYS. WE WERE DRIVING CARS, SHOWING UP IN SOME PLACE THAT HAD NEVER HAD A PLAY IN IT BEFORE. WE DID NOT HAVE VERY MUCH STUFF AND WE COULD PUT A PLAY ON FOR SOME PEOPLE AND PEOPLE WOULD SHOW UP OR NOT SHOW UP.>>THAT IS REALLY WHAT SETS US APART FROM EVERYBODY ELSE TRYING TO DO SHAKESPEARE IN 1980 EIGHT. AGAIN, IT WAS HOW MIGHT WE BE ABLE TO CAPTURE EITHER THE REAL THING OR THE SPIRIT OF SOMETHING SHAKESPEARE DID? THAT WAS THE WHOLE BASIS OF THE COMPANY, FIGURING HE WROTE STUFF FOR HIS ENVIRONMENT THAT CAN ONLY COME OUT WHEN YOU PLAY WITH THAT ENVIRONMENT IN MIND.>>I REMEMBER SPECIFICALLY BEING ON TO HER — TOUR YEARS AGO AND PULLING INTO A HIGH SCHOOL AT 8:30 IN THE MORNING TO THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. WE WERE DOING THE MERCHANT OF VENICE AND ANOTHER PLAY. WE WERE SETTING UP TO DO THE MERCHANT OF VENICE AND WE HEARD AN ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE PA THAT SAID ALL STUDENTS GOING TO SEE THE PRODUCTION OF MAC BETH IN THE CAFETERIA, PLEASE REPORT TO THE CAFETERIA NOW. WE’VE REALIZE WE HAVE SET UP FOR THE WRONG PLAY AND WERE ABLE TO COMPLETELY TURN IT AROUND IN FIVE MINUTES AND GET READY FOR THE OTHER PLAY. THIS IS SOMETHING REALLY GREAT AND GUERRILLA ABOUT THAT THAT WAS A LOT OF FUN.>>IN 1988 THE SNOW BALL STARTED ROLLING. AT THE END OF THE 90’S WE HAD BEEN TO 47 U.S. STATES, FIVE OTHER COUNTRIES, ONE U.S. TERRITORY AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, BECAUSE THIS IDEA WAS WORKING. WE WANTED TO BE A TOURING COMPANY BECAUSE WE KNEW SHAKESPEARE TO WORD — TOURED. WE KNEW THE HOUSE SHUT DOWN AND THEY WOULD GO OUT ON THE ROAD. WE CAN TURN ANY KIND OF PLACE THAT WILL HAVE US INTO FEELING LIKE IN THE LIVES OF THE US OR JACOBEAN THEATER. ALL WE NEED IS A PLAYING SPACE WITH AUDIENCE ON THREE SIDES OF IT, LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON THE AUDIENCE AND INTERACT WITH THAT AUDIENCE. AND WE WERE ABLE TO CREATE THIS INCREDIBLY ON THE ONE HAND INCREDIBLE ELIZABETHAN FEEL AND FELT MODERN AND ON VANGUARD AT THE SAME TIME.>>COME — WITH THE SUCCESS OF THE TOURING GROUP AND EXPANDED THEIR VISION FOR THE TOURING COMPANY.>>WE PLAYED ALL THESE BASIS AND EVENTUALLY PEOPLE STARTED COMING TO US AND ASKING US ABOUT BUILDING A THEATER. WE WERE NOT THAT INTERESTED BECAUSE BY THAT TIME THE BUDGET WAS ABOUT HALF A MILLION BY THAT TIME UNTIL RICHMOND CALLED US. AT FIVE FROM RICHMOND WAS THINKING ABOUT HOLDING A GLOBE AND INVITED US.