Combating Shakespearean shrinkage – Shakespeare & Beyond

The worst reaction to Shakespeare’s complicated language, it seems to me, is thinking that it should be hard for an audience to understand. This will only cause Shakespeare shrinkage to expand, creating entire productions that are difficult to understand, not just occasional moments, and alienating audiences who have been disappointed too many times. Shakespeare should never be a chore: It’s some of the greatest music ever written serving some of the greatest characters ever created, and we should ensure that every syllable crackles with intensity and specificity. Otherwise, they’re just “words, words, words,” …with little meaning and few compelling reasons to watch. —CombatingAustin Tichenor

Shakespeare portrait said to be only one made in his lifetime on sale for £10m

A portrait said to be the only signed and dated image of William Shakespeare created during his lifetime has gone on sale for more than £10m and is being displayed in London. The owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, is offering the piece for sale by private treaty without an auction. It is the work of Robert Peake, court painter to King James I, and is signed and dated 1608. The artwork went on display on Wednesday at Grosvenor House hotel in west London. Prior to 1975, the picture hung in the library of a stately home in the north of England, once…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In June, 2002, I was blogging about… a female autistic scholars lament, Dr. Seuss, Orthodox Christianity and coding, Shakespeare, and weblogs after 9/11

In June, 2002, I was blogging about A female autistic scholar’s lament The origins of Horton Hears a Who A NatGeo article on the media-saturated life of Iowa college students The function of “er” in speech A Pravda article on parallels between Orthodox Christianity and computer programming Dr. Toast’s Amazing World of Toast (I really miss the Internet that contained such marvels.) The world has changed, but Shakespeare asked questions that are still worth asking.  How innocent we are were. In 2002 we were blogging about “A Writer’s Perspective on an Emerging Medium,” by which was meant electronic text. A…

The Miller of the Dee; by James Baldwin; read by Dennis Jerz

I showed up at the recording studio for about two hours over the summer; the creative team had three or four different scripts for me to record. We had a grand time knocking them out, one after the other. But this particular script included the stage direction “he sings.” There were lyrics, but no score. Not that seeing written notes would have helped me much… I’ve been fortunate to be coached by and work alongside many talented artists, in school, as a church cantor, and in local theater; and the only thing I can say I’ve really learned is how…

Bryan A. Louiselle, 1966-2022 (musician, composer, orchestrator, musical director)

I was Mayor Shinn to Bryan’s Harold Hill in the only high school musical we did together. Yes he was an incredible musician and performer, but I was not musical and could barely sing on key, so I really wasn’t equipped, at the time, to realize just how talented he was. Once during a snowstorm when I had nowhere to go between the end of school and call time, he took to me his house. Even though my house was way out of his way, he sometimes drove me home after rehearsals, saying that before he got his license, he…

Checking out of @frontporchtheatricals Grand Hotel. What an experience!

My brother had already planned to visit from Virginia to see Carolyn in the closing of Grand Hotel. We were already driving to the theater when we got word that Aunt Rona is visiting yet another cast member, and the final show is cancelled. So we stopped by Julie’s Bubble Tea and Smoothies for a consolation treat. I’m glad the producers put everyone’s health first. We hadn’t told my brother that Carolyn was scheduled to go on again as Flaemchen. (But his face when she showed him a photo of herself in costume was priceless.)

August Wilson House officially opens in Pittsburgh’s Hill District

The August Wilson House officially opened over the weekend in a tearful and emotional ceremony, bringing over 500 residents, celebrities, officials, and local Black leaders to Pittsburgh’s Hill District. The Bedford Avenue childhood home of Hill District native August Wilson, one of the greatest playwrights in history, was unveiled as a new community arts center, with a goal of connecting Black artists across the city. “I want to thank the community because he is yours and you are his,” said award-winning actor Denzel Washington, who returned to Pittsburgh for the event after taking part in a community ground blessing of…

Shutting the Door on the Hard-Knock Life

In sync with the resurgence of labor activism nationwide, actors, dancers, stage managers, technicians and others have been questioning the nuts and bolts of their contracts — both the documents that detail their jobs and the wider assumptions about what they owe an audience. Can the theater, they ask, find a way to uphold them more holistically as humans, even as they continue to gut themselves every night? Some people will not even agree that it should. The idea that theater is a calling, not a job, and that the two categories are mutually exclusive, is so ingrained in the…