>>IT IS AT THIS POINT WHERE THINGS START TO GET VERY INTERESTING FOR THE THEATER COMPANY. MAXWELL WE WERE THINKING ABOUT THAT PEOPLE FROM STANTON CAME TO US AND SAID WHAT ABOUT RELOCATING THE BASE TO STANTON AND WE WILL BUILD A THEATER IN STANTON? THAT WAS THE COMPLETE GAME CHANGER FOR EVERYTHING WE STARTED TO THINK ABOUT. WE WERE THINKING IF WE WERE GOING TO BUILD OUR OWN THEATER, IT SHOULD BE THE PHYSICAL RECREATION OF THE PHYSICAL THEATER THE WAY THAT WE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO RE-CREATE THE SPIRITS OF THOSE CONDITIONS ON THE ROAD. THE RICHMOND PROJECT FELL APART BUT THAT ARCHITECT CAME ON BOARD FOR THE BLACK FRIARS AND WAS THE ARCHITECT FOR THIS PLACE, AND WE KNEW AT THAT POINT WHEN THE RICHMOND PROJECT FOLDED, WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY. WE WILL GET TO BUILD THE BLACK FRIARS IN THE GLOW IN STANTON, VIRGINIA, IN TURN THIS PARTICULARLY WONDERFULLY, BEAUTIFUL IDEA LICK LOCATION INTO SHAKESPEARE MECCA. WE CHANGED OUR NAME TO THE AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE CENTER. NOT TESTABLE, NOT COMPANY BUT CENTER. BECAUSE WE WANTED TO BE THE PLACE IN AMERICA THAT YOU GO TO STUDY HOW SHAKESPEARE DID HIS PLACE. WITH FUNDING IN PLACE, WORK BEGINS ON THE BLACK FRIARS PLAYHOUSE, A RECREATION OF SHAKESPEARE’S INDOOR THEATER IN LONDON. SOMETHING HAPPENED IN THIS ONE LITTLE PLACE. LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE. SOME SORT OF LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE. IF YOU WANT TO STUDY THAT LIGHTNING, WHAT BETTER THING TO DO THEN BUILD THE BOTTLE. THAT IS WHAT WE DID. WE BUILT THE BOTTLE.>>AT THE — THE BLACK FRIARS PLAYHOUSE — PLAYHOUSE OPENED SEPTEMBER 2001.>>FROM THE FIRST OPENING BELL, OPENING DOORS OF THIS PLACE, WE WERE PERFORMING FOR PEOPLE IN SEPTEMBER 2000 ONE. STILL WARM ENOUGH PEOPLE WERE WEARING SHORTS. PEOPLE WERE WEARING THEIR FANCIEST SUITS. IT WAS ALL WHOLE MIX UP PEOPLE THAT I THINK IS EXACTLY WHAT SHAKESPEARE WROTE FOR. HE WROTE STUFF THAT COULD APPEAR TO EVERYBODY, NO MATTER THE BACKGROUND OR EDUCATION. WE STROVE TO DO BEFORE WE TO — TO OPEN THE PLACE AND SINCE WE OPEN IT, WE KEEP STRIVING. WE WANT EVERYONE TO BE ABLE TO SEE THEMSELVES IN SHAKESPEARE’S PLAYS. AT NIGHT, PERFORMING FOR THE FOLKS WHOSE SWEAT BUILT THE PLACE WAS ONE OF THE MOST MAGNIFICENT NIGHTS I HAVE EVER HAD. ♪ [INAUDIBLE] TRAVELING ALONG THIS COAST I HEAR AND COME BY CHANCE TO LAY MY ARMS AWAY OF THIS. [APPLAUSE]>>HELLO, MY NAME IS BENJAMIN KEARNS, AND I AM HERE WITH AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE CENTER OFF AND ON SINCE 2001. I STARTED HERE IN JULY 2001 AND I HAVE DONE A COUPLE OF NATIONAL TOURS AND THE ACTORS RENAISSANCE SEASON. I MOVED OUT HERE PERMANENTLY IN 2009 AND HAVE BEEN HERE EVER SINCE. I HAVE PROBABLY GOTTEN SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 50-70 PLAYS HERE. WHAT BROUGHT ME HEAR ALL THOSE YEARS AGO IS I WAS JUST A YOUNG ACTOR AND LOOKING FOR A JOB, ANY KIND OF JOB. I HAD DONE A COUPLE OF SHAKESPEARE WAYS AND I WAS DRAWN TO THE LANGUAGE AND THE STORIES THAT THE PLAYS REPRESENT. WHEN I SAW THE ORIGINAL AUDITION FOR THE NATIONAL TOUR, I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, HERE IS A WAY FOR ME TO SEE A LOT OF THE COUNTRY ON SOMEONE ELSE’S DIME, AND THEY WILL PAY ME $200 TO DO IT. TO ME, I COULD NOT BELIEVE SOMEONE WAS GOING TO GIVE ME MONEY AND SEND ME AROUND THE COUNTRY TO DO THE PLACE. I THINK OUR PRODUCTIONS ARE OWNED BY THE PLAYWRIGHT AND ACTOR, AND NOT BY DIRECTORS OR DESIGNERS. THE KIND OF STUFF WOULD PUT ON STAGE FOR AUDIENCES TO SEE IS WE TRY TO MAKE THE TEXT ENTIRELY CLEAR. WE WANT PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND HOW THEY ARE WRITTEN AND FOR WHAT THEY ARE. THESE ARE FOR YOU AND ABOUT YOU. THEY ARE NOT ABOUT SOMEBODY ALSO ARE FOR SOMEBODY ELSE. I THINK YOU CAN EXPECT TO SEE SOMETHING ZANY. I THINK YOU CAN ALSO EXPECT TO SEE SOMETHING THAT IS REALLY CLEAR. AND YOU WILL NOT BE BORED BY WATCHING THE SETS BEING CHANGED IN BETWEEN EACH SCENE OR CRAZY LIGHTING EFFECTS OR BRINGING HELICOPTERS DOWN FROM THE CEILING. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY A PLACE FOR THAT IN THE WORLD OF THEATER BUT NOT WHAT WE ARE ABOUT.>>AS A TEACHER, ONE OF THE MAIN THINGS I WANT TO DO IS TEACH SAKE — SHAKESPEARE AND GET PEOPLE TEACHING A BETTER. THE VERY FIRST GRANT WAS THE VIRGINIA FOUNDATION FOR HUMANITY’S. WE GOT THE GRANT TO TEACH TEACHERS TO TEACH SHAKESPEARE. OUR CONNECTION TO EDUCATION HAS BEEN INCREDIBLY PART OF WHAT WE ARE. BECAUSE WE STARTED A GRADUATE PROGRAM HERE AT MARY BALDWIN. SO ONE OF THE THINGS WE ARE IS WE ARE EMISSARIES FOR THE TEACHING OF SHAKESPEARE AND ALSO, FOR HOW YOU DO THAT.>>LEND ME YOUR EARS.>>EDUCATION HAS ALWAYS PLAYED A BIG ROLE, EVEN GOING BACK TO THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE FOUNDERS. JIM WAS RALPH’S STUDENT. JIM DECIDED THE WAY TO DO SHAKESPEARE WAS CLEAN AND CLEAR AND FAST BECAUSE OF SHOWS HE SAW WHEN HE WAS STUDYING IN ENGLAND IN THE PROGRAM THAT RALPH STARTED.>>ANTHONY REACTS TO JULIUS CAESAR’S MURDER.>>SELECTS WITH THE DOGS OF WAR. [APPLAUSE]>>SHE WAS MY MOTHER.>>ARCH MY CHILD.>>THANK YOU. THAT WAS GREAT.>>SOMETIME IN YOUR LIFE YOU HAVE THIS HORRIBLE, FATEFUL MOMENT WHEN YOU WERE DOING SHAKESPEARE AND A LITTLE LIGHT WENT ON. I WOULD KIND OF LIKE TO KNOW WHAT IT IS YOUR BRAIN SAID WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT ON IF IT SAID ANYTHING AT ALL. WAS IT THAT THIS IS NOT HARD? WAS IT THAT THIS IS ME? THIS IS STILL ABOUT US SOMEHOW?>>I CANNOT REMEMBER WHAT LINE IT WAS BUT YOU ALLOWED TO GO DEEPER IN YOUR REGISTER THEN YOU HAD BEEN. IN THIS CHARACTER, IT IS GOING TO BE JUST FINE.>>YOU BETTER BE STILL. FOR YOUR MANAGER IS IN LOVE. IN LOVE. ASSIST ME. [INAUDIBLE]>>CERTAINLY THE LIGHTS ON IS THE BASIC THING THAT SEPARATES US FROM ANY OTHER THEATER YOU ARE GOING TO GO SEE. THERE IS AN ELECTRICITY TO THE PERFORMANCE BECAUSE OF THAT. THE FACT THAT I CAN CHECK IN WITH AUDIENCE MEMBERS AND SEE HOW MY PERFORMANCE IS AFFECTING THEM AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT IS A RARE TREAT. YOU GET TO PLAY REALLY AMAZING PEOPLE IN REALLY AMAZING CIRCUMSTANCES. YOU GET TO PLAY QUEENS OR CONSCIOUSNESS OR PEOPLE WHO ARE STEPPING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX AS FAR AS WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE TO DO. THAT IS REALLY FREEING AND LOVELY TO STEP INTO THOSE PEOPLES WORLDS FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS. RENAISSANCE SEASON IS A VERY SPECIAL TIME OF THE AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE CENTER. JANUARY THROUGH APRIL AND WHERE THE ACTORS ARE IN CHARGE OF THEMSELVES. NO DIRECTORS AM IN NO COSTUME DESIGNERS. WE DIRECT OURSELVES, WE DO THE PLAYS ON OUR OWN. WE ARE DOING THAT BECAUSE WE BELIEVE THAT IS THE WAY SHAKESPEARE’S COMPANY WOULD HAVE WORKED. WE EXPERIMENT WITH THIS AND WE HAVE BEEN DOING IT SINCE 2005 WHERE WE HAVE THESE COUPLE OF MONTHS AND OVER THE COURSE OF 10 WEEKS WE HAVE FIVE PLAYS, AND WE DO IT ALL ON OUR OWN.>>MY NAME IS RENÉE THORTON JUNIOR AND A VIRTUALLY FROM NEW YORK CITY AND HAVE BEEN WORKING HERE SINCE 2004. IT IS A UNIQUE PLACE TO WORK IN THIS COUNTRY TO WORK SOMEPLACE THAT SAYS AND SPECIFICALLY HAVE CLEAR IDEAS HOW TO DO SHAKESPEARE PLAYS AND HAS BEEN GREAT OPPORTUNITIES AS AN AFTER GETTING TO EXPLORE THAT.>>MY LADY MET US IS DIFFERENT THAN SOMEONE WHO IS GOING TO PLAY AT NEXT YEAR WHO IS DIFFERENT THAN WHEN SOMEONE PLAYED IT AFGHAN SHAKESPEARE’S DAY, BUT THE VOICE IS STILL SOMETHING THAT WE WANT TO LOOK INTO. THAT IS EXCITING. THE FACT THAT THE STORIES OF PEOPLE AND THE NEEDS AND FEAR AND JEALOUSY AND LOSS AND FALLING IN LOVE ARE TIMELESS AND WHEN SOMEONE IS REALLY GOOD AT SOMETHING, REALLY GOOD AT WRITING, THE STUDY OF THEM IS ART, AND I WORK WITH SOME OF THE BEST PEOPLE AT THIS, AND IT IS INSPIRING AND A PRIVILEGE.>>HOW WELL THE SHIELD THAT RESCUES THE FROM SHAME. THAT NO WOMAN SHOP, WITHIN A MILE OF MY DOORSTEP. LIKE LET’S SEE THE PENALTY. ON PAIN ON LOSING HER TIME. WHO DIVIDES THIS PENALTY?>>JUST AS WITH THE BUILDING OF THE THEATER ITSELF, WE CONTINUE TO HAVE A AMAZING SUPPORT FROM THE COMMUNITY OF STATEN — STANTON. STANTON SUPPORTS A LOT OF PERFORMING ARTS AND VISUAL ARTS. A VERY AUTISTIC — ARTISTIC COMMUNITY. WE ARE BLESSED TO BE PART OF THE FABRIC OF A COMMUNITY THAT IS SO VIBRANT.>>WE HAVE SCOURED THE COUNTRY FOR A PLACE THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL AND HAD GREAT DEMOGRAPHICS, AT THE HUB OF TWO MAJOR INTERSTATES. WE COULD NOT HAVE FOUND A BETTER PLACE THAN STANTON, VIRGINIA.>>I REMEMBER SOME OF OUR FIRST EXPERIENCES OF JUST BEING IN THAT ENVIRONMENT WHERE THE ACTION IS RIGHT THERE AND YOU ARE A PART OF THE PLAY. I COULD HEAR WHAT WAS GOING ON. I COULD SEE THE FACIAL EXPRESSIONS AND THE PASSION WITH WHICH THE ACTORS, THEIR PASSION WAS CONTAGIOUS.>>WE GOT HOOKED. THE ENERGY, THE LANGUAGE. THE AMAZING LANGUAGE. I WOULD JUST FEEL LIKE I HAD BEEN NOURISHED. WHEN I CAME HOME, I FELT SOMEHOW LARGER BECAUSE I WAS EXPOSED TO THE LARGENESS IN THE LANGUAGE AND THE CHARACTERS.>>IT HAS BEEN SAID THEATER IS THE ART BY WHICH HUMAN BEINGS MAKE HUMAN ACTION WORTH WATCHING . ALL HAPPENING WITH A MEASURED TIME AND SPACE. TO THE AUDIENCE, THE STAGE IS A WINDOW TO A MYSTICAL WORLD OF DRAMA, ROMANCE, AND ADVENTURE. TO AN ACTOR, A STAGE IS AN EMPTY CANVAS WITH LIMITLESS COLORS AND POSSIBILITIES. HOWEVER, IT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE ACTORS AND THE AUDIENCE WHERE THE MAGIC OF STAGE TAKES FLIGHT. IN THAT CONNECTION, ART BECOMES REALITY. IT IS THAT CONNECTION ON WHICH THAT IN VIRGINIA’S AMERICA SHAKESPEARE CENTER PRIDES ITSELF WITH EVERY PERFORMANCE.>>MAKING AUDIENCES ARE PART OF WHAT THEY’RE DOING. I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS KIND OF ENVIRONMENT, NO MATTER HOW MODERN IT IS TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO MAKE PLACE. LET THE AUDIENCE BE A PART OF IT . THAT IS WHAT THIS PLACE IS ABOUT. GO.>>I THINK WHATEVER HAPPENS TO ME IN THE FUTURE, THIS WILL BE THE PLACE THAT MADE ME A PERFORMER. I WILL ALWAYS UNDERSTAND THEATER AND SHAKESPEARE AS IT RELATES TO A PLACE AND AN AUDIENCE. LETS YOU TAKE KIDS TO THIS PLACE WHERE YOU TAKE KIDS TO A PLACE WHERE THEY ARE IN THE ROOM WITH ACTORS, AND THEY KNOW EVERY MOMENT IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN LIKE THAT AGAIN, THEN THAT IS THEATER. THAT IS SOMETHING WE WILL NEVER STOP DOING.>>NIGHT AFTER NIGHT AFTER NIGHT PEOPLE COME HERE AND EXPERIENCE THIS KIND OF HUMANITY AS A COMMUNITY BECAUSE WE ARE ALL LINKED AND CAN SEE EACH OTHER, AND TAKING THESE RIDES TOGETHER. I THINK THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF MY JOB IS I THINK WE’RE MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE TO BE BY DOING THESE GREAT PLAYS THE WAY WE DO THEM.

